ACM recently announced the winners of six prestigious awards for innovations in computing technology that have led to practical solutions to a wide range of challenges facing commerce, education, and society.
Craig Gentry, a researcher at IBM, was awarded the Grace Murray Hopper Award for his breakthrough construction of a fully homomorphic encryption scheme, which enables computations to be performed on encrypted data without unscrambling it. This long-unsolved mathematical puzzle requires immense computational effort, but Gentry's innovative approach broke the theoretical barrier to this puzzle by double encrypting the data in such a way that unavoidable errors could be removed without detection.
Kurt Mehlhorn, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and a professor at Saarland University, was awarded the Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for contributions to algorithm engineering that led to creation of the Library of Efficient Data Types and Algorithms (LEDA). This software collection of data structures and algorithms, which Mehlhorn developed with Stefan Näher, provides practical solutions for problems that had previously impeded progress in computer graphics, computer-aided geometric design, scientific computation, and computational biology.
GroupLens Collaborative Filtering Recommender Systems received the ACM Software System Award. These systems show how a distributed set of users could receive personalized recommendations by sharing ratings, leading to both commercial products and extensive research. Based on automated collaborative filtering, these recommender systems were introduced, refined, and commercialized by a team at GroupLens. The team then brought automation to the process, enabling wide-ranging research and commercial applications. The GroupLens team includes John Riedl, University of Minnesota; Paul Resnick, University of Michigan; Joseph A. Konstan, University of Minnesota; Neophytos Iacovou, COVOU Technologists; Peter Bergstrom, Fluke Thermography; Mitesh Suchak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; David Maltz, Microsoft; Brad Miller, Luther College; Jon Herlocker, VMware, Inc.; Lee Gordon, Gordon Consulting, LLC; Sean McNee, FTI Consulting, Inc.; and Shyong (Tony) K. Lam, University of Minnesota.
Takeo Kanade, the U.A. and Helen Whitaker University Professor of Computer Science and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, is the recipient of the ACM/AAAI Allen Newell Award for contributions to research in computer vision and robotics. His approach balanced fundamental theoretical insights with practical, real-world applications in areas like face and motion detection and analysis, direct drive manipulators, three-dimensional shape recovery from both stereo vision and motional analysis, and video surveillance and monitoring.
Barbara Ericson, who directs the Institute for Computing Education at Georgia Tech, and Mark Guzdial, director of the Contextualized Support for Learning at Georgia Tech, received the Karl V. Karlstom Outstanding Educator Award for their contributions to broadening participation in computing. They created the Media Computation (MediaComp) approach, which motivates students to write programs that manipulate and create digital media, such as pictures, sounds, and videos. Now in use in almost 200 schools around the world, MediaComp's contextualized approach to introductory computer science attracts students not motivated by classical algorithmic problems addressed in traditional CS education.
Reinhard Wilhelm and Joseph S. DeBlasi were named recipients of the Distinguished Service Award. Wilhelm, scientific director of the Schloss Dagstuhl-Leibniz Center for Informatics, was honored for two decades of exceptional service at the center, creating a stimulating environment for advancing research in informatics. Wilhelm brought together researchers from complementary computing areas for intensive workshops that promoted new research collaborations and directions. DeBlasi, former executive director of ACM, was honored for his executive leadership from 19891999 that transformed ACM into a financially sound, globally respected institution, and for his foresight in implementing programs and expanding international initiatives that continue to sustain ACM today.
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