Monday, June 17, 2013

ACM awards

ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is the largest and most research-oriented professional society in the world, 108,000 members strong, just over 50% now outside the US.  They held their annual Awards banquet in San Francisco on Saturday night, a black-tie affair at the Westin St. Francis.

I was privileged to be president of this group fifteen years ago, a great learning experience for me to be sure, and chance to mingle with some of the most important architects of our Information Age.  These folk are the infrastructure builders -- the inventors of new algorithms, methods, techniques rather than the more celebrated CEOs and company founders profiled in Fortune or Business Week.

This year, Hans-J Boehm and Robert S. Schreiber of HP were honored as new ACM Fellows.  This is today a group of 770 specially acknowledged designers/researchers/inventors -- out of more than 2 million practitioners in the computer science field -- selected by a selective "Fellows committtee'.   So, to be named to this group is to be just 0.04% of the discipline.  Quite a noteworthy achievement.  It is also true that there are less than 100 "practitioners" in the set of 770, so to have two new HP folk in this group is especially noteworthy.

Historically, a few HP folk have been named to this -- Joel Birnbaum and Prith Banerjee, Rich DeMillo and myself -- plus a few others whose names escape me at the moment.  Some HP researchers, such as Josh Fisher in VLIW work, have won key prizes -- Fisher won the ACM-IEEE Eckert-Mauchly prize in 2003; Stan Williams has gained acclaim for the memristor (altho it is not now slated for commercial production),  

Boehm and Schreiber had earlier (2006) been selected in ACM's first group of "Distinguished Members" (see HP release by Jamie Beckett, November 2006), so they've been 'on the radar' for awhile.  Their work undergirds much of the HP enterprise work, including the new Moonshot series re memory management and high-perfomance operations.

Other recent HP researchers elected to the Distinguished Members list include Martin Arlitt, Sung-Ju Lee, Puneet Sharma, Parthasaranthy Ranganathan, Kimberley Keeton, Ludmila Cherkasova, Dejan S. Milojicic, Arif Merchant, and Michael Schlansker.

I've posted in my InnovaScapes blog ( a couple of notes re the ACM awards banquet; suffice here to say that it was refreshing to see some HP researchers acknowledged.  There's life in the old company yet!

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