June 23, 2015

Judea Pearl
Computer Science Department
University of California, Los Angeles
4532 Boelter Hall
Los Angeles, California 90024-1301

Dear Judea:

You may know that the Artificial Intelligence Journal has recently instituted a Classic Paper award (see www.aij.ijcai.org) which in this inaugural year of the award will be given to papers published in AIJ between 1980-1989.

We are pleased to announce that your paper, below, was selected for this award.

Many congratulations! Your paper and the citation for your award is:

Fusion, Propagation, and Structuring in Belief Networks
Judear Pearl
Artificial Intelligence 26 (1986) 241-288

This is the seminal journal paper that introduced Bayesian networks and the distributed, linear-time, message-passing algorithm for belief propagation in singly-connected networks (including trees). This work along with Pearl's 1988 book, Probabilistic Reasoning in Intelligent Systems, sparked what some call the "probabilistic revolution" in AI. The impact of Bayesian networks and Bayesian networks algorithms on AI, Machine Learning, Information Theory, and Cognitive Science has been huge indeed, providing a representational and computational framework that relates probabilistic reasoning with graphs, graph topology with complexity bounds, and causal and evidential inference with directional information flow. By showing "how to do with probabilities what people say that you can't", the paper introduced key conceptual notions like the use of graphs for representing independence relations, and the use of independence relations for making exact probabilistic inference tractable on tree and tree-like graphs.

Congratulations again!

Patrick Doherty and Rina Dechter
AIJ E-in-Cs