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Video Architect, Microsoft Research Collaborator Wins IEEE Award
August 15, 2011 9:57 AM PT

Collaboration remains one of the hallmarks of Microsoft Research, so it is a source of organizational pride when one of our collaborators has work deemed worthy of special distinction.

That is certainly the case with Gary J. Sullivan, a Microsoft video- and image-technology architect. He has been named one of three co-recipients of the 2012 Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award, presented by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The award goes to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the field of consumer electronics technology. In Sullivan’s case, the award was presented for leadership and technical contributions to the development of the globally deployed video-coding standard H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is the key video format for video distribution on platforms ranging from broadcast television to the World Wide Web. About 80 percent of all Web video uses the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format.

Sullivan, chairman of and technical contributor to the committee whose work led to the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC standard, is a longtime collaborative partner with Microsoft Research, in particular with groups in Redmond and Beijing working on video-coding technologies. Sullivan often serves as a video-technology liaison between the Windows group and Microsoft Research, including the coordination of Microsoft’s contributions to video-coding standards.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Gary for more than 17 years,” says Henrique Malvar, chief scientist at Microsoft Research and a Microsoft distinguished engineer. “Gary has made fundamental technical contributions to signal compression, especially in video-motion compensation and signal quantization. Over more than a decade, he’s been a key leader of industry standards for video formats; besides driving for technical excellence, Gary also led the creation of the joint video team between the ISO and ITU-T standards bodies, ensuring the development of unified standards. After the major accomplishment of completing the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC specification a few years ago, Gary continues to drive significant advances in video coding in upcoming new standards.”

Sullivan shared the award, sponsored by Sony Corp., with two other esteemed technologists, Gisle Bjøntegaard, chief scientist at Tandberg Telecom of Lysaker, Norway, and Thomas Wiegand, joint head of the Image Processing department of the Heinrich Hertz Institute, part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications. Wiegand also is a professor at the Technische Universität Berlin.