Teuvo Kalevi Kohonen

Teuvo Kalevi Kohonen11 July 1934 – 13 December 2021

With the passing of Prof. Kohonen, we have lost one of the world’s most accomplished members of the AI community. He was a prominent Finnish academic (Dr. Eng.) and researcher. He was professor emeritus of the Academy of Finland. He was a past member of the INNS Board of Governors and member of the INNS College of Fellows.

Prof. Kohonen made many contributions to the field of artificial neural networks, including the Learning Vector Quantization algorithm, fundamental theories of distributed associative memory and optimal associative mappings, the learning subspace method and novel algorithms for symbol processing like redundant hash addressing. He published several books and over 300 peer-reviewed papers.

Kohonen’s most famous contribution is the Self-Organizing Map. Due to the popularity of the SOM algorithm in research and in practical applications, Kohonen’s work has been frequently cited. The current version of the SOM bibliography contains close to 8000 entries.

During most of his career, Prof. Kohonen conducted research at the Helsinki University of Technology (TKK). The Neural Networks Research Centre of TKK, a center of excellence appointed by Academy of Finland was founded to conduct research related to Teuvo Kohonen's innovations. After Kohonen's retirement, the center was led by Prof. Erkki Oja and later renamed to Adaptive Informatics Research Centre with widened foci of research.

Teuvo Kohonen was elected the First Vice President of the International Association for Pattern Recognition from 1982 to 1984, and acted as the first president of the European Neural Network Society from 1991 to 1992.

For his scientific achievements, Prof. Kohonen received a number of prizes including the following:

  • IEEE Neural Networks Council Pioneer Award, 1991
  • Technical Achievement Award of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, 1995
  • INNS Gabor Award, 2004
  • IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award, 2008

Prof. Kohonen died on December 13, 2021, at the age of 87. He will be sorely missed.