Jean Paul Jacob

During his 42-year career at IBM, Dr. Jean Paul Jacob’s research interests have covered software engineering, artificial intelligence, multimedia, personal digital assistants and decision-support systems. He has given hundreds of interviews and multimedia presentations throughout the world on informatics for the 21st century — a view of how people will use computers and computing and how it will affect their lives and business/society at large.

Dr. Jacob’s international career began in 1960, when he received a degree in electronic engineering from the Technological Institute of Aeronautics in Brazil, his native country. Beginning in 1960, he worked as a trainee in the use of computing in aerospace and industrial control in France and Holland before joining IBM as a research engineer in the IBM Nordic Lab in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1962. Due to his unique expertise in using computers and modeling for simulation, he was reassigned to the San Jose Research Laboratory that same year to participate on a team designing the control system for a space laboratory.

Following a two-year leave from IBM to complete his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in engineering and mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Jacob returned to the IBM San Jose Research lab in 1966 as a research staff member. He took a one-year leave in 1969-70 to the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and from 1975 to ’76, he was also a visiting scholar at the Stanford University Business School.

Always active abroad, Jacob created IBM’s first Scientific Center in the Southern Hemisphere (in Brasilia, Brazil) as well as the Institute for Software Engineering (in Sao Paulo). He also was instrumental in creating the IBM Scientific Centers in Paris and Mexico City and was the Scientific Consultant for IBM Latin America. For many years, his responsibilities also included University Relations, developing partnerships between IBM and universities through graduate fellowships, research partnerships and Shared University Programs (SUR) awards. In December 2003 UC Berkeley got a SUR award to create an infrastructure for their Petabyte Storage Project. Prior to that, UC Berkeley received a 2002 SUR Award of 120 Microdrives in support of the Berkeley Reconfigurable Architectures, Software and Systems project and an instructional lab for a digital design course. In 2001, another SUR Award provided a 32-node Linux cluster and a 32-node SP server to support research at the Berkeley Structural Genomics Center.

Jacob has been talking publicly about the future of informatics since 1960, when he prognosticated at the first Data Processing Congress in Brazil. Quick to adopt innovative methods — from multiple slide projectors early on to today’s complex multimedia techniques — Jacob offered his fantastic, but technically grounded, views on how people will use computers and computing and how it will affect their lives and business/society at large.

In 1995 Dr. Jacob started a sabbatical year as a lecturer on Multimedia at the University of California, Berkeley. He retired from IBM in October 2002, but stayed as a Researcher Emeritus and remains chair of Almaden’s University Relations Committee and as IBM’s Campus Relationship Manager for UC Berkeley. He has also been a Faculty in Residence in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at UC Berkeley since 1971.

Dr. Jacob has received many awards from IBM and other organizations, including the 1992 Distinguished Alumnus Award in Computer Science and Engineering from UC Berkeley and the 2003 Research Leadership Award also from UC Berkeley. Dr. Jacob was elected member of the IBM Academy of Technology, whose membership consists of the top technical leaders from around the world who are working in research, hardware and software development, manufacturing, applications, and services. He has published several technical papers (mostly in mathematical journals) and co-authored a technical book on systems and control theory published by MITI in Japan. He has also been featured in over 200 articles published by the written media in 12 countries, as well as featured on at least 30 TV programs on science and technology.