Acclaimed Neuroscientist and Google DeepMind founder wins Royal Society Mullard Award

21 November 2014

Dr Demis Hassabis, one of the founders of Google DeepMind, has won 2014’s Royal Society Mullard Award.  An acclaimed neuroscientist, Dr Hassabis has harnessed his insights into the human mind to design novel algorithms that could propel new generations of artificially intelligent machines.

Dr Hassabis's scientific work has untangled unrealised links between memory and imagination and in 2007 his theory on episodic memory was named by Science magazine as one of the 10 breakthroughs of the year.

Using his distinctive insight into the complexity of human memory and impressive computational expertise, Dr Hassabis founded DeepMind Technologies in 2011 with partners Dr Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman. DeepMind Technologies, acquired by Google earlier this year, combines the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build powerful general-purpose learning algorithms and in doing so, novel forms of artificial intelligence.

DeepMind Technologies, and Dr Hassabis’s team, were bought by Google for approximately £400 million - Google’s largest ever acquisition outside of the United States. Dr Hassabis has publicly stated that he intends to remain based in London where his work, now leading Google’s global general artificial intelligence efforts, will provide a valuable and lasting contribution to UK prosperity.

“I started DeepMind in London with the belief that in the UK we have the required skills, talent and vision to be at the forefront of important technological research areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), which has the potential to have a huge impact on many fields,” says Dr Hassabis.  “The plan now as part of Google is to further accelerate the research mission and continue to expand the world-class research team we have assembled, thus helping to make London a world-leading hub for AI research.”

Combining an outstanding academic background with an impressive entrepreneurial track record, Dr Hassabis is acknowledged by the Mullard Award for the substantial potential his work has in fuelling prosperity in the UK.

Dr Hassabis began his career in computer games development after graduating with a double First in Computer Science from Cambridge University. In 1998 he founded London-based Elixir Studios, an award winning games company, before his increasing passion for neuroscience and the human mind led him to revisit academia, doing a PhD at UCL, where he excelled before returning to entrepreneurship.