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Steven Pemberton Awarded the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Practice Award 2022

Publication date: 2022-04-04

CWI researcher Steven Pemberton has been awarded the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Practice Award 2022. The award is presented to individuals for outstanding contributions to the practice and understanding of human-computer interaction, and recognizes the very best and most influential applications of human-computer interaction. It is awarded for a lifetime of innovation and leadership.

The criteria for the award are:

  • Cumulative contributions to the field directly and through the leadership of others
  • Innovation and the stimulation of innovation through practice
  • Impact on the field, industry, and society
  • Influence on the work of others, and the growth of other HCI practitioners and researchers
  • Successful application of human-computer interaction to products, services, and systems

as well as active participation in the ACM SIGCHI community.

The award will be presented during the annual CHI conference that is this year in New Orleans, USA.

Brief Biography - by Steven Pemberton

Now: I am a researcher, author, public speaker, and occasional broadcaster, based at the CWI, the Dutch national research centre for mathematics and Iinformatics. My research is broadly in interaction, and how the underlying software architecture can better support users.

Before: At university I was tutored by Richard Grimsdale, who built the first transistorised computer, and was tutored himself by Alan Turing. I was a research programmer at the University of Sussex before going to implement Algol 68 for the research computer MU5 at the University of Manchester (where Turing had worked himself); and later was a lecturer in computing at the University of Brighton, and wrote a book on Pascal Implementation.

Programming languages: Coming to the CWI, I co-designed the programming language ABC, the forerunner of Python, and co-wrote a book on ABC. I wrote part of gcc.

Human Computer Interaction: I was a member of the SIGCHI Executive Committee for a decade, and editor in chief of the SIGCHI Bulletin, and later ACM/interactions. I chaired the CHI conference in 1997.

Internet and Web: I was one of the first handful of people to use the open internet in Europe. Involved with the Web from the beginning I organised two workshops at the first Web Conference at CERN in 1994. From there I became involved in W3C, and co-designed HTML, CSS, XHTML, XForms, RDFa, and several other Web technologies. I chaired the HTML and XForms working groups for a decade, and still chair the XForms group. I have also been a member of the ODF technical committee.




Steven Pemberton also features in many CWI movies, like the one on CWI’s 75th anniversary in 2021. Then 75 years ago, the institute opened its doors, under the name of Mathematisch Centrum. Its aim was to promote the use of pure and applied mathematics in the reconstruction of the Netherlands after WWII to improve prosperity in the Netherlands, and to enhance the Dutch contribution to international scientific culture. Computer science was later added to the mix, and the centre was duly renamed Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, or in short CWI.

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