Anita Borg Institute Announces 2008 Women of Vision Award Winner


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Prominent Women in Technology to Be Honored for Outstanding Achievements at May 8th, 2008 Awards Dinner in San Jose

PALO ALTO, Calif. — February 27, 2008 —The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) announced today the winners of this year’s Women of Vision Awards. Three leaders in technology – Justine Cassell, Northwestern University; Helen Greiner, iRobot; and Susan Landau, Sun Microsystems Inc. – will be honored for their accomplishments and contributions as women in technology at ABI’s third annual Women of Vision Awards reception and dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose on May 8th, 2008. The event will feature keynote speaker Diane Greene, CEO of VMware and Sydnie Kohara, CBS 5 News Anchor as Master of Ceremonies.

The Women of Vision (WOV) Awards honor women making significant contributions to technology in three categories: Innovation, Leadership, and Social Impact. The three Women of Vision Awards winners were selected from a field of over 50 nominees, all of whom are engaged in technology professions in industry, academia, NGO’s or government. Candidates for the award are considered based on their records of (1) consistent, significant contributions to technology invention and application; (2) effecting positive changes in the ways in which technology impacts society; and (3) demonstrated leadership in the technology industry that extends beyond their place of work.

“The winners of this year’s Women of Vision Awards have earned this recognition because they have worked toward achieving a unique vision of using technology to improve our world,” said ABI CEO, Dr. Telle Whitney. “These women are using the power of technology in innovative ways that make them leaders in their respective fields as well as strong role models for women of all generations. They are truly Women of Vision, and we are proud to honor them.”

About the Women of Vision Award Winners

Justine Cassell, Professor, Northwestern University
Justine Cassell is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Leadership category. Cassell is recognized in the field of Computer Science for her development of the Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA), a virtual human capable of interacting with humans using interactive and non-verbal behavior. Cassell has investigated the role that the ECA can play in children’s lives, as a Story Listening System (SLS): peer support for learning language and literacy skills. Cassell has also employed linguistic and psychological analyses to look at the effects of online conversation among a particularly diverse group of young people on their self-esteem, self-efficacy, and sense of community. The goal of Cassell’s research is to develop technologies that evoke from humans the most human and humane of our capabilities, and to study their effects on our evolving world. Cassell’s research addressing real issues in different types of learning and education make her a leader and a woman of vision.

Helen Greiner, Co-founder and Chairman, iRobot
Helen Greiner is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Innovation category. In the early days of iRobot Corp., co-founder and Chairman of the Board Helen Greiner envisioned robots as the basis for an entirely new class of products that would improve life by taking on dangerous and undesirable tasks. Greiner’s vision has been brought to life by products such as the iRobot Roomba® Vacuuming Robot, which has sold more than two million units to consumers throughout the world, and the iRobot PackBot® Tactical Mobile Robot, which is helping to save soldiers’ lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Greiner’s forward-looking instincts and leadership have led the company to become a world leader in the robot industry. Greiner created iRobot’s Government & Industrial Robots division – starting with government research funding leading to the first deployment of robots in combat in Operation Enduring Freedom. Greiner’s nearly 20 years in robot innovation and commercialization includes work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Labs.

Susan Landau, Distinguished Engineer, Sun Microsystems Inc.
Susan Landau is the Women of Vision Award winner in the Social Impact category. Landau’s focus is on the interplay between security and public policy. She has profound impact in at least three areas of computer science: as an extensive commentator and advisor on U.S. wiretapping and encryption policy; as a world renowned expert in computational algebra and number theory (mathematics intimately related to cryptography), and in developing numerous programs to benefit women in computer science. A Sun Microsystems Distinguished Engineer, Landau is a leading scholar in all three areas and publishes widely. Her book, co-authored with Whitfield Diffie, Privacy on the Line: the Politics of Wiretapping and Encryption, attracted immediate international attention and played a significant role in the 2000 loosening of U.S. cryptographic export-control regulations, stimulating the global technology economy and offering protection to consumers in all non-embargoed countries. Her unusual blend of technical expertise, policy insight, industry connections and drive, along with her dedication to the advancement of Women in Computing, make Landau a true Woman of Vision.

About the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI)
The Anita Borg Institute provides resources and programs for industry, academia, and government to help them recruit, retain, and develop women leaders in high tech fields resulting in higher levels of technology innovation. ABI programs serve high-tech women by creating a community and providing tools to develop their careers. ABI is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. ABI Partners include: Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Google, IBM, Intel, Cisco, Juniper Networks, National Science Foundation, Symantec, NetApp, and Capgemini. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Jerri Barrett
[email protected]

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