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The Jim Gray eScience Award—named for Jim Gray, a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Research and a Turing Award winner who disappeared at sea in 2007—recognizes innovators whose work makes science easier for other scientists.
It was a special pleasure to be part of the audience in Stockholm as Tony Hey, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research Connections, presented the 2011 award to Mark Abbott at the Microsoft Research eScience in Action Workshop. Mark Abbott is dean and professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University. He is also serving a six-year term on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation and provides scientific advice to the White House and to Congress. I was very proud to be part of the eScience research community as we applauded Mark for his career-long contributions to integrating biological and physical science, making early innovations in data-intensive science, and providing educational leadership.
After the applause, the audience learned that another award recipient was to be announced. Technically, the Jim Gray eScience Award was started in 2007, but the first award was presented in 2008. However, the 2007 award ceremony was put on hold due to Jim’s disappearance. That year, Tony Hey publically recognized Alex Szalay, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at John Hopkins University, for his foundational contributions to interdisciplinary advances in the field of astronomy and groundbreaking work with Jim Gray, but did not present him with an award. Now after four years, Tony Hey was able to call Alex to the stage and formally present him with the 2007 Jim Gray eScience Award. This began a great evening as we sat back to enjoy Mark Abbott’s view on how “data-intensive science is more than just speeds and feeds.”
Please join me in paying tribute to these two outstanding researchers who have advanced Jim Gray’s vision of data-intensive science.
—Harold Javid, Chair of 2011 Microsoft eScience Workshop