Geoffrey Hinton

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Geoff Hinton
Geoffrey Hinton at UBC.jpg
Born Geoffrey Everest Hinton
(1947-12-06) 6 December 1947 (age 67)[1]
Wimbledon, London
Residence Canada
Alma mater
Thesis Relaxation and its role in vision (1977)
Doctoral advisor H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins[3][4][5]
Doctoral students
  • David Ackley
  • Peter Brown
  • Richard Szeliski
  • Mark Derthick
  • Kevin Lang
  • Steven Nowlan
  • David Plaut
  • Sidney Fels
  • Sue Becker
  • Rich Zemel
  • Carl Edward Rasmussen
  • Chris Williams
  • Brendan Frey
  • Radek Grzeszczuk
  • Brian Sallans
  • Sageev Oore
  • Alberto Paccanaro
  • Yee Whye Teh[3]
  • Ruslan Salakhutdinov
  • Ilya Sutskever
Other notable students
Known for
Notable awards

Geoffrey Everest Hinton FRS[6] (born 6 December 1947) is a British-born cognitive psychologist and computer scientist, most noted for his work on artificial neural networks. As of 2015 he divides his time working for Google and University of Toronto.[7] He was one of the first researchers who demonstrated the use of generalized backpropagation algorithm for training multi-layer neural nets and is an important figure in the deep learning movement.[8][9][10]


Hinton was educated at King's College, Cambridge graduating in 1970, with a Bachelor of Arts in experimental psychology.[1] He continued his study at the University of Edinburgh where he was awarded a PhD in artificial intelligence in 1977 for research supervised by H. Christopher Longuet-Higgins.[3][11]


He has worked at Sussex, University of California San Diego, Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon University and University College London. He was the founding director of the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at University College London, and is currently a professor in the computer science department at the University of Toronto. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning. He is the director of the program on "Neural Computation and Adaptive Perception" which is funded by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Hinton taught a free online course on Neural Networks on the education platform Coursera in 2012.[12] Hinton joined Google in March 2013 when his company, DNNresearch Inc, was acquired. He is planning to "divide his time between his university research and his work at Google".[13]


An accessible introduction to Geoffrey Hinton's research can be found in his articles in Scientific American in September 1992 and October 1993. He investigates ways of using neural networks for learning, memory, perception and symbol processing and has authored over 200 publications[14][2] in these areas. He was one of the first researchers who demonstrated the use of generalized back-propagation algorithm for training multi-layer neural networks that has been widely used for practical applications. He co-invented Boltzmann machines with Terry Sejnowski. His other contributions to neural network research include distributed representations, time delay neural network, mixtures of experts, Helmholtz machines and Product of Experts. His current[when?] main interest is in unsupervised learning procedures for neural networks with rich sensory input.[citation needed]

Honours and awards[edit]

Hinton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1998.[6][15] Hinton was the first winner of the David E. Rumelhart Prize.[when?] His certificate of election for the Royal Society reads:

In 2001, Hinton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Edinburgh.

Hinton was the 2005 recipient of the IJCAI Award for Research Excellence lifetime-achievement award.

He has also been awarded the 2011 Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering.[17]

In 2013, Hinton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Université de Sherbrooke.

Personal life[edit]

Hinton is the great-great-grandson both of logician George Boole whose work eventually became one of the foundations of modern computer science, and of surgeon and author James Hinton.[18] His father is Howard Hinton.[19]


  1. ^ a b HINTON, Prof. Geoffrey Everest. Who's Who 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Geoffrey Hinton's publications indexed by Google Scholar, a service provided by Google
  3. ^ a b c Geoffrey Hinton at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ Geoffrey E. Hinton's Academic Genealogy
  5. ^ Gregory, R. L.; Murrell, J. N. (2006). "Hugh Christopher Longuet-Higgins. 11 April 1923 -- 27 March 2004: Elected FRS 1958". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 52: 149. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2006.0012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Professor Geoffrey Hinton FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-03. 
  7. ^ Daniela Hernandez (7 May 2013). "The Man Behind the Google Brain: Andrew Ng and the Quest for the New AI". Wired. Retrieved 10 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "How a Toronto professor’s research revolutionized artificial intelligence". Toronto Star, Kate Allen, Apr 17 2015
  9. ^ "The Next Generation of Neural Networks" on YouTube
  10. ^ AMA Geoffrey Hinton (self.MachineLearning) Ask Me Anything : Geoffrey Hinton
  11. ^ Hinton, Geoffrey E. (1977). Relaxation and its role in vision (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. OCLC 18656113. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "U of T neural networks start-up acquired by Google" (Press release). Toronto, ON. 12 March 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  14. ^ Geoffrey Hinton's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
  15. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society". The Royal Society. Retrieved 14 March 2013. 
  16. ^ "Certificate of election EC/1998/21: Geoffrey Everest Hinton". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-05. 
  17. ^ "Artificial intelligence scientist gets M prize". CBC News. 14 February 2011. 
  18. ^ The Isaac Newton of logic
  19. ^ Salt, George (1978). "Howard Everest Hinton. 24 August 1912-2 August 1977". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 24 (0): 150–182. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1978.0006. ISSN 0080-4606.