The 2009 winner of the prestigious ACM Special Interest Group on Multimedia Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement is our own Dr. Lawrence Rowe. I have seen this award referred in a number of different ways (even on the ACM SIGMM website), but the above, and “Outstanding Technical Contributions to Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications” seem to be the most common. It is only the second year of the award, so we have to wait a while before a cute nickname arises. (The Mummy award?)
Stealing directly from his bio: Dr. Rowe is currently President of FX Palo Alto Laboratory and an Emeritus Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. The ACM SIGMM Technical Achievement award, given in recognition of outstanding contributions over a researcher’s career, cited his “pioneering research in continuous media software systems and visionary leadership of the multimedia research community.” The award will be presented at ACM Multimedia 2009 that will be held October 19-24, 2009 in Beijing China.
I was going to call him Dr. Rowe in this post, but I don’t think any former student of his could feel comfortable calling him anything other than “Larry.” Prior to his work on multimedia, Larry made important contributions to the relational database field. The Multimedia community probably doesn’t care much about Larry’s work on the INGRES and the POSTGRES database systems, but they should. Every relational database system, every collection of metadata, every corporate or not-so-corporate website that lets you log in and customizes your interface and interaction owes a huge debt to what Larry and his colleagues did.
In the multimedia space, the Berkeley MPEG1 tools created by Larry and his students are responsible for video on computers moving from requiring the purchase of special purpose hardware and software to being something we all take for granted. The Berkeley lecture Webcast system was broadcasting the UCB Multimedia Seminar across the MBone before most people were using web browsers, and led to a system that lets people world-wide watch great UC Berkeley courses.
So, congratulations Larry! I can speak for your former students and your current FXPAL colleagues by saying that we are incredibly pleased and proud!