On Monday, May 7, 2012, the White House honored fourteen individuals as Champions of Change for their efforts to advance access to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for people with disabilities.
"The leaders we've selected as Champions of Change are proving that when the playing field is level, people with disabilities can excel in STEM, develop new products, create scientific inventions, open successful businesses and contribute equally to the economic and educational future of our country," said Kareem Dale, special assistant to President Barack Obama for disability policy.
Each Champion has used his or her expertise to improve education and employment prospects for Americans with disabilities, the Obama administration said.
IBM Master Inventor Dr. Dimitri Kanevsky was recognized Monday as one of these White House Champions of Change for leading education and employment efforts in STEM for Americans with disabilities. A researcher in the speech and language algorithms department at the IBM T.J.Watson Research Center; Dr. Kanevsky believes, "Technology is the great equalizer that can dramatically improve the quality of a person's life through the click of a mouse button. Technology is constantly evolving to remove barriers that emerge due to a person's social characteristics, geographic location, physical or sensory abilities."
In an interview on the IBM Smarter Planet blog, it is clear that Kanevsky, holder of 152 US patents, will continue his legacy of technology innovation, including working to help IBM Watson one day understand speech so that it can participate in conversations with users, such as doctors, in their work settings. Dr. Kanevsky and his IBM Research colleagues are developing new methods to increase speech recognition accuracy when the use of jargon, heavy accents or background noise interfere; making the possibility of fully automated and extremely accurate real-time speech recognition a reality one day.
More information about Dr. Dimitri Kanevsky and the Champions of Change awards: