Wednesday, December 16, 1998

U.H. professor
honored in Japan

W. Wesley Peterson receives
Japan Prize for work in
digital error control

By Mary Adamski


University of Hawaii information and computer sciences professor W. Wesley Peterson has been named winner of the 1999 Japan Prize for Information Technologies for his groundbreaking work in digital communications error control.

The announcement was made in Hawaii yesterday by Japan Consul General Gotaro Ogawa.

The Japan Prize, which carries a cash award of 50 million yen or about $400,000, will be presented in April in a Tokyo ceremony before Emperor Akihito and other Japan government leaders. The award was created by the Science and Technology Foundation of Japan to acknowledge the role of science and technology in furthering world peace. Peterson is the 19th American to receive or share a prize since the first presentation in 1985.

Peterson is the author of "Error-Correcting Codes" which established a framework of algebraic coding that allowed the development of an error-correcting format in computers. The results of his research are used today in computer disk drives and most digital communication systems, according to a UH announcement. He invented practical logic circuits for error detection and correction that became vital to industrial computer and communications applications.

The book was published in 1961, and a revised 1972 edition is still widely used. Peterson began the research while he was a visiting associate professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Peterson, who holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from University of Michigan, joined the university faculty in 1964. He has received the UH Regents Medal for Excellence in Research and the Shannon Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Information Theory Society. He will be on sabbatical next semester to pursue a project at the Hiroshima City University.

A second Japan Prize will be presented in molecular recognition and dynamics in bioscience to Jack L. Strominger and Donald C. Wiley of Harvard University.

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