Sunday, May 9, 2010

Len Kleinrock, Gordon Moore, and Michael Rabin Receiving Dan David Award

Three great pioneers of the information age are being honored today, receiving the international Dan David Prize, endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University. The prize includes a $1 million award, which these three honourees will share.

"I am humbled and tremendously thankful to be receiving this great honor," said Kleinrock of the prestigious award, which annually recognizes individuals whose achievements have had an outstanding scientific, technological, cultural or social impact on the world. Previous winners have included Tony Blair, Yo-Yo Ma, Zubin Mehta, Al Gore and Tom Stoppard.

The Dan David Prize recognizes and encourages innovative and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms. It aims to foster universal values of excellence, creativity, justice, democracy and progress and to promote the scientific, technological and humanistic achievements that advance and improve our world.

"To be able to also donate a portion of my Dan David Prize to worthy doctoral students pursuing research in my field of networking is a delight. The field of networks is continually expanding, and the opportunities to make an important contribution to the field are manifold. I look forward to being able to provide guidance in these students' research," said Kleinrock, who plans to recommend a recipient and will consider students from UCLA.

I know Len is attending the award ceremony, he sent me a note from there this morning. Len is sometimes called “the father of the internet” (though not by himself). Click here to read his bio on the Dan David site.

Gordon E. Moore’s prediction in 1965, widely known as "Moore's Law", stated that the number of transistors on a chip will double about every two years. Moore's Law has become the guiding principle for the semiconductor industry to deliver ever-more-powerful chips while decreasing the cost of electronics. I have read that there are two billion transistors on Intel’s latest Itanium Chip, but I didn’t actually count them myself; Moore bio here.

Michael Rabin has distinguished himself with his groundbreaking work on ways to improve privacy and create unbreakable ways to encrypt data, bio here.

This year’s honourees in other fields are:

Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Republic of Italy, known for his dedication to the cause of Parliamentary democracy and his contribution to the rapprochement between the Italian Left and European Socialism.

Margaret Atwood, a prolific Canadian writer who has produced more than forty volumes of poetry, fiction, children's books, political essays, and cultural criticism. Her work enabled, for the first time, the emergence of a defined Canadian identity.

Amitav Ghosh, is an lndian-Bengali novelist whose work offers a panoramic treatment of twentieth-century history from a postcolonial perspective.

The awards ceremony is taking place about the time I post this blog. Congratulations to all of these awardees and may the wind be always at their back.

Addendum: You can view a video of the actual awards ceremony here; it is quite an elegant show and clearly a moving experience for the honorees.  If you are only interested in the technology awards , fast forward to about 1:21 where Len tells you how the variable capacitor in his crystal radio lured him into a lifetime of invention.

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