IEEE Medal of Honor Goes to DVD and Blu-ray Technology Pioneer

Kornelis A. Schouhamer “Kees” Immink receives the organization’s top award

3 March 2017

Life Fellow Kornelis A. Schouhamer “Kees” Immink will receive the 2017 IEEE Medal of Honor “for pioneering contributions to video, audio, and data recording technology including compact disc, DVD, and Blu-ray.”

Immink joined Philips Research Labs, in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 1968 and conducted pioneering work on optical videodisc recording. He worked with Philips and Sony in 1979 and 1980 to develop the international Red Book standard, which contains specifications for all CD formats. He also has contributed to the theory and development of constrained codes, a type of coding widely used in data storage devices. The codes accelerated the development of magnetic, optical, and solid-state data storage technologies.

His book Codes for Mass Data Storage Systems [Shannon Foundation, 1999] is recognized as an authoritative source.

Immink left Philips in 1998 to launch Turing Machines Inc., in Rotterdam, Netherlands, which focuses on novel coding technology and signal processing for hard disk drives and solid-state memories.

From 1994 to 2015 he was an adjunct professor of mathematics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, in Germany. He also has been a visiting professor at three schools in Singapore: the Data Storage Institute, Nanyang Technical University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Immink, chair of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society’s Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) chapter for more than 15 years, has served on the boards of governors of the IEEE Consumer Electronics and IEEE Information Theory societies.

In 2000 he was knighted by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. He received a 2003 Technology and Engineering Emmy Award from the U.S. National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work on coding optical formats.

The IEEE Foundation sponsors the Medal of Honor. Immink is to receive the award at the 2017 IEEE Honors Ceremony, scheduled for 25 May at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. The ceremony is being held in conjunction with the IEEE Vision, Innovation, and Challenges Summit.

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