Kanade Receives BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Computer Vision Legacy

Aaron AupperleeThursday, February 8, 2024

Takeo Kanade received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for decades of pioneering scientific achievements in computer vision and robotic perception.

Carnegie Mellon University's Takeo Kanade received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for his decades of pioneering scientific achievements in computer vision and robotic perception.

Kanade, a Founders University Professor in the School of Computer Science's Robotics Institute, devised the foundational algorithms that underlie computer vision. His work created solutions to many practical problems, not only shaping artificial intelligence and robotics but also transforming the technological world, according to the award committee. Kanade earned the award in the Information and Communications Technologies category and received 400,000 euros to recognize his contributions.

"I feel deeply humbled at being selected for the prestigious Frontiers of Knowledge Award and to have my name added to the illustrious roll of past recipients," Kanade said. "As is evidenced by the fact that the visual cortex occupies the dominant portion of the human brain, vision or visual information processing provides humans with our richest and the most important information channel for understanding and communication. AI and robots with similar or even better computer vision capabilities contribute to the betterment of our lives. I see a lot of opportunities."

Technologies such as the emergence of self-driving vehicles, robots that assist surgeons, facial recognition systems for accessing cell phones and sports broadcasts offering panoramic replays from multiple angles owe a large debt to Kanade. His work has revolutionized 3D computer vision, enhanced autonomous vehicles, advanced medical scanners and robotic surgery, and aims to enhance people's quality of life. Technology he developed has already improved how millions of people watch sports. During the 2001 Super Bowl, Kanade's EyeVision allowed replays of the game's highlights in 360-degree, panoramic mode.

"Robotics relies on computer vision for perception. We can, in fact, define robotics as the intelligent connection between perception and action. Without perception, a robot cannot operate in an unpredicted, unstructured environment. For example, we couldn't build any autonomous vehicle without the vision that enables it to avoid collisions," said Oussama Khatib, a professor of computer science and the director of the Robotics Laboratory at Stanford University and a selection committee member. "Professor Kanade has pushed the frontiers of work in this field in unprecedented ways, and his school of thought has been vitally important for machine vision and its applications in robot perception."

Kanade joined CMU in 1980, where he has served as director of the Robotics Institute and founded and led the university's Quality of Life Technology Center. He also founded and led the Digital Human Research Center in Tokyo, an initiative of Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Kanade has received many awards and top honors in his field, including the Benjamin Franklin Institute Medal and Bower Award, the Kyoto Prize, the IEEE Founders Medal and the Allen Newell Award from the ACM and AAAI. Kanade holds more than 20 patents and has served on advisory boards for NASA, the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research and other prestigious institutions.

The BBVA Foundation promotes world-class scientific research, cultural creation and the recognition of talent. Its Frontiers of Knowledge Awards honor achievements in eight categories, recognizing and rewarding contributions of singular impact in physics and chemistry, mathematics, biology and biomedicine, technology, environmental sciences, economics, social sciences, and the humanities and music. The awards recognize people who significantly add to the knowledge in a discipline, open up new fields or build bridges between disciplinary areas. Established in 2008, the awards aim to celebrate and promote the value of knowledge as a public good without frontiers.

More information about the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards is available on the BBVA Foundation's website. The site features a profile of Kanade and interview.

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Aaron Aupperlee | 412-268-9068 | aaupperlee@cmu.edu