The online interactive magazine of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence

Dear AAAI Members and Affiliates,

As you know, we recently announced the new $1M AAAI Squirrel AI Award for AI for the Benefit of Humanity. The award recognizes positive impacts of AI to protect, enhance, and improve human life in meaningful ways with long-lived effects.

I am thrilled to share the news that Regina Barzilay of MIT is the inaugural recipient of the award. Regina is recognized for fundamental advances in AI for healthcare, being a proactive community builder and role model, and demonstrating significant impact in people’s lives through cancer diagnosis, drug-resistant microbe antibiotics, and drug discovery.

The award will be given at the AAAI conference in February, and the associated prize of $1 million will be provided by the online education company Squirrel AI.

I would like to thank the broader AI community for submitting very strong nominations that exemplify the positive impact of AI on humanity. My thanks also to the AAAI Squirrel AI Award Committee for their important service: Yoshua Bengio, Tara Chklovski, Ed Feigenbaum, Xue Lan, Robin Murphy, and Barry O’Sullivan.

For more information about the award, please see A full press release about the 2021 award will be available on September 23 at

Best regards,

Yolanda Gil
AAAI Past President and Awards Committee Chair