My IBM Career Scorecard
Having completed my memoir on my IBM career, I thought it would be interesting to summarize my career in numbers. Here is the final scorecard and some memorable moments.
- January 2016
Years Employed: 28.5 (1974-2002)
Promotions: 4 (final title - Advisory Engineer)
U.S. Patents: 3
Major Publications: 4 (IBM Journal of Research and Development, CACM)
Locations: 4 (East Fishkill, Kingston, Yorktown Hts. and Hawthorne)
Traveled: 8 Countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Vatican, Taiwan, Israel and Russia)
Additional Education: 2 (RIT course on color science, MS degree in CS at NYU)
Programming Languages: 7 (APL, JCL, BASIC, Visual Basic, C, JAVA and PDS)
Computers: 7 computer systems (from APL terminal to an IBM Thinkpad)
Research Div. Awards: 3 (3 RDA)
Research Major Award: 1 (OCA)
Corp. Award: 1 (OTA)
Annual Appraisals: 2.2 (average overall out of a scale from 1-best to 5-worst).
Milestone: Quarter Century Club member
Project Success Rate: 80% (16 out of 20 major projects)
Some Memorable Moments...
Throughout my long career, I had experienced many memorable moments. Here are a selected list of them. I tried to pick the most memorable or unusual, one for each of the projects I was involved with.
This is a real test on my recall ability. As I am sitting here, my mind drifted back over each project and I had to come up with the one moment that was unique and most memorable.
- Loop Adapter - I had a rare "aha moment" when working on the design of the CRC checker. I was programming using APL and the equation was a little complex. When I finally got the answer correctly, after numerous trial and error, I was filled with joy and a sense of pride.
- TUSKEN microprocessor - Multi-cut system simulation. After months of work getting all the pieces together and rooting out system bugs, I was overjoyed to come in one morning to see the output of the first successful simulation run.
- ElectroNeg - I was picked to be the quality tester on the special Mylar coating. It turned out my sweaty hands were the most corrosive to this material.
- Brandywine - Meeting Mr. and Mrs. Wyeth and demonstrating our imaging system was a memorable moment.
- Rome Reborn - In promoting the project, we created a running slideshow of some of the sample manuscripts. On a whim, it was decided by upper management that it would make a great addition to the EPCOT center. To make the system more presentable, a customized wooden booth was designed to house the system with a "start" button. It was a mechanical button that basically hit the enter key on the computer keyboard hidden beneath the booth. We had put the slide show on a continuous loop and the "enter key" restarts it from the beginning. That's it.
- Vatican Library - Visiting the Sistine Chapel and gazing at the amazing artwork on the ceiling and being told by the guide that a small corner of the ceiling was left untouched to show the before and after the restoration on the ceiling.
- NGA - The architecture of the NGA designed by I M Pei was most memorable. It was the first time I have been to a building that does not have square corners. It was designed specifically so that the corners are not right angles. Very strange feeling.
- Library of Congress - I remember being in the cafeteria of the Capitol when the OJ trial verdict was announce. It was a strange and disturbing event. Most of the people there were black including many of the employees. When the not guilty verdict was announced on the TV monitor, there was a cheering from the crowd. We were there for an installation and our team consisted of three people, including an African American technician, coincidentally name OJ. He often joked that he was the "good" OJ. He and a minority of us was shocked by the verdict and even more shocked by the reaction. It was then that I realized race relations in our country had a lot to go.
- Smithsonian Institution - The one thing that I remembered most was having the best freshly baked bread there. The large cafeteria was a beautifully designed gothic style building and the bread was the best I've ever tasted.
- Hebrew Union College - We created a CD that was a reproduction of an old Haggadah manuscript. It was unique in that it is navigated like a real book. The pages describe the various parts of a traditional Jewish Seder.
- Yale Beinecke Library - The most memorable part was seeing the rare Gutenberg Bible on display in a glass case. It is a work of art.
- National Palace Museum - This was especially memorable because I was returning home to my birth place on Taiwan and I was able to bring my wife with me on this trip. It was good to see some of the great art preserved from China's past history and that our efforts would play a role in that goal.
- Lutherhalle - Visiting the home of Martin Luther was a real treat. It is amazing that the father of the Protestant Reformation home was preserved to the last detail.
- Hermitage Museum - One of the rare moments was to walk on the roof of the Hermitage in the death of winter. Only a handful of people were allowed access. We were there to film a panorama view of the Hermitage museum.
- Palisades Conference Demo - On this occasion, I was fortunate enough to meet Lou Gerstner, the CEO of IBM. We were there as part of a Conference to demonstrate our imaging projects. He came by and shook our hands. We were nervous and I was surprised to find that he was missing a finger. I found out later that he lost it in an accident with a lawn mower. I remember feeling humbled that a person of that stature would be doing his own yard work.
- Jerusalem - Being at the old city where Christ walked over 2000 years ago and tracing the via Dolorosa was most spiritual.
National Palace Museum (Taiwan)
Roof View from the Hermitage Museum
Old City Jerusalum
Some Related Info
Technology by definition is constantly moving and improving. Some of the products we invented are obsolete in just a few years, replaced by faster and better innovations. The body of our knowledge is never obsolete. It tells the story of where we come from.
The value of a man's career is not measured by numbers. It is measured by what was accomplished and the long term impact on society. I was fortunate enough to have both. Our projects on digital libraries and Content Management will have lasting effects on many major institutions for years to come. Preservation of the arts and artifacts and making them accessible via the web is the long lasting legacy of our work. I am grateful and consider myself very lucky to have played a small role.