Dr. Elman left a legacy from his pioneering work in artificial neural networks, and as an internationally recognized scholar in the field of language processing and learning. His early TRACE model of speech perception, with Jay McClelland, remains one of the major theories in the field. In 1990, he developed the Simple Recurrent Network architecture (the so-called “Elman net”) that is today widely used in many fields to model behaviors that unfold over time. In his last research, he used a wide range of scientific methods, including computational simulations, neuroimaging, and behavioral measures. Elman earned his bachelor’s degree in social relations from Harvard and his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. A member of the UC San Diego faculty since 1977, Elman was a founding member of the Department of Cognitive Science, the first of its kind in the world, as well as founding director of the Center for Research in Language. He was founding co-director of the university’s Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind. He served as dean of the Division of Social Sciences from 2006 – 2014. Among his honors is the prestigious David E. Rumelhart Prize, which he received in 2007 in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions to the theoretical foundations of cognitive science. Elman was elected a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016.
The Cognitive Society established Jeffrey L. Elman Prize in his honor in 2020.
Henry D. I. Abarbanel received his B.S. in physics from Caltech and his Ph.D. in physics from Princeton University. He has served on the faculties at Princeton, Stanford, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and, since 1982, at UC San Diego. He presently has appointments as professor of physics at UC San Diego and research physicist at the Marine Physical Laboratory, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His research interests have ranged from elementary particle physics to the nonlinear dynamics of biological and physical systems. In that regard he was the founding director of UC San Diego’s Institute for Nonlinear Science and served from 1986 through 2007. In 2000–01 he served as a member of the University of California’s Academic Council, the governing body of UC’s faculty senate. Since 1974, Abarbanel has been a member of JASON, a consulting group to the U.S. Government on technical matters. In 1992 he became a member of the City Council of Del Mar, California, serving as mayor in 1995–96. In that role he has served on numerous regional bodies concerned with energy, wastewater, infrastructure, and quality of life in the San Diego region.
In 2017, Professor Abarbanel joined HDSI as a Founding Faculty member. At HDSI he had assembled a group of faculty with the goal of making data science useful and accessible to a broad community of scientific researchers at UC San Diego. He created and offered the very first graduate course sponsored by HDSI in Physics and organized three of its research clusters: Analysis of Time Series and Dependent Data, Computational Neurosciences, Geosciences and Climate Weather Predictions. Dr. Abarbanel was dedicated to making the world a better place through science, civic duty, teaching, and climate advocation.