The David E. Rumelhart Prize is awarded annually to an individual or collaborative team making a significant contemporary contribution to the theoretical foundations of human cognition. Contributions may be formal in nature: mathematical modeling of human cognitive processes, formal analysis of language and other products of human cognitive activity, and computational analyses of human cognition using symbolic or non-symbolic frameworks all fall within the scope of the award.

The David E. Rumelhart Prize is funded by the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation. Robert J. Glushko received a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 1979 under Rumelhart’s supervision. He is an Adjunct Full Professor at the School of Information (I-School) at the University of California, Berkeley.

The prize consists of a hand-crafted, custom bronze medal, a certificate, a citation of the awardee’s contribution, and a monetary award of $100,000.

The 2016 David E. Rumelhart Prize Recipient

Dedre GentnerThe recipient of the sixteenth David E. Rumelhart Prize is Dedre Gentner, who personifies the success of Cognitive Science as an interdisciplinary enterprise, tackling foundational questions about the mind through the seamless integration of psychological theory, empirical methodology, and computational insight. Gentner is the Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor of Psychology and the director of the Cognitive Science Program at Northwestern University. She received a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC Berkeley, and a PhD in psychology from UCSD.

As part of her graduate work at UCSD, Gentner worked with David Rumelhart, notably on topics related to verb meaning and representation. These interactions contributed not only to Dedre’s dissertation on possession verbs, but also to subsequent work on metaphor and analogy. Before joining the faculty at Northwestern, Gentner held positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc, and the University of Washington.

Gentner has been an active member of the Cognitive Science Society its beginning. She was president of the society from 1993-1994, became a society fellow in 2003, and has served on the governing board for several periods. Dedre Gentner was also associate editor of the society’s flagship journal, Cognitive Science, from 2001-2006.