Monday, 18 November 2019 01:13

Qld uni’s Professor David Abramson awarded Pearcey medal for 2019 Featured

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Professor David Abramson, University of Queensland Professor David Abramson, University of Queensland

The Director of Research Computing at the University of Queensland, Professor David Abramson, has been awarded the Pearcey medal for 2019 by the Pearcey Foundation for his contribution to the development and growth of the ICT industry in Australia.

The Pearcey Medal has been awarded annually since 1998, with this year’s medal presented to Prof. Abramson by Nigel Warren, CSIRO’s executive director, growth.

The Pearcey Foundation says Professor Abramson is a pioneer and world leader in the design, implementation and application of parallel and distributed computing systems including supercomputers.

He has been published widely in both academic and industrial venues, and has designed and implemented innovative approaches to support software development for parallel and distributed environments.

The Foundation says his software products have been used widely in both academia and industry, with one system, called Nimrod, a leader in the use of globally distributed computer systems, underpinning a commercial product (called EnFuzion) which has been used by power utility and energy companies in nine countries, by major TV broadcasters in the US and Canada, and by 3D animation studios around the world including China.

And another system for debugging parallel programs has been licensed to Cray, one of the world’s major supercomputer manufacturers.

Prof. Abramson, who has undertaken collaborative research with many industry partners including IBM, Microsoft, HP, Sun Microsystems, Leica Microsystems and Huawei, was also inducted into the Pearcey Hall of Fame - and has been joined this year by Sonja Bernhardt OAM and Bob Beaumont.

Sonja Bernhardt is director and CEO of software development house, ThoughtWare, which provides a governance, risk management and compliance platform for the aged care, community care, disability care and indigenous care sectors - and is also an ABC radio technology commentator and a published author, including co-author of a 2019 book Blockchain Technology for Global Social Change.

The Pearcey Foundation said Bob Beaumont has been a “remarkable ‘top-to-bottom’ contributor to the Australian innovation sector”, and has been instrumental in significant government policy initiatives, setting up grant programs and finding ways to support the development of entrepreneurs, particularly tech entrepreneurs.

“He has spent most of his working life deeply involved in a huge array of entrepreneurial-related activities including grant programs, international delegations, entrepreneur education and introducing start-up companies to partners, financiers and business opportunities both local and overseas,” the Foundation said.

“He has been a significant investor himself, including in some of the biggest Australian ICT success stories. Bob is affectionately known as ‘Uncle Bob’ to hundreds of successful entrepreneurs. By any measure, Bob has been truly inspirational and motivational in helping Australian entrepreneurs, particularly in ICT, take on the world and be successful.”

“Each year three outstanding Australians are elevated to the Pearcey Hall of Fame for their lifelong contribution to the ICT sector, one of whom receives the Medal based on a nationwide voting system by their peers,” said Wayne Fitzsimmons, national chair, Pearcey Foundation.

“These are the ‘best of the best’ in our industry and our Hall of Fame is a permanent recognition of the contribution they have made to the ICT sector over many years.”

The Pearcey National Entrepreneur Award was also presented on Friday, with the CSIRO’s Nigel Warren presenting this year’s award to Craig McDonald of MailGuard, chosen from the 2019 State Pearcey Award winners.

The national award gives prominence to one of this year’s State Pearcey winners for inspiring leadership, scale, impact, innovation and acclaim on the world stage.

Rick Harvey, Chief Judge, Pearcey Foundation, said: “Craig McDonald is an outstanding entrepreneur who epitomises what it takes to successfully take all-Australian technology to the world”.

“Since founding Mailguard in 2001, Craig has painstakingly grown his company to be an international leader in email security, with over 500 partners globally, including Microsoft using the technology to protect Office 365.

“In security, it is so incredibly hard to stay ahead of the threats, especially with technology moving so fast and the ever-increasing sophistication of hackers. More broadly, Craig is passionate about increasing security awareness and spends a lot of voluntary time in the industry, speaking, advising and even writing a book on cyber-safety trying to help keep us all safer.”

2019 State Pearcey Award Winners were:

ACT: presented to Penten CEO Matthew Wilson.
NSW: won by co-founder, CEO and CTO of Deputy, Ashik Ahmed.
QLD: awarded to Toowoomba-based founder of DataFarming Tim Neale
VIC: awarded to Craig McDonald, CEO and founder of MailGuard and BlackEvents
WA: presented to Robert Nathan, CEO and founder of Australian Tenders, as part of the WAITTA Incite Awards on 14 June.

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