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NEC C&C Foundation Awards 2017 C&C Prize

- Recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of psychiatry and the advancement of theoretical computer science -

Tokyo, October 11, 2017 - The NEC C&C Foundation today announced that the 2017 C&C Prize will be awarded to two groups for their contributions to the application of computational neuroscience to psychiatry and to laying the foundation of theoretical computer science and to education in that field through influential publications. Dr. Mitsuo Kawato will represent Group A and Prof. Alfred V. Aho, Prof. John E. Hopcroft and Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman will represent Group B. Each recipient will be recognized with a certificate of merit and a plaque. Each group will also receive a cash award of ten million yen.

The C&C Prize was established in 1985 and is awarded to distinguished persons in recognition of outstanding contributions to R&D activities and pioneering work related to the integration of computers and communications technologies and the social impact of developments in these fields. This year's two recipient groups are outlined below.

The prize ceremony and acceptance speeches will be held on Wednesday, November 29 from 16:00 at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo.

Dr. Mitsuo Kawato

Prof. Alfred V. Aho

Prof. John E. Hopcroft

Prof. Jeffrey D. Ullman

2017 C&C Prize Recipients

Group A

Doctor Mitsuo Kawato
Director, ATR Fellow, ATR Brain Information Communication Research Laboratory Group, Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International


For contributions to pioneering research and development based on the advanced integration of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and information engineering, and its innovative application to psychiatry


Remarkable progress has been made in neuroscientific research to elucidate the structure and functions of the brain over the past fifty years. This research remains important today as we seek a deeper understanding of neuronal functions, such as information representation and processing in the brain. Illuminating the brain's functions allows us to better understand advanced cognitive operations. This in turn accelerates research in computational neuroscience leading to the creation of machines and computer programs that operate on the same principles as our brains. We anticipate that many new findings will be made through the integration of psychiatry, neuroscience, and information engineering to help resolve pressing social issues such as maintenance and recovery of the cognitive functions in the elderly, and precise, personalized medicine in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.

Dr. Kawato's groundbreaking achievement of integrating neuroscience and information engineering to elucidate the information processing mechanisms in the brain with artificial intelligence technologies has been instrumental in expanding the application of computational neuroscience to the field of psychiatry through cooperation with universities and institutions in Japan. Dr. Kawato has also been involved in developing innovative diagnostic techniques for using fMRI to classify brain circuits and utilizing fMRI neurofeedback as a therapeutic tool. His achievements have set the course for psychiatry to be transformed into a precise, personalized medicine that enables treatment of patients who, for example, do not respond to drug therapies. In consideration of his pioneering work in tackling some of the most pressing issues facing the world today by applying innovative BMI-based information processing technologies, Dr. Kawato highly deserves as the C&C Prize.

Group B

Professor Alfred V. Aho
Professor, Columbia University
Professor John E. Hopcroft
Professor, Cornell University
Professor Jeffrey D. Ullman
Professor Emeritus, Stanford University


For outstanding contributions to laying the foundation of theoretical computer science and to education in that field through numerous influential publications


In recent years, many of the remarkable changes and advances that have taken place in people's lifestyles and social environments can be attributed to information technology (IT). IT has not only transformed the hardware of our social systems, but also played a huge role in bringing about innovations in software that are crucial to building a comfortable society, which is the ideal embodied in the Computers and Communications (C&C) concept.

Professor Aho, Professor Hopcroft, and Professor Ullman have all conducted pioneering research in core computer science disciplines such as automata, formal languages, language theory, compilers, data structures, algorithms, database theory, and graph theory and have published numerous research papers and books about these subjects on their own and in collaboration. Books co-authored by all three doctors, such as "The Design and Analysis of Computer Algorithms" (1974) and "Data Structures and Algorithms" (1983), not only provided an expert and comprehensive summary of research findings in the field at the time, but were also highly influential from an educational point of view. These three doctors have also been lauded for their contributions to educating and mentoring next-generation researchers over many years, and have received many prestigious awards and honors in recognition of those achievements. In summary, in addition to their outstanding achievements in their specialist academic research fields, Professor Aho, Professor Hopcroft, and Professor Ullman, through their writings, teaching and mentoring, have made major contributions to computer science education, theoretical understanding, and fostering of talent, and have been instrumental in bringing about remarkable developments in computer science-the core of C&C-that we witness today. They are all most worthy recipients of the C&C Prize.

See the attachments for profiles and detailed achievements of the recipients:

For additional information, please visit the NEC C&C Foundation website at:


About the NEC C&C Foundation
The NEC C&C Foundation is a non-profit organization established in March 1985 to foster further growth in the electronics industry by encouraging and supporting research and development activities and pioneering work related to the integration of computers and communications technologies, that is, C&C, and ultimately to contribute to the world economy and the enrichment of human life. The Foundation is funded by NEC Corporation.

The Foundation currently has two main activities. It presents the annual C&C Prizes to recognize outstanding contributions to R&D activities and pioneering work in the area of C&C. Candidates are recommended from all over the world. Each prize winner receives a certificate, a plaque, and a cash award (ten million yen per group). As of 2017, 110 prominent persons had received the prize. In addition, an Outstanding Paper Award for Young C&C Researchers is awarded annually to outstanding paper(s) presented at an international conference overseas with the support of a grant from the Foundation. Each recipient is given a cash award of 200,000 yen.

The Foundation also gives the following two grants: (1) grant to enable researchers in Japan to attend international conferences overseas to make presentations in the field of C&C and (2) grant to non-Japanese researchers in Japan.

For additional information, please visit the NEC C&C Foundation website at:

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