Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chieko Asakawa, IBM Fellow at the Yamato Research Lab in Tokyo, Receives 2011 Anita Borg Award

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) was founded in 1997 by renowned computer scientist Anita Borg, Ph.D. (1949-2003). Initially known as the Institute for Women in Technology, IWT was renamed in 2003 to the Anita Borg Institute in order to honor Dr. Borg.

The ABI Women of Vision Awards, hosted by the ABI Board of Trustees, honors women making significant contributions to technology. One winner is selected in each category: Innovation, Leadership, and Social Impact.

This year, Chieko Asakawa has been named the Women of Vision Award winner in the Leadership category. She is recognized for her work as a leader in the field of accessibility. Her work at IBM has led to breakthrough technologies including Japan’s first computer based Braille library system and Home Page Reader which has helped the visually impaired and others with disabilities, easily surf websites. Her most recent innovation, aDesigner, is used by Web designers today across the globe to help them build pages that are accessible to those with poor sight.

Based on decades of unrelenting efforts, Chieko has become an international leader in accessibility research. After helping to create Japan’s digital Braille network in the 1980s, Chieko developed a pioneering voice browser, and from her work, IBM released the Home Page Reader in 1997.

In 2008, Chieko launched the Social Accessibility project. The project introduced a brand new approach to creating bridges among the communities of visually impaired web users who face web accessibility issues. Using a mix of server based and client based software developed by her team, Chieko’s team developed a solution which offers an open and collaborative environment where everyone can work together to address accessibility issues.

Chieko joined IBM in 1985 and became an IBM Fellow in 2009. She received her Doctorate from the University of Tokyo in 2004, and she is a member of the IBM Academy of Technology. Inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2003, Chieko is also a member of the Association for Computer Machinery(ACM), a member of the Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers(IEICE), and a Fellow of the Information Processing Society of Japan(IPSJ ).

Chieko has received a number of awards, including the 2010 SWE Achievement Award, the highest honor from the Society of Women Engineers in 2010 in recognition of her pioneering research and technical advances in web accessibility.