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2016 Distinguished Academic Achievement Alumni Award

Thomas Dietterich
Thomas Dietterich

An Oregon State University faculty member since 1985, Thomas Dietterich is one of the founders of the field of machine learning. He is best known for his work on ensemble methods in machine learning, including the development of error-correcting output coding. Dietterich also invented important reinforcement learning algorithms, including the MAXQ method for hierarchical reinforcement learning.

During his faculty career, Dietterich published more than 130 journal articles, written two books, supervised the research of 47 graduate students, and obtained more than $30 million in research grants. His research results have been applied to a range of real-world problems, including drug design, electronics manufacturing, ecological modeling, and natural resource management.

Dietterich co-founded and served as chief scientist for three companies—Strands, Smart Desktop, and BigML. He’s also devoted many years of service to the research community as president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and founding president of the International Machine Learning Society.

He is a fellow of ACM, AAAI, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He earned his doctorate from Stanford University in 1984.