June 14, 2005
Each year, Agilent Labs recognizes individuals or project teams for outstanding contributions to the company’s overall business. The prize, known as the Barney Oliver Prize for Innovation, is awarded by Labs executives for technological contributions that demonstrate a level of creativity, innovation, technical depth and/or business value that surpasses the already high standards of innovation at Labs, the Palo Alto-based research-and-development arm of Agilent Technologies.
The Barney Oliver Prize honors Bernard M. Oliver, a renowned scientist, innovator, and the first director of Hewlett-Packard Labs, the central research lab from which Agilent Labs descended in 1999. Oliver is remembered as a “technical tour-de-force,” whose scientific depth set very high standards within the organization—standards that continue to this day.
Oliver joined HP in 1952 as director of research before founding HP Labs in 1966, and serving as its director until his retirement in 1981. He died in 1995.
In 2004, Oliver was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. As noted in the inductees booklet: "Bernard Oliver, one of the most prolific and influential inventors of his generation, helped give birth to the era of digital information with his invention of 'pulse code modulation,' or PCM. This allowed information of all kinds to be translated into the digital language of binary code, then transmitted to receivers capable of manipulating the information or restoring it to its original form. Today, PCM is an integral part of much of the digital technology that defines the modern world."
2004: Paul Corredoura, Bob Jewett, Jacky Liu and Vamsi Srikantam
2003: Doug Baney, Bodgan Szafraniec, and Greg VanWiggeren
2002: Ken Poulton and Robert Neff
2001: Rich Ruby, John Larson, and Paul Bradley