Sunday, May 26, 2024

IEEE Honors Technological Heroes At Its Annual Honors Event

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On May 3, as IEEE President, I had the honor of presiding over the annual IEEE Vision, Innovation and Challenges Summit (VICS) and the IEEE Honors Ceremony held in Boston, MA at the Encore Hotel.

The day before these IEEE events, Akamai, based in Cambridge, MA hosted a reception at their headquarters featuring Akamai CEO Tom Leighton and CTO Robert Blumofe . Akamai plays a major role in keeping the Internet running and safe. While at Akamai we visited their Network Operations Command Center (NOCC). The huge displays at the Akamai NOCC showed the movement of hundreds of TB of data through networks all over the world.

Boston Dynamics brought their robot, Spot, to the events. It posed for pictures during the VICs. I had a chance to interact with this amazing robot “dog.”

During my kickoff talk at the start of the VICS (see below) I introduced Janet Wu, a journalist who has covered business and innovation for Bloomberg and worked at the local Boston NBC affiliate before that.

The Summit had riveting discussions by expert panelists that addressed some of the most crucial areas of technology today, the impact on the future of industries, and the engineering skills needed today and in the future. Many of the panelists at the VICS were the laurates who would be honored during the evenings Honors Ceremony.

In particular, I enjoyed the interaction between Vint Cerf (2023 IEEE Medal of Honor winner) and Bob Kahn, during Bob’s talk about the future of networking and communication at the VICS. Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn worked together to create the TCP/IP protocols in the mid-1970’s which enabled internetworking and the creation of the Internet. Vint and Bob are still at the top of their game and both paid a lot of attention to the Summit discussions and were very generous with their time, talking with and posing with the Summit participants.

In the evening, we had the IEEE Honors Ceremony. This includes 27 awards for people who contributed significantly to enhancing the efficiency, convenience and security of our world. These awards ranged from honoring those who have laid the groundwork for the internet to innovative technologies crucial to the ongoing energy transition, to developing breakthrough medical devices that enhance disease treatment and restore the gift of hearing.

During the honors ceremony Robert E. Kahn, the 2024 IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient was recognized “for pioneering technical and leadership contributions in packet communication technologies and foundations of the Internet.” The picture below shows Bob Kahn and me in front of a new IEEE Medal of Honor traveling history exhibit at its first showing in Boston.

I also sat at the banquet table with Bob Kahn; his wife and several of his friends in addition to one of my sons and my wife; Sophia Muirhead, the IEEE Executive Director; and John McDonald, the IEEE Foundation Vice President of Development. When Bob stood up to be recognized during the Honors Ceremony he received a standing ovation for several minutes before he was able to talk.

I stood at the stage with Kathleen Kramer (who will be IEEE President in 2025) taking turns introducing the sponsors for our many medals who then recognized the medal recipients. Kathleen and I also recognized volunteer leadership, IEEE Spectrum Awards, and other IEEE awards while on the stage.

At the IEEE honors ceremony we honors Gladys Mae West as the IEEE President’s Award recipient. We recognized her for her contributions to mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth and the development of satellite geodesy models that were incorporated into the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Next year, in 2025, Kathleen Kramer, Electrical Engineering Professor at the University of San Diego, will be the IEEE President and will preside over the VICS and Honors Ceremony with the newly elected IEEE President Elect. The 2025 VICS and Honors Ceremony will be held for the first time in Tokyo Japan. The image below shows Kathleen and IEEE Japanese volunteers and staff who will make the Tokyo event fabulous!

IEEE is the professional home for the engineering and the technology community worldwide. IEEE has been dedicated to advancing innovation and technological excellence for 140 years! IEEE has over 460,000 members in over 190 countries. IEEE has many functions including as a major standards organization, an organizer of worldwide technical events, a major publisher of technical literature, a continuing education resource and, through its local sections, supporting vibrant local technical communities.

Our VICS and Honors Ceremonies demonstrates IEEE at its best, recognizing technology’s heroes and inspiring the next generation.

The IEEE VICS and Honors Ceremony recognizes technology heroes who have changed the world. Those who attended, or watched the streaming event on IEEE.tv, came away feeling inspired and with a better sense of what IEEE does– what these new emerging technologies mean for the future – and what our community has been accomplishing together.

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