Google on Sunday paid tribute to Japanese statistician Hirotugu Akaike on his 90th birthday with a doodle on its homepage. The 2006 Kyoto Prize awardee had developed the famous Akaike information criterion (AIC) which is used for statistical analysis. He was also awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal and the Asahi Prize, which are two of the highest honours in culture and science in Japan.
The doodle featured a portrait of Dr Akaike against the backdrop of an approximation of functions, parameters, and their respective curves.
In the early 1950s, Akaike questioned the accuracy of statistical models and proposed that someone should measure the measures since each variable would have an impact on the outcome. Over two decades later, Akaike first announced the AIC in 1971 and published a paper in 1974. With AIC, analysts select a model from a set of options by measuring how close the results are to the (hypothetical) truth.
For the purpose of his experiment, he bought a scooter and rode it around Mount Fuji. This first-hand experience enabled him to differentiate between the vibrations of riding on normal and heavily-trucked roads.
“Dr. Hirotugu Akaike formulated the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC), a new practical, yet versatile criterion for the selection of statistical models, based on basic concepts of information mathematics. This criterion established a new paradigm that bridged the world of data and the world of modelling, thus contributing greatly to the information and statistical sciences,” reads the statement on the Kyoto Prize website.
Akaike had died of pneumonia in Tokyo on August 4, 2009 at the age of 81.