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IBM to Receive Nation's Highest Honor for Technology Innovation

Award recognizes 40 years of IBM leadership in data storage technology

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WASHINGTON, D.C . - 13 Nov 2000: President Clinton announced today that IBM will receive the National Medal of Technology -- which recognizes lasting contributions to America's competitiveness and standard of living -- for the company's leadership in developing and commercializing data storage technology.

IBM invented the magnetic hard disk drive in the mid-1950s and is responsible for virtually every major breakthrough in disk storage technology over the past four decades. Over the past 20 years IBM innovations have increased the storage density of disk drives more than 4,000-fold. Today, annual worldwide production of hard disk drives by IBM and others exceeds 170 million units.

IBM also has made important advances in magnetic tape and optical disk storage technologies.

Our legacy of innovation in the area of information storage is the result of two longstanding commitments: To make the investments required to push the technical frontiers, and to move breakthrough technologies rapidly from the laboratory to the marketplace, said IBM Chairman and CEO Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. This honor confirms the central role storage technologies have played in the information processing revolution. Now, with the arrival of e-business -- and an explosion in the volumes of information that will be created, as well as the kinds of devices we'll use to access, process and store it -- these technologies take on far greater importance.

IBM Scientists, Engineers Lead the Industry
IBM scientists and engineers have led the industry in transforming disk drives from the huge, expensive machines of the 1970s and '80s to today's feather-weight devices that can fit into shirt pockets.

IBM's first one-gigabyte disk drive -- the IBM 3380, introduced in 1980 -- was the size of a refrigerator, weighed 550 pounds and cost $40,000. Earlier this year IBM introduced the one-gigabyte IBM Microdrive, a matchbook-size device that costs less than $500 and can hold 1,000 digitized photos, a thousand 200-page novels or nearly 18 hours of digital music.

Such miniature devices provide affordable, high-capacity storage for a wide array of handheld electronic products, including digital cameras, personal digital assistants (PDAs), portable Internet music players and video cameras. Future applications are likely to include wearable computers, electronic books, global positioning system (GPS) receivers and electronic wallets.

IBM Awards and Achievements
IBM has earned wide international recognition for its rich history of discovery and innovation. In addition to Nobel Prizes and National Medals of Science, individuals or teams of IBMers have received five National Medals of Technology. They include: Erich Bloch, Frederick Brooks, Jr., and Bob Evans for developing the IBM/360 computer (1985); Rey Johnson for pioneering development of the computer disk file (1986); Robert Dennard for inventing the one-transistor dynamic memory cell used in modern computers worldwide (1988); John Cocke for his work on RISC architecture (1991); and Praveen Chaudhari, Jerome Cuomo and Richard Gambino for discovering and developing amorphous magnetic materials for rewritable optical data storage (1995).

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