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Release No: 296-96
May 24, 1996


Director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Larry Lynn yesterday announced the winners of the 1996 DARPA Achievement Awards. These awards, which have been presented since 1985, are designed to reward and encourage excellence among scientists and engineers working with and for DARPA.

Ronald R. Coifman, Yale University, New Haven, Conn., received the DARPA Achievement Award for Sustained Excellence by a Contractor for his technical innovation, ability to transition his work into critical Defense Department applications and his work's impact on the DoD. During Coifman's seven years of work in DARPA's Applied and Computational Mathematics Program, he has shown how modern mathematics can be effectively applied to solve engineering problems. His compression algorithms were the basis of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's automatic fingerprint identification system. Another of Coifman's developments led to breakthroughs in radar detection and classification. Coifman also founded a small company to develop software products using his newly developed mathematical algorithms, allowing his theoretical breakthroughs to transition very quickly into solving real-world Defense problems.

The DARPA Award for Significant Technical Achievement was presented to George M. Whitesides, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., for his pioneering work in molecular self-assembly for micro- and nano-fabrication. This technique, in which molecules are designed so that they spontaneously aggregate into desired structures, holds great promise for low cost, high quality fabrication for microelectronics, optics, microelectromechanical systems, and biosensors. Whitesides originated this important new technique that has been widely adopted and is now being used in other laboratories.

Col. Edward C. Mahen, U.S. Air Force, received the Achievement Award for Outstanding Performance by a DARPA Program Manager for his leadership role on the Bosnia Command and Control Augmentation Initiative. Mahen leads an Integrated Product Team made up of representatives from over 15 organizations to provide

badly needed bandwidth to improve

the flow of information and intelligence between sources in the U.S. and Europe and to those furthest down-range in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. Within two months after project start, Mahen's program achieved an initial operating capability to disseminate Predator Unmanned Air Vehicle information to four modes in Europe. In presenting the award, Lynn said, The technology put into place by Ed Mahen's team is providing the warfighter with unparalleled capabilities. It is a superb test of program management skill to bring so many organizations together and provide an operational capability in so short a timeframe. His efforts are making a difference.

J.A. Woollam Co. received the DARPA Award for Outstanding Performance by a Small Business Contractor for their work implementing in situ real-time crystal growth control using ellipsometry. Ellipsometry, which measures the change in polarization of a light beam from a multi-layered material structure, is used to precisely control the growth of electronic materials. This technique lowers costs, increases yield and improves device and circuit performance. Woollam Co. has developed a specialized instrument and software to monitor molecular beam epitaxial (MBE) growth of crystalline semiconductors in situ, and is also active in developing controls from semiconductors devices created using metal organic vapor phase epitaxy. The many years of interaction with DARPA and other DoD organizations has added substantially to the improvement of various microelectronic and optoelectronic components critical to future military systems.

Edmund Zelnio, technical director of the Combat Information Division, in the Air Force Wright Laboratory's Avionics Directorate, was recognized for his performance as Outstanding DARPA Agent. Zelnio's technical leadership, exceptional technical vision and excellence, and team-building innovation has established his organization as a national center of excellence for automatic target recognition research, development and system application. As agent for DARPA's Moving and Stationary Target Acquisition and Recognition program to develop sensors to detect and classify targets in shallow-hide, Zelnio's efforts have kept the program on schedule and budget. Zelnio's leadership and technical skills have allowed him to succeed where other automatic target recognition projects have failed. His substantial progress has led to the planned transition of ATR into several key Defense weapons systems, such as the Joint Surveillance and Targeting System (Joint STARS), U-2R, and Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared System for Night (LANTIRN).

Awards were presented in Atlanta, Ga., during ARPATech'96, DARPA's eighteenth system and technology symposium.