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IEEE Awards & VIC Summit 2022


The 2022 IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit and the venerable Honors Ceremony took place in San Diego presided by K.J. Ray Liu, 2022 IEEE President and CEO on May 6. The event was held at the San Diego Marriott Marina Hotel. I had the honor of being invited to attend in person and was the first IEEE event since becoming a member this year.

If you are an engineer, you know about the IEEE or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It is the premiere professional community of technology professionals in what you might call the “tech industry”. For those outside of the techno bubble, you probably never heard of them, but you use an application of the set of technology standards that the IEEE administers called 802.11, which is the basis for WiFi.

Vision, Innovation, and Challenges (VIC) Summit

The Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit preceded the IEEE Honors Ceremony and Marguerite Gong Hancock, Vice President of Innovation & Programming at the Computer History Museum served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Summit. It featured a program that touched on several of the leading technology topics of the day including space engineering, digital twins, blockchain, the future of cloud computing, and more.

One of the more intriguing topics on the VIC Summit agenda was space tech which has come into vogue in recent years. A bevy of commercial enterprises for space launch services, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications, and global ambitions to return man to the Moon such as Project Artemis have revived decades-old excitement about the application of emerging technologies in space.

Over 8 years ago, I was involved in extensive commercialization studies for the industrial application of 3D printing when I was with IBM. For this reason, I was particularly fascinated by the presentation from Josh Brost, VP of Business Development of Relativity Space, a Los Angeles-based aerospace startup, who showcased the company’s use of large-scale 3D printers (dubbed Stargate) for the terrestrial fabrication of metallic rocket hulls and components.

During the subsequent Q&A, I instigated a fun exploratory discussion in which we contemplated zero-gravity methods of 3D printing in space as well as the prospect of building large-scale spacecraft in an orbital space dock as suggested in the 1979 film, “Star Trek: The Movie”. Laughs ensued followed by genuine contemplation.

The aerospace panel was one of many thought-provoking sessions and plenary discussions that were had at this year’s event. It was a unique opportunity to listen to and interact with pioneering engineers and organizations that are pushing the boundaries of applied technologies in space and beyond.

The VIC Summit sessions are listed below. I encourage you to check them out (hyperlinks to provided).

Honoring Ingenuity and Impact

“Distinguished” is the first word to come to mind as twenty-seven honorees were awarded their IEEE Medals and Recognition. It was an evening of profound, eloquent speeches that spoke to lives steeped in a shared fascination with and dedication to discovery and invention.

What impressed me the most was the tremendous focus and dedication of each of the medal recipients to their research, and the expansive breadth of knowledge, and intellectual talent that was channeled into their works.Each life’s work was the root of what eventually became a sprawling tree of impact that enables remarkable applications that transform our lives.

One such life is IEEE Medal of Honor recipient, Asad M. Madni. Without his groundbreaking work in sensor and systems technologies, we quite literally would not be able to fly or drive as safely as we do today. Dr. Madni developed and commercialized the GyroChip, which in simple terms is a “solid-state 6-degrees-of-freedom micromechanical system (MEMS) inertial measurement unit.

In even simpler terms, Dr. Madni’s invention found essential applications in aerospace, automotive and all manner of mobile devices and vehicles autonomous and otherwise. Speaking of space, the GyroChip was instrumental in the guidance, navigation, and control of the Mars rover Sojourner. His control system for the Hubble Space Telescope has provided unprecedented accuracy and stability for images that have enhanced our understanding of the universe. Madni was merely one of twenty-seven astonishing stories of ingenuity and achievement. The IEEE Board of Directors and Awards committee additionally honored several pioneers that evening including:

  • IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal Recipient, Panganamala R. Kumar – For seminal contributions to the modeling, analysis, and design of wireless networks.
  • IEEE/RSE James Clerk Maxwell Medal Recipient, Ingo Wolff – For the development of numerical electromagnetic field analysis techniques to design advanced mobile and satellite communication systems.
  • IEEE Simon Ramo Medal Recipient, Pravin P. Varaiya – For seminal contributions to the engineering, analysis, and design of complex energy, transportation, and communication systems.
  • IEEE Dennis J. Picard Medal for Radar Technologies and Applications Recipient, Moeness G. Amin – For contributions to radar signal processing across a wide range of applications including through-the-wall imaging and health monitoring.
  • IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal Recipient, Jason (Jingsheng) Cong – For fundamental contributions to electronic design automation and FPGA design methods.
  • IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal Recipient, Umesh K. Mishra – For contributions to the development of gallium nitride-based electronics.
  • IEEE Medal in Power Engineering Recipient, Thomas M. Jahns – For contributions to the development of high-efficiency permanent magnet machines and drives.
  • IEEE Founders Medal Recipient, John Brooks Slaughter – For leadership and administration significantly advancing inclusion and racial diversity in the engineering profession across government, academic, and nonprofit organizations.
  • IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal Recipient, David L. Donoho – For groundbreaking contributions to sparse signal recovery and compressed sensing.
  • IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipient, Madhu Sudan – For fundamental contributions to probabilistically checkable proofs and list decoding of Reed-Solomon codes.
  • IEEE Frances E. Allen Medal Recipients, Eugene W. Myers and Webb Miller – For pioneering contributions to sequence analysis algorithms and their applications to biosequence search, genome sequencing, and comparative genome analyses.
  • IEEE Mildred Dresselhaus Medal Recipient, Anantha Chandrakasan – For contributions to ultralow-power circuits and systems, and for leadership in academia and advancing diversity in the profession.
  • IEEE Medal for Innovations in Healthcare Technology Recipient, James G. Fujimoto – For pioneering the development and commercialization of optical coherence tomography for medical imaging and diagnostics.
  • IEEE Medal for Environmental and Safety Technologies Recipients, Masato Sagawa and John J. Croat – For contributions to the development of rare earth-iron-boron permanent magnets for use in high-efficiency motors, generators, and other devices.
  • IEEE John von Neumann Medal Recipient, Deborah Estrin – For leadership in mobile and wireless sensing systems technologies and applications, including personal health management.
  • IEEE James H. Mulligan, Jr. Education Medal Recipient, Ned Mohan – For leadership in power engineering education by developing courses, textbooks, labs, and a faculty network.
  • IEEE Edison Medal Recipient, Alan C. Bovik – For pioneering high-impact scientific and engineering contributions leading to the perceptually optimized global streaming and sharing of visual media.
  • IEEE Theodore W. Hissey Outstanding Young Professional Award Recipient, Edhem Custovic – For leadership in the empowerment and development of technology professionals globally.
  • IEEE Honorary Membership Recipient, Calyampudi Radhakrishna (C.R.) Rao – For contributions to fundamental statistical theories and their applications to engineering and science, particularly in signal processing and communications.
  • IEEE Haraden Pratt Award Recipient, Joseph V. Lillie – For sustained and outstanding focus on the engagement of volunteers and staff in implementing continuous improvement of IEEE operations.
  • IEEE Richard M. Emberson Award Recipient, Frederick C. Mintzer – For outstanding leadership of technical activities including the IEEE Collabratec and TAB technology-centric communities.

The IEEE Medals are a distinguished recognition for profound contributions by some exceptional individuals who have changed our lives beyond the appreciation they receive and deserve. Through the awards ceremony, I came to deeply appreciate the past, present, and prospective works of the many amazing engineers and researchers who showcased their endeavors and were honored for their life’s work that evening.

It was an honor to attend this year’s IEEE Honors Ceremony and VIC Summit. I feel privileged to have been invited to attend next year’s event to share my perspective on the state of transformative technologies, and to highlight the prospects and challenges of societies, industries, and individuals realizing the benefits of the works of our engineers who are inventing the technological foundation of our increasingly digital world.

Most importantly, I will have the honor of witnessing heroes of the industry get the recognition that will inspire the next generation of IEEE Medal recipients.

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