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Israeli Computer Scientist Regina Barzilay Scoops MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

(JTA) — An Israeli computer scientist is among the winners of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “genius” grants.

Regina Barzilay, 46, is a computational linguist based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose work includes training machines to understand different languages. Her research helped decipher part of the semitic Ugaritic language by mapping it onto Hebrew, a linguistic relative.

The winners of the award from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation each receive a $625,000 grant in recognition of “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” Past Jewish recipients include “The Wire” creator David Simon, novelist Ben Lerner and visual artist Nicole Eisenman.

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