During a ceremony at the Second Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy in Washington, DC this month the First Annual Pioneer Awards were given to five individuals judged to have made substantial contributions to the field of computer-based communications. The finalists were selected by six judges from a field of over 200 nominees. The winners were: Douglas C. Engelbart of Fremont, California; Robert Kahn of Reston, Virginia; Jim Warren of Woodside, California; Tom Jennings of San Francisco, California; and Andrzej Smereczynski of Warsaw, Poland.
Nominations for the Pioneer Awards were carried out over national and international computer-communication systems from November, 1991 to February 1992. Many of the nominations came from people who read EFFector Online and the EFF would like to extend its thanks to all those on the Net who contributed to this effort.
Douglas Engelbart is one of the original moving forces in the personal computer revolution who is responsible for many ubiquitous features of today's computers such as the mouse, the technique of windowing, display editing,hypermedia, groupware and many other inventions and innovations. He holds more than 20 patents and is widely-recognized in his field as one of our era's true visionaries.
Robert Kahn was an early advocate and prime mover in the creation of ARPANET which was the precursor of today's Internet. Since the late 60's and early 70's Mr. Kahn has constantly promoted and tirelessly pursued innovation and heightened connectivity in the world's computer networks.
Tom Jennings started the Fidonet international network. Today it is a linked network of amateur electronic bulletin board systems (BBSs) with more than 13,000 nodes worldwide and still growing. He contributed to the technical backbone of this system by writing the FIDO BBS program, as well as to the culture of the net by pushing for development and expansion since the early days of BBSing. He is currently editor of FidoNews, the network's electronic newsletter.
Jim Warren has been active in electronic networking for many years. Most recently he has organized the First Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference, set-p the first online public dialogue link with the California legislature, and has been instrumental is assuring that rights common to older mediums and technologies are extended to computer networking.
Andrzej Smereczynski is the Administrator of the PLEARN node of the Internet and responsible for the extension of the Internet into Poland and other east European countries. He is the person directly responsible for setting up the first connection to the West in post- Communist Middle Europe. A network "guru", Mr. Smereczynski has worked selflessly and tirelessly to extend the technology of networking as well as its implicit freedoms to Poland and neighboring countries.
This year's judges for the Pioneer Awards were: Dave Farber of the University of Pennsylvania Computer Science Department; Howard Rheingold, editor of The Whole Earth Review; Vint Cerf, head of CNRI; Professor Dorothy Denning Chair of Georgetown University's Computer Science Department; Esther Dyson, editor of Release 1.0, Steve Cisler of Apple Computer, and John Gilmore of Cygnus Support.
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