Having come a long way from repairing stereos and TVs and maintaining and analog computer, David is an expert recognized by peers far beyond IBM.
Shumin Zhai, an IBM Research - Almaden dynamo, was honored for his contributions to human-computer interface research and innovation. Side note: Zhai was a university professor at age 23
Zhai explains, "I grew up during China's culture revolution, so no one had a job in today's sense. In 1977 - at age 16 - I was among the one percent lucky national university entrance examinees, the first such group after the 10 year culture revolution, to enter universities." He goes on, "By the time I finished my master's degree and started teaching, I was still not much older than the university students I taught. So when I walked into my first lecture I was visibly startled by the students who all customarily raised then burst into laughter. But by the end of the semester, they elected me "the best lecturer" among a teaching staff of well over 100."
Now, as an IBMer, Zhai has several accolades under his belt. We have Zhai to thank for helping invent the ScrollPoint mouse
and other input devices of IBM PCs and Thinkpads. He pioneered the touch screen gesture keyboard input method (smartphone, anybody?) with the ShapeWriter
project. He's now advancing that research by discovering and refining models and empirical laws of user action on computer screens which quantitatively predict users' performance in pointing, crossing, steering, and stroke gesturing.
Ungar and Zhai join a list of several accomplished IBMers named ACM Fellow over the last 15+ years.