ACM Announces Winners of 2011 Innovation and Service Awards

Added by on August 21, 2011

The Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD) announced in the opening ceremony of the premier international conference on knowledge discovery and data mining, KDD 2011, that Dr. Ross Quinlan is the recipient of the organization’s 2011 Innovation Award and Dr. Bharat Rao is the winner of its 2011 Service Award. Awarded for seminal research and service to the community, the awards represent the highest peer recognition in the knowledge discovery and data mining community. In addition, SIGKDD unveiled the winners of the annual KDD Cup competition, as well as the recipients of best paper and student travel awards, recognizing excellence in data and predictive analytics research and scholarship.

ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award

The ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award is the highest award for technical excellence in the field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD) and is conferred on an individual or a group of collaborators, whose outstanding innovations have had a lasting impact in advancing the theory and practice of the field. Dr. Ross Quinlan is recognized for his seminal contributions to rule induction and decision tree algorithms that are at the core of data mining, particularly for the invention of ID3 and C4.5 algorithms. C4.5 is one of the top 10 data mining algorithms, used widely in industrial practices and as a benchmark algorithm in machine learning and data mining research. Dr. Quinlan has held appointments at prominent universities worldwide, including University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, Carnegie-Mellon University, MIT, and Stanford University. He is the founder of Rulequest Research, a company that builds data mining tools that are used in over 50 countries. Recent SIGKDD Innovation Award recipients include leading data scientists Christos Faloutsos, Padhraic Smyth, Usama M. Fayyad, Raghu Ramakrishnan. A full list of recipients and citations is available at

ACM SIGKDD Service Award

The ACM SIGKDD Service Award recognizes an individual or group for their outstanding professional services and contributions to the knowledge discovery and data mining community. This year’s winner is Dr. Bharat Rao, who is being recognized for his service to SIGKDD, as well as his pioneering data mining applications for developing healthcare products that can reduce costs and improve the quality of patient care. Dr. Rao and his group have developed and deployed data mining products that analyze millions of patient records, impacting major areas in healthcare. A leading researcher in health analytics, data mining, and machine learning, with over 100 research and technical publications, he holds 40 granted patents and is currently Senior Director and Head of the Knowledge Solutions group for the Health Services business unit in Siemens Healthcare, which is a sector of Siemens AG. He has received the Siemens Inventor of the Year award for his data mining platform for healthcare analytics. Recent SIGKDD Service Award recipients include leading KDD figures Osmar Zaiane, Sunita Sarawagi, Robert Grossman, Won Kim and the Weka Team. A full list of recipients and citations is available at

“Dr. Quinlan and Dr. Rao embody the passion and commitment of true data scientists,” said Usama Fayyad, Chairman of the SIGKDD Executive Committee, and Chairman and CTO of ChoozOn Corporation. “With their research and service to the SIGKDD community, they are setting a great example for data explorers across the globe, as the world embraces the importance of Big Data and technology and science reveal its full potential. The early work of Ross Quinlan on ID3 and C4.5 has influenced a huge body of research and the early works in data mining, including my own research on decision trees and large data sets.”


Sponsored by Yahoo! Labs, this year’s KDD Cup competition challenged the data scientist community with sifting through over 300 million Yahoo! Music ratings and predict user ratings of songs. Divided in two tracks focusing on scalability and precision, more than 2,100 participants developed algorithms to predict individual song ratings and separate loved songs from others. First place winner in both tracks was the team from National Taiwan University. Second and third place were awarded to teams Commendo (2nd place, Track 1, 3rd place Track 2, data scientists from Australia), The Art of Lemon (2nd place, Track 3, China Academy of Science, Hulu Labs, Beijing) and InnerPeace (3rd place, Track 1, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology). The winning solutions will be presented at a dedicated workshop and poster sessions during KDD 2011 and will be included in the published proceedings of the conference.
“KDD Cup offers the data scientist community an unprecedented opportunity to boost scientific efforts in a certain area of research and vertical application,” said Yehuda Koren, Senior Research Scientist at Yahoo! and KDD Cup 2011 Co-Chair. “Yahoo! was proud to empower some of the brightest scientists across the globe with complex raw data, allowing them to make years of progress in the area of content recommendation in a matter of a few months.”

Best Paper and Distinguished Dissertation Award Recipients

The SIGKDD community also recognized the best research and industry/government papers and best doctoral dissertation, as well as student authors of KDD 2011 papers. A full list of award recipients will be available at
The awards were presented at the opening ceremony of the industry’s premier international conference, KDD 2011, in San Diego, Calif., August 21-24. Previous SIGKDD Innovation and Service award-recipients include leading KDD scientists Rakesh Agrawal, Usama M. Fayyad, Christos Faloutsos, Jerome Friedman, Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, Raghu Ramakrishnan, Padhraic Smyth, Ramasamy Uthurusamy, and Osmar Zaiane.


With hundreds of members from leading research institutions, universities and business organizations in more than 80 countries, the ACM Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (SIGKDD) is the premier forum for advancement and adoption of the science of knowledge discovery and data mining. SIGKDD’s mission is to provide the growing community of big data and analytics experts with tools and resources to promote the value of knowledge discovery and data mining in today’s data-centric economy. The current SIGKDD Executive Council Chairman is leading data mining expert Dr. Usama Fayyad. For additional information, please visit or follow us on Twitter via @kdd_news.

About ACM

ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) , is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. ACM strengthens the computing profession’s collective voice through strong leadership, promotion of the highest standards, and recognition of technical excellence. ACM supports the professional growth of its members by providing opportunities for life-long learning, career development, and professional networking