SFI External Professor Tina Eliassi-Rad, winner of the Lagrange Prize 2023. (image: Josephine Pettigrew, Khoury College of Computer Sciences, Northeastern University)

SFI External Professor Tina Eliassi-Rad (Northeastern University) was announced as the winner of the Lagrange Prize this year. A prestigious international award for research on complex systems and data science, the Lagrange Prize was established by the Foundazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino (CRT Foundation) in 2008 and is coordinated by the Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) Foundation in Turin, Italy. The award ceremony was held in Turin, Italy on Monday, July 10, at the Officine Grandi Riparazioni Torino (OGR Torino) (Corso Castelfidardo 22). The ceremony took place in two parts: a morning press conference with Eliassi-Rad and an evening award ceremony open to the public followed by a reflection on the year’s theme “Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and Privacy: Towards a Responsible Data Society.”

Eliassi-Rad was awarded the Lagrange Prize for her boundary-pushing research in understanding data, and her multidisciplinary approach to AI regarding the ethics of the algorithms being created today. ISI Foundation President Allesandro Vespignani said that Eliassi-Rad’s work “pushes us to cross new frontiers in understanding data and to reflect more deeply on the ethics of algorithms we are creating. Her contribution is not just about technological evolution, but raises fundamental questions about their impact and the resulting responsibility in our daily lives.” 

“I am honored and humbled to receive the 2023 Lagrange Prize from the CRT Foundation. Our AI technologies are embedded in broader complex systems. To truly understand and mitigate the harms and risks associated with AI, we need to study the broader complex systems (such as social, economic, and political systems) in which AI technologies operate. This type of research requires interdisciplinary teams like those at the ISI Foundation (which coordinates the Lagrange Prize) and the Santa Fe Institute,” said Eliassi-Rad. 

Eliassi-Rad’s research analyzes the evolutionary scenarios of artificial intelligence and the impacts of science and technology on society. Much of her research is at the intersection of data mining, machine learning, and network science. Her studies focus on personalized searches on the net, the ethics of algorithms, and Network Science and Machine Learning. Through her research she has fostered the development of multiple practical applications in private and public sectors active against fraud, cybercrime, the search for new therapeutic treatments, and data mining. 

Scientists and researchers presented with the Lagrange Prize stand out for their excellence in the study of complexity. Among the previous prize winners is Giorgio Parisi, who won the Lagrange in 2009 and went on to win the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics. Previous SFI winners of this award include External Professors W. Brian Arthur, Dani Bassett (University of Pennsylvania), and Mark Newman (University of Michigan) as well as former SFI External Professor Duncan Watts (University of Pennsylvania).