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Cyprus

Queen awards CBE to Cypriot AI expert

Demis Hassabis (left): 'very proud' of his team at DeepMind.

British artificial intelligence (AI) researcher of Cypriot descent Demis Hassabis has been included in the 2018 New Year Honours’ list.

The 41-year-old researcher, who was born in London to a father from Famagusta and a mother from Singapore, has been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for “services to science and technology”.

Hassabis is chief executive of DeepMind, an AI research firm which has developed software that has beaten a human professional player at ‘Go’, the complex Chinese strategy board game. DeepMind was acquired by Google in 2014 for a reported £400 million.

He was a child prodigy in chess and captained many England junior chess teams.

After he graduated in 1997 with a Double First in Computer Science from Cambridge University the researcher obtained a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from University College London before cofounding DeepMind in 2010.

Commenting on his award, Demis Hassabis said that he was “very proud” of his team at DeepMind. “This is recognition of the immense contribution they have already made to the world of science and technology, and I`m excited about the potential for many more breakthroughs and societal benefit in the years ahead,” he added.

The honours are awarded by Queen Elizabeth to people with an important contribution to UK society.

In total, 1,123 names appear in the New Year Honours’ list. Among them are former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and the Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb.

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