The annual AAAI/EAAI Outstanding Educator award was created in 2016 to honor a person (or group of people) who has made major contributions to AI education that provides long-lasting benefits to the AI community and society as a whole. Examples include innovating teaching methods, providing service to the AI education community, generating pedagogical resources, designing curricula, and educating students outside of higher education venues (or the general public) about AI. The award consists of a certificate, a $1,000 honorarium, complimentary one-year AAAI membership (new or renewal), and complimentary conference registration to the upcoming EAAI/AAAI conferences, where the award will be conferred.
The award was named in 2023 in honor of Patrick Henry Winston. Professor Winston was a pioneering and beloved AI educator. In his 50 years of teaching at MIT, perhaps 10,000 students took his Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course. He introduced many more to AI through one of the first and most influential early AI textbooks. His “Introduction to AI” lectures live on in MIT OpenCourseWare, where they are routinely viewed from around the world. He also taught a course entitled the Human Intelligence Enterprise, where the focus was on developing both an analytical mind and the ability to communicate clearly. He was a brilliant communicator who shared his wisdom in this regard through an annual lecture on “How to Speak,” an online version of which has attracted over 13M views, and through his last book: Make It Clear: Speak and Write to Persuade and Inform.
He was well-known for his informative and accessible lectures, during which he could move quickly from the details of an algorithm to the larger issues that it illustrated, then onto even bigger lessons about being a scientist – and a human being. He earned many honors for his teaching. He also earned many personal tributes as an accessible and inspiring, wise, and kind teacher and mentor. He earned many formal honors for his teaching but was particularly known for — and took great pride in — being a teacher and mentor who was accessible, inspiring, wise, and kind.
2023: Ayanna Howard (The Ohio State University)
For increasing accessibility to computing resources for children with special needs, promoting the use of social robots to engage children in education, and working with students at all levels to increase diversity and access in computing, engineering, and AI.
2022: David Touretzky (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), Christina Gardner-McCune (University of Florida, USA), Fred Martin (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA), and Debora Seehorn
For the creation, curation, and dissemination of guidelines and resources for teaching Artificial Intelligence to K-12 students.
2021: Michael Wooldridge (University of Oxford and Alan Turing Institute, London)
For outstanding global leadership in AI education and public awareness, including publishing broadly adopted books and textbooks, establishing the European Agent Systems Summer School, and inspiring public dialogue on AI and multi-agent systems.
2020: Marie desJardins (Simmons University, USA)
For leading the AI community in cultivating and recognizing advances in AI education, sharing pedagogical advances, increasing diversity, and improving K-12 CS teacher preparation.
2019: Ashok Goel (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
For sustained excellence in teaching, innovation in using AI to teach AI, scientific experimentation and scholarship to assess and improve AI pedagogy, and the many resources he has shared with the community at large.
2018: Todd W. Neller (Gettysburg College, USA)
For his longstanding dedication and service to the AI education community at large, for curating shared resources, and for advancing and energizing the field of AI education.
2017: Sebastian Thrun (Udacity, KittyHawk, Stanford University, Georgia Tech)
For his pioneering efforts on the creation of high-quality, widely available, and affordable online courses, including seminal artificial intelligence courses, and for demonstrating the excitement of AI research in self-driving cars and navigation.
2016: Peter Norvig (Google, Inc.) and Stuart Russell (University of California, Berkeley)
Honored specifically for their definitive textbook, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, that systematized the field of artificial intelligence and inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers throughout the world, as well as for their individual contributions to education in artificial intelligence.