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The NEC C&C Foundation today announced that the 2021 C&C Prize will be awarded to two groups for their contributions to developing the neocognitron, a prototype for the core technology of today’s artificial intelligence (AI), by applying knowledge of the visual primary cortex in the brain to engineering more than 40 years ago, and to introducing subsumption architecture for robot control and promoting the practical use of autonomous mobile robots. Dr. Kunihiko Fukushima will represent Group A and Prof. Rodney Brooks will represent Group B. Each recipient will be recognized with a certificate of merit and a plaque. Each group will also receive a cash award of ten million yen.

The C&C Prize was established in 1985 and is awarded to distinguished persons in recognition of outstanding contributions to R&D activities and pioneering work related to the integration of computers and communications technologies and the social impact of developments in these fields. This year’s two recipient groups are outlined below.

The prize ceremony and acceptance speeches will be held on Monday, November 29 from 16:00 at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo which will be streamed live to those who apply at the Foundation’s website.

2020 C&C Prize Recipients

Group A

Dr. Kunihiko Fukushima
Senior Research Scientist, Fuzzy Logic Systems Institute

Citation
For Contributions to the Development of Artificial Intelligence with Pioneering Research that Applied Principles of Neuroscience to Engineering through Invention of Neocognitron, a Hierarchical Neural Network Model of the Visual Cortex of the Brain

Achievement
The progress made in AI has been remarkable. AI is already widely used in applications such as image and voice recognition, language understanding, reasoning, autonomous driving, robots, and medical care. Nowadays, AI has become indispensable in making industry and society more automated and efficient as well as in making our lives more convenient and comfortable.

Dr. Fukushima developed the neocognitron, a hierarchical neural network model, by applying knowledge of the primary visual cortex in the brain to engineering more than 40 years ago. As the prototype for convolutional neural networks that are the core technology of today’s AI, the neocognitron greatly contributed to the dramatic development and practical application of AI. Because Dr. Kunihiko Fukushima’s achievements were far-sighted and of great magnitude, we believe he is a worthy recipient of the C&C Prize.

Group B

Prof. Rodney Brooks
Professor of Robotics (Emeritus), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
CTO, Robust.AI

Citation
For Outstanding Leadership in Introducing Subsumption Architecture for Robot Control and Promoting the Practical Use of Autonomous Robots

Achievement
In the 1960s, industrial robots began to appear on the factory floor as a more efficient alternative to manual workers for repetitive assembly line tasks in the production process. But even before this, people have long been dreaming of personal robots capable of doing arduous everyday tasks and robots capable of conducting surveys and removing dangerous objects from disaster sites and other hazardous environments that are inaccessible to humans.

In 1986, Prof. Brooks introduced subsumption architecture, which is associated with behavior-based robotics. He conducted research and development of autonomous robots and he blazed a trail as a robotics entrepreneur, introducing the world to practical autonomous mobile robots and creating a market for service robots. His tireless commitment to making the dream of autonomously functioning robots into a reality makes him a worthy recipient of the C&C Prize.

For additional information, please visit The NEC C&C Foundation website at: https://www.candc.or.jp/en/index.html

About The NEC C&C Foundation

The NEC C&C Foundation is a non-profit organization established in March 1985 to foster further growth in the electronics industry by encouraging and supporting research and development activities and pioneering work related to the integration of computers and communications technologies, that is, C&C, and ultimately to contribute to the world economy and the enrichment of human life. The Foundation is funded by NEC Corporation.

The Foundation currently has two main activities. It presents the annual C&C Prizes to recognize outstanding contributions to R&D activities and pioneering work in the area of C&C. Candidates are recommended from all over the world. Each prize winner receives a certificate, a plaque, and a cash award (ten million yen per group). As of 2020, 117 prominent persons had received the prize. In addition, an Outstanding Paper Award for Young C&C Researchers is awarded annually to outstanding paper(s) presented at an international conference overseas with the support of a grant from the Foundation. Each recipient is given a cash award of 200,000 yen.

The Foundation also gives the following two grants: (1) grant to enable researchers in Japan to attend international conferences overseas to make presentations in the field of C&C and (2) grant to non-Japanese researchers in Japan.

For additional information, please visit The NEC C&C Foundation website at: https://www.candc.or.jp/en/index.html

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of “Orchestrating a brighter world.” NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes taking place in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone has the chance to reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.


Topic: Press release summary