KYOTO, JAPAN — June 22, 2012 — The Inamori Foundation today announced that 
Dr. Ivan Edward Sutherland
 , 74, has been selected to receive the 28th annual Kyoto Prize in Advanced Technology in the field of Information Science. Dr. Sutherland is an American computer scientist, and a visiting scientist at Portland State University. He is widely considered to be the “Father of Computer Graphics” for his lifetime of work developing pioneering visual methods of interacting with computers and other technologies.

Dr. Sutherland is perhaps best known for developing Sketchpad in 1963, a graphical interface program that allowed the user to directly manipulate figures on a screen through a pointing device. Sketchpad’s interactive interface was years ahead of its time, and today’s computer-aided design (CAD) systems are just one common example of how this innovation has contributed to the field. Numerous computer graphic-based applications – ranging from films, games and virtual reality systems to educational materials, scientific and technological simulations, and other design aids for industrial engineers – are descendants of Dr. Sutherland’s original work on Sketchpad.

Dr. Sutherland also has enjoyed the privilege of working with two past Kyoto Prize laureates. As a doctoral candidate at M.I.T. during the 1960s, his dissertation on Sketchpad was supervised by Dr. Claude Elwood Shannon, the very first Kyoto Prize laureate in Basic Sciences (1985). Dr. Sutherland also worked with Dr. Alan Curtis Kay (2004 Kyoto Prize laureate in Advance Technology) in the early 1970s. In his commemorative lecture upon receiving the Kyoto Prize, Dr. Kay recalled that Sketchpad’s innovation was one of the reasons he chose to focus his career on developing object-oriented programming.

The Work of Dr. Sutherland
Dr. Sutherland developed Sketchpad to be a program capable of automatically generating accurate drawings from rough sketches by depicting the component elements of objects and their interrelationships. With Sketchpad, he demonstrated that computer graphics created by human-computer interaction could be used for both technical and artistic purposes. It was a major breakthrough in the development of computer graphics, and later served as the foundation of the Graphical User Interface (GUI) most commonly associated today with computers, video games, smartphones and more.

Dr. Sutherland has also designed many of the fundamental algorithms now used in computer graphics, such as the algorithm that determines which edges and faces of an object to display in the limited space available on a screen. In 1968 he created “The Sword of Damocles,” the world’s first head-mounted 3D display system, which opened a new field of virtual reality. In addition to his research at universities, Dr. Sutherland has been actively involved in product development at various private enterprises, where he has mentored and influenced many other computer-graphics innovators, including those who founded companies like Pixar Animation Studios, Adobe Systems Inc. and Silicon Graphics, Inc., to name a few.

His work today focuses on asynchronous circuits. As the performance of semiconductor devices continues to advance, the processing capabilities of synchronous circuits – the most common logic circuits in use today – will ultimately reach their limits. Together with his wife, Ms. Marly Roncken, he is addressing this issue through the research and development of low-power, highly efficient asynchronous circuits, and systems that will contribute not only to the development of computer graphics but to computer science in general.

Dr. Sutherland joins Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Arts & Philosophy) and Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi (Basic Sciences) as this year’s honorees of the prestigious Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. Each laureate will receive a diploma, a 20-karat gold Kyoto Prize medal and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$630,000) in recognition of lifelong contributions to society at a ceremony in Kyoto, Japan on November 10, 2012.

About the Inamori Foundation and the Kyoto Prize
The non-profit Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, founder of and honorary adviser to KDDI Corporation, and director and chairman emeritus of Japan Airlines. The Foundation created the Kyoto Prize in 1985, in line with Dr. Inamori’s belief that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of society, and that the future of humanity can be assured only when there is a balance between our scientific progress and our spiritual depth. With the 2012 laureates, the prize has honored 90 individuals and one foundation — collectively representing 15 nations. Individual laureates range from scientists, engineers and researchers to philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors. The United States has produced the most recipients (36), followed by Japan (16), the United Kingdom (12), and France (8).  More information can be found at www.kyotoprize.org/en/.

 

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Media Contacts:
The Inamori Foundation
Jay Scovie
+1-858-576-2674
jay.scovie@kyocera.com

LPI Communications
Leasa Ireland
+1-310-796-1936
+1-310- 750-7082
leasa@lpicommunications.com

KYOTO, JAPAN — June 22, 2012 — The Inamori Foundation today announced that Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi*,67, has been selected to receive the 28th annual Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences in the field of Life Sciences for his defining work in autophagy, a process by which living cells adapt to their environment. Dr. Ohsumi has made groundbreaking contributions toward elucidating the molecular mechanisms and physiological significance of autophagy, demonstrating how a cell degrades its own proteins in order to adapt to nutritional deficiency and other influences. Autophagy is now regarded as a vital cell-recycling system and may aid in future developments to treat neurodegenerative maladies such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other age-related ailments. Dr. Ohsumi is currently a professor at the Frontier Research Center of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he and his team continue their world-leading work in autophagy.

See the announcement webcast in English at www.kyotoprize.org/en/ today after 3:00pm (Japan time).

Identifying Autophagy
Autophagy was first described in the early 1960s, having been inferred from the observation that cytosolic components such as mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum are found in single-layered membranes within the lysosome, which was known as the food vacuole or phagosome in animal cells. Derived from the Greek “auto” (self) and “phagy” (eating), autophagy is a cellular process involving the degradation and recycling of a cell’s own proteins and can be described as “self-cannibalization.” When a cell runs out of nutrients, a membrane structure appears inside the cell and encloses the mitochondria and other proteins. It wasn’t until Dr. Ohsumi’s ground-breaking work in the late 1990s that the significance of autophagy became known.

In 1988, Dr. Ohsumi set up his own research lab at the University of Tokyo to explore areas that few others ventured into, rather than following popular trends of the time – a true pioneer. He began to observe intracellular vacuoles of yeast, which were receiving little academic attention at the time. Several months later, he became the first scientist to observe through a microscope how yeast’s own mitochondria and other proteins were degraded in the vacuoles, thus demonstrating that autophagy could be induced in yeast. With this experience as a turning point, Dr. Ohsumi subsequently identified several genes essential for autophagy, and made one discovery after another about its functions on the molecular level. His research findings have since been applied to autophagy in animals as well, and many researchers are now working hard to further clarify the molecular mechanism and physiological significance of this process.

 The Significance of Dr. Ohsumi’s Work
Recent research has revealed that autophagy plays a number of roles, such as removing bacteria that have invaded cells, supplying amino acids and energy during development, and governing the cell’s response to nutrient deprivation. Non-functional proteins that have accumulated in nerve cells are believed to be the cause of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. It is now accepted that autophagy is involved in the removal of such non-functional proteins and in preventing their accumulation inside of cells. It is thought that autophagy may be involved in aging and cancer as well. As such, elucidating its entire molecular mechanism is expected to shed light on fundamental processes of life, and thus make major contributions to the further advancement of the medical and life sciences.

Dr. Ohsumi joins Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Arts & Philosophy) and Dr. Ivan Sutherland (Advanced Technology) as this year’s honorees of the prestigious Kyoto Prize, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. Each laureate will receive a diploma, a 20-karat gold Kyoto Prize medal and a cash gift of 50 million yen (approximately US$630,000) in recognition of lifelong contributions to society at a ceremony in Kyoto, Japan on November 10, 2012.

About the Inamori Foundation and the Kyoto Prize
The non-profit Inamori Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, founder of and honorary adviser to KDDI Corporation, and director and chairman emeritus of Japan Airlines. The Foundation created the Kyoto Prize in 1985, in line with Dr. Inamori’s belief that a human being has no higher calling than to strive for the greater good of society, and that the future of humanity can be assured only when there is a balance between our scientific progress and our spiritual depth. With the 2012 laureates, the prize has honored 90 individuals and one foundation — collectively representing 15 nations. Individual laureates range from scientists, engineers and researchers to philosophers, painters, architects, sculptors, musicians and film directors. The United States has produced the most recipients (36), followed by Japan (16), the United Kingdom (12), and France (8).  More information can be found at www.kyotoprize.org/en/.

*Dr. Yoshinori Ohsumi: Yo-shee-nor-ee Oh-soo-mee

 

# # #

Media Contacts:
The Inamori Foundation
Jay Scovie
+1-858-576-2674
jay.scovie@kyocera.com

LPI Communications
Leasa Ireland
+1-310-796-1936
+1-310- 750-7082
leasa@lpicommunications.com