Cognitive Computing Pioneer Honored as R&D Magazine's 2016 Scientist of the Year

Nov. 11, 2016, 9 a.m.

Science and technology industry leaders gathered to watch the presentation of the 2016 Scientist of the Year at the 54th annual R&D 100 Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 3, 2016. This year marks the 51st annual Scientist of the Year Award, which recognizes career accomplishments in scientific research and technology spanning nearly all disciplines from physics to medicine to chemistry. 

Along with honoring the 100 best technologies of the past year at this annual R&D 100 Awards event, R&D Magazine has named Dharmendra Modha, Ph.D., IBM fellow and IBM chief scientist for brain-inspired computing and the creator of the most advanced brain-inspired computer, as the 2016 Scientist of the Year. His accomplishments and remarkable journey were profiled in the October 2016 issue of R&D Magazine. Mark C. O’Riley, Esq., Technology Policy, IBM Government and Regulatory Affairs, accepted on behalf of Modha, who also spoke to the R&D 100 Awards audience via video.  

“As a cognitive computing pioneer, it is our great honor to recognize the ground-breaking efforts of Dr. Modha as he brings new insights into the power of the brain—and continues to refine and accelerate our knowledge of this new landscape, which has worldwide scientific impact,” said Bea Riemschneider, editorial director of the Advantage Business Media Science Group, the parent organization of the R&D 100 Awards and R&D Magazine.

Modha envisioned and now leads a highly successful effort to develop brain-inspired computers. Delivering on a promise he made six years ago, Modha and his team have revolutionized the computing industry with the introduction of TrueNorth—a chip with a brain-inspired computer architecture powered by an unprecedented 1 million neurons and 256 million synapses. Traditional computers focus on language and analytical thinking, but neurosynaptic chips are built to address senses and pattern recognition.

In true pioneer fashion, the chips turned more than 70 years of computer architecture on its head, redefining what is now possible in the field of brain-inspired computers in terms of size, architecture, efficiency, scalability and chip design techniques. This ground-breaking project is multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and multi-national.

The 2016 Scientist of the Year is also the author of more than 60 papers and inventor of more than 100 patent disclosures. In 2013 and 2014, Modha was named the Best of IBM and he has made significant contributions to IBM businesses via innovations in caching algorithms for storage controllers, clustering algorithms for services and coding theory for disk drives. He holds a B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California at San Diego.

The R&D 100 Awards Committee and R&D Magazine unveiled the 2016 R&D 100 Awards at the annual black-tie dinner, which honors the 100 most innovative technologies, products and services of the past year. A detailed list of the 2016 R&D 100 Awards can be found here.

In addition to the awards gala, this year’s event also included the second annual R&D 100 Conference, which featured an impressive roster of educational sessions and networking opportunities. The conference’s theme was “R&D Strategy, Innovation and Leadership.”

For more information on the R&D 100 Awards program for 2017, click here.

About the R&D 100 Awards

Since 1963, the R&D 100 Awards program has identified revolutionary technologies newly introduced to the market. The R&D 100 Awards identifies and celebrates the top technology products of the year. Past winners have included sophisticated testing equipment, innovative new materials, chemistry breakthroughs, biomedical products, consumer items, and technologies spanning industry, academia and government-sponsored research.


2018 Submissions are Open!