Computer Entrepreneur Award

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About Computer Entrepreneur Award



New nomination deadline for 2019 nominations: 1 October 2018
The award nomination requires a minimum of 3 endorsements.

In 1982, on the occasion of its thirtieth anniversary, the IEEE Computer Society established the Computer Entrepreneur Award to recognize and honor the technical managers and entrepreneurial leaders who are responsible for the growth of some segment of the computer industry. The efforts must have taken place over fifteen years earlier, and the industry effects must be generally and openly visible.

The award is a museum-quality sterling silver chalice commissioned from Washington DC artist Michael Schwartz. The gold-plated crown below the cup displays the alternating symbols of the IEEE and the Computer Society, supported by clusters of laurel leaves, an ancient symbol for outstanding achievement.

All members of the profession are invited to nominate a colleague who they consider most eligible to be considered for this award. Awarded to individuals whose entrepreneurial leadership is responsible for the growth of some segment of the computer industry.

Computer Entrepreneur Past Recipients

2011 Diane B. Greene
Mendel Rosenblum
For creating a virtualization platform that profoundly revolutionized modern computing.
2009 Sandy Lerner
Len Bosack
For founding Cisco Systems and pioneering and advancing the commercialization of routing technology and the profound changes this technology enabled in the computer industry.

John E. Warnock
Charles M. Geschke

For inventing PostScript and PDF and helping to launch the desktop publishing revolution and change the way people engage with information and entertainment.
2008 Edwin E. Catmull For creating the practical foundations for a torrent of computer graphics applications, which made computers indispensable in computer animated film, computer design and manufacture, flight simulation, and entertainment.
2004 Bjarne Stroustrup For pioneering the development and commercialization of industrial-strength, object-oriented programming technologies and the profound changes they fostered in business and industry.
2000 Michael Dell For his entrepreneurial leadership in revolutionizing the personal computer industry through direct consumer, build-to-order and assembly-on-demand.
1999 Clive Sinclair For his spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, which has been a source of inspiration and guidance to the computer industry worldwide.

Bill Gates
Paul Allen
Steve Jobs
Steve Wozniak

For their entrepreneurial leadership in the creation of the personal computing industry and the profound changes it has fostered in both business and personal life.
1998 George Schussel For his entrepreneurial leadership in professional development, continuing education, and technology assessment.
1997 Andrew S. Grove For his important contributions to the computing industry and profession as an entrepreneurial leader, advisor, and mentor.
1996 Daniel S. Bricklin For pioneering the development and commercialization of the spreadsheet and the profound changes it fostered in business and industry.

William Hewlett
David Packard

For entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and impact that has served as a role model for the entire computing industry.
1990 J. Presper Eckert For pioneering design work resulting in creation of the world's first large-scale electronic general-purpose digital computer.
1989 Gene M. Amdahl In recognition of his entrepreneurial efforts in the development of a strong and competitive mainframe industry.
1987 Erwin Tomash For recognition of early pioneering work with computer equipment peripherals.

Gordon Moore
Robert Noyce

In recognition of their early contributions to microcomputers and silicon components.

Kenneth Olsen
William Norris

For pioneering work with concepts and development of minicomputers.

Computer Entrepreneur Subcommittee Chair

2018 Computer Entrepreneur Subcommittee Chair

Stanley Williams

Hewlett Packard Labs


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New deadline for 2019 nominations is 1 OCT 2018


Computer Entrepreneur Press Releases

Cisco Founders Win Computer Society Entrepreneur Award

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 2 March, 2010 – Cisco Systems co-founders Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner are the winners of the IEEE Computer Society's 2009 Computer Entrepreneur Award, joining the ranks of a who's who of technology leaders honored with the award over the past quarter-century. Bosack and Lerner co-founded Cisco Systems in 1984, pioneering the widespread commercialization of wide area network (WAN) technology to connect geographically disparate computers over a multiprotocol router system. The company, which landed more than $200,000 in contracts during its first year, went public in 1990, and is now a networking equipment powerhouse with a market cap of more than $140 billion. Before Bosack and Lerner left the company in 1990, it produced revolutionary technology such as the first true multi-protocol, multi-media Layer 3 device, and IGRP which enabled path redundancy. This technical foundation that the pair established still persists at Cisco and throughout the Internet today.

Bosack, now CEO of telecommunications engineering company XKL, is currently working on creating fiber optic systems that can achieve unprecedented data transmission latency speeds. Lerner now runs Ayrshire Farm, a certified organic and humane Virginia farm operation, restaurant, and butcher shop, and is involved in various philanthropic endeavors.

Among the previous winners of the Computer Society Entrepreneur Award are Hewlett-Packard co-founders William Hewlett and David Packard; Microsoft's Bill Gates and Paul Allen; Apple Computer co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak; Dell Computer founder Michael Dell; Intel's Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and Andrew Grove; and Bjarne Stroustrup, the father of C++. In 2008, Edwin E. Catmull, co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios; and Adobe co-founders John E. Warnock and Charles M. Geschke; received the award in recognition of their accomplishments.

The Computer Entrepreneur Award, established in 1982, is given to individuals whose entrepreneurial leadership is responsible for the growth of some segment of the computer industry. The efforts must have taken place more than 15 years previously, and the industry effects must be generally and openly visible.

Bosack held technical roles at AT&T Bell Labs and Digital Equipment Corp. upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania. After earning a master's degree in computer science from Stanford University, he became director of computer facilities for the university's computer science department. While at Stanford, Bosack, Lerner, and others at Stanford contributed to development of the Arpa Internet, overcoming incompatibility challenges to successfully link the university's 5,000 computers across a 16-square-mile campus area. After graduating from Stanford University with a master's degree in statistics and computer science, Lerner worked as the director of computer facilities for Stanford's Graduate School of Business and as director of networks systems and computer services at Schlumberger Computer Aided Systems Laboratory prior to founding Cisco. After leaving Cisco, Lerner founded the cosmetics company Urban Decay. In 1992, she established the Centre for the Study of Early English Women's Writing and the Chawton House Library in Hampshire, England, donating her collection of women's writing published before 1830. The library has become the pre-eminent center for the study of early women's writings and has a degree-granting partnership with Southampton University. Lerner has also worked with animal welfare and animal rights organizations, creating and improving animal shelter internetworking. She has been awarded four honorary PhD degrees and numerous awards for her charitable efforts.