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Digital Processing Medal Recipients

The Digital Processing Medal, established in 2012, recognizes significant technical achievements related to the development of digital processing of content for cinema, television, games, or other related media.


2023 - Karlheinz Brandenburg

In recognition of his fundamental contributions to developing MPEG digital audio compression systems. As a PhD student and later as a researcher at Bell Laboratories, Brandenburg’s early work on psychoacoustics and audio coding established the foundation for developing the ASPEC audio codec. ASPEC was the basis of the MPEG-1 Layer III audio coding standard, widely known as the MP3 audio format. MP3 was successful due to Layer III’s superior performance, coding efficiency, and simplicity of implementation. AAC, HE-AAC, and xHE-AAC were based on MP3. AAC and MP3 are popular audio codecs worldwide.  

Didier LeGall

In recognition of his contributions to image and video compression. LeGall is a visionary, pioneer, and expert in the video compression industry who has authored and co-authored many digital-video-related patents. He spearheaded the MPEG standardization effort and served as chair of the MPEG Video Group from 1989 to 1995, delivering the MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 international standards. LeGall also contributed to many of the techniques that are fundamental to video coding, including adaptive transform coding of still images, sub-band coding of images with low computational complexity, format conversion pre-processing, and the multichannel HDTV system.

Nick Wells

In recognition of his long career at the BBC developing solutions requiring deep knowledge of digital signal processing. Wells’ early career focused on DPCM-based video compression. He devised a novel technique for sub-Nyquist sampling of PAL and NTSC TV signals, which resulted in minimal loss thanks to clever “comb filtering.” Later, he led the development of SMPTE standards for lossless re-coding of MPEG-2 signals. That work led to his appointment as chair of the Pro-MPEG Forum, which helped develop the MXF format, now widely used for file-based delivery of television programs and movies.

Katie Cornog

In recognition of her role in creating a wide range of digital signal processing methods at the Office of the CTO of Avid Technology, Inc.. Her contributions include scene change detection algorithms, motion adaptive deinterlacing, extraction of 3D information from video, polyphase filter design and machine learning techniques for image resizing, slow motion and video retiming based on motion analysis, optimization for video compression rate control, digital watermarking, splicing of compressed bitstreams. Cornog was also instrumental in the development of the DNxHD master quality codec optimized for PC based non-linear production that was standardized as SMPTE ST 2019, also known as VC-3.

Gary J. Sullivan

In recognition of his innovation and industry leadership in image and video compression. Sullivan has been one of the most instrumental figures in video codec standards development, chairing the Joint Video Team for the development of H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC, the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding for the development of High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), and the Joint Video Experts Team currently developing the Versatile Video Coding (VVC) standard. Sullivan was also a key contributor to the standardization of JPEG XR and SMPTE VC-1. The codecs developed under Sullivan’s leadership have contributed to numerous new content creation and distribution ecosystems.  

Tim Borer

For his significant contributions in the areas of image processing, particularly motion-aware video frame-rate conversion and video compression algorithms, including techniques used in phase correlation-based frame interpolation. Borer led the video compression team that developed the Dirac Pro compression system that subsequently became the SMPTE VC-2 standard. Most recently, Borer led the development of the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) HDR television system. He holds 20 patents in the field of digital video processing.

Michael A. Isnardi

For his contributions to the art of digital video delivery systems, including video encoding, re-encoding, and quality evaluation. Isnardi's body of work includes one of the first advanced television systems proposals, encoder, compressed-domain watermarking the first real-time Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), Emmy® Award-winning MPEG Compliance Bitstreams, compressed-domain bit rate reduction, salience-based compression, and JND evaluation of JPEG 2000 for digital cinema applications. His current work includes sub-Nyquist compressed sensing and skin-tone analysis algorithms.

Paul Kellar
For fundamental contributions to the development of digital video systems and continued technical leadership over four decades.  Kellar has been a leader in the development of many innovative tools for the video industry.  He holds numerous patents on many fundamentals and applications of digital technology including still stores, compositing systems, standards converters, and graphics systems.  His inventions of new image processing techniques were instrumental in developing a series of products that redefined capabilities and workflows in television production and post production.

Stan Moote

For development of the first reliable video/audio scrambling system for composite analog video and analog audio in the early 1980s.  This system digitized the analog signal, scrambled it, and reconstructed an analog signal which could be transmitted over satellite or microwave links with complete security.  The system was granted a Canadian and a US patent.

Barry G. Haskell

For his contributions to the digital transmission and coding of images over a 44-year career.  Dr. Haskell has published over seventy technical papers and has over 125 patents.  He is the author or co-author of three books, including one of the foundational books on MPEG.  Dr. Haskell managed the compression research group at Bell Labs, making major contributions to the MPEG standards, and followed that at Apple Computer, where his research team made significant contributions to the H.264/AVC Standard.

R. Norman Hurst

In recognition of his invention of methods for splicing MPEG-2 Transport Streams, the development of test bitstreams for evaluating video and audio compression equipment performance, and the development of electronic test patterns that enable evaluation of video encoding and processing systems through visual observation of the outputs they produce. The impact of these inventions has been felt in broadcasting, cable and satellite distribution, in the consumer electronics industry and in production, post-production, and networking, in each case advancing the state of the art of the industry.

Gary Demos

For his pioneering work in creating computer-generated digital special effects. For over 30 years, he contributed to the development of high-speed film scanners and recorders, created computer-generated images, and created concepts to enable high-quality image compression, and image processing and formats for high definition and beyond.