2020 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science

Fri, May 31, 2019 (All day)
Natural Sciences


The Franklin Institute is seeking nominations for the 2020 Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science.

The prize recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the development of neural networks for machine learning—hardware or software systems designed as networks of artificial neurons that can be given raw data and trained to automatically discover abstract features that are relevant to detection, classification, or translation, resulting in desired outputs. Inputs could include text (machine translation), audio (speech recognition), or imagery (face recognition, scene understanding, photo sorting, image synthesis). Outputs could include categorical labels, structured outputs, or actuator commands. Such artificial neural networks have yielded effective approaches to solving a wide spectrum of challenging practical problems resistant to solution using earlier algorithmic machine learning techniques.

Fields of Research:

Theme: Neural Networks for Machine Learning.

Nominations are encouraged in, but not limited to, the following subtopics:

  • Network architectures: layered, recurrent, self-organizing, convolutional, long short-term memory, auto encoders, deep networks.
  • Training or learning methods: cooperative, competitive, back propagation of errors, supervised, unsupervised, reinforcement, adaptive resonance, generative adversarial.
  • Network implementation: analog, digital, stochastic, energy-efficient, hardware-accelerated.

Broad applications: speech recognition, language translation, face recognition, scene understanding, photo sorting, reading print or handwriting, medical image diagnosis, autonomous vehicles, drug delivery design, question answering, web searches, game playing.


  • This is an international competition for individuals who have made significant contributions to neural networks for machine learning.
  • This award and prize must be presented to an individual, as specified by the will of Henry Bower.
  • Candidates must be living, and the winner must participate in The Franklin Institute Awards Week programs, to be held in April 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
  • Nominations from any individual or organization will be accepted, including self-nominations.


Award, gold medal, and cash prize of $250,000 are presented annually to a distinguished member of the international scientific community for work in a prescribed discipline that changes each year.


Nominations should clearly indicate the scientific impact—innovative, technical, and/or conceptual—and, when applicable, the societal impact of the nominee’s work. Nominations must be submitted in English and must include:

  • Name and contact information of nominee
  • Name and contact information of nominator
  • Nominee’s curriculum vitae and bibliography of significant and relevant publications
  • Proposed citation of 50 words or fewer, highlighting the achievement(s) for which the candidate is nominated
  • Narrative statement describing the nominee’s qualifications for the award
  • Four confidential letters of support requested by the nominator, sent directly to The Franklin Institute Awards Office

All nominations and supporting letters should be mailed or emailed to:

Beth Scheraga

Director, The Franklin Institute Awards

The Franklin Institute

222 North 20th Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103-1194


Email: bscheraga@fi.edu

Due Dates:

  • An email of intent to nominate received by April 30, 2019 would be appreciated.
  • Deadline for completed nominations is May 31, 2019.
Categories: Open Call RFPs