Computer History Museum (CHM), a leading museum and non-profit organization based in the heart of Silicon Valley, recently honored Raj Reddy, an Indian-American professor and researcher in AI and Robotics as part of its 2021 CHM Fellow Awards program. Reddy was recognized for his contribution towards revolutionizing AI and speaker-independent continuous speech recognition.
CHM recognized Raj Reddy for his ground-breaking work in artificial intelligence, robotics and computer science education. Reddy also founded the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, one of the top three labs in the world exploring applied robotics technology research. Reddy’s pioneering work showcases how technology can serve society, particularly in bridging the digital divide through education.
Raised in the Chittoor district, situated in Andhra Pradesh, India, Reddy played an instrumental role in creating the Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies to meet the educational needs of low-income, gifted, rural youth across the nation. Reddy has influenced thousands of students, many of whom have gone on to make vital and important contributions to computer science, artificial intelligence, and robotics, over a five-decade teaching career. The students have made seminal contributions to speech recognition, analysis of natural scenes, autonomous robotic systems, and universal access to information.
Following the virtual event, Raj Reddy said, “It is an honor to receive the prestigious 2021 Computer History Museum Fellow award. In this digital world, new technologies make it easier than ever to transfer knowledge and information and educate new audiences. I am humbled by this recognition and am looking forward to seeing how future innovations build on legacy technologies to further advance speech recognition and AI for new use cases across banking, e-commerce, telehealth and so much more.”
The CHM Fellow Awards Program honors distinguished technology pioneers—unsung heroes and legends—for their outstanding merits and significant contributions to the advancement of computing and the evolution of the digital age. The program is supported with collecting, education, research, and media efforts that reflect the seminal work of each Fellow and preserves their stories for future generations. Fellows are selected annually through a public nomination process.
Ed Feigenbaum, Computer Scientist, Former Professor and Entrepreneur, who presented the award to Raj Reddy, said, “Raj is a dear friend and I wholeheartedly congratulate on this recognition. His expanding vision for speech understanding through technology has brought him one step closer to unlocking the true potential of artificial intelligence. Work aside, Raj’s ability to connect information technology with people with no access to these resources makes him a great role model for all young scientists across geographies. It is a well-deserved recognition, and I wish him the best for all his future endeavors.”
While discussing Raj’s contribution towards education in India, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Group and Business Executive & Chair, said, “It pleases me to congratulate Prof. Raj Reddy for being selected as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum for his profound contributions to technology, society and underprivileged communities. Having contributed to several areas of AI, Raj is a pioneer for his work in the field of speech technologies and creating a significant impact in the areas of literacy and college education in India. His work in research technology and solving societal problems are worthy of being distinguished, understood and acknowledged in the years to come.”
The 2021 CHM Fellow Awards marks the Museum’s first-ever virtual Fellow Awards. CHM celebrates the 2021 Fellows in a yearlong four-part series of thought-provoking virtual events and engaging digital content that explores the story and impact of each honoree and the present and future of tech for humanity.
The other Fellow Awardees for 2021 are:
Raymond Ozzie – For a lifetime of work in collaborative software and software entrepreneurship
Lillian F. Schwartz – For her pioneering work at the intersection of art and computing
Andries van Dam – For a lifetime of contributions to computer graphics, hypertext, and education
Over its three-decade history, previous winners of the CHM Fellow Awards include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, NASA mathematician and “hidden figure” Katherine Johnson, Java creator James Gosling, software pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, semiconductor pioneer Gordon Moore, and world wide web creator Tim Berners Lee.