Distinguished Achievement and Contributions Award


Dr. Akihiko Sugiyama received B. Eng. and M. Eng. degrees from Tokyo Metropolitan University in 1979 and 1981, respectively. He joined Nippon Electric Company, later renamed as NEC Corporation, in 1981. He worked on signal processing technology for transmission terminals, personal computers (PCs), mobile phones, and personal robots at the Central Research Laboratories of NEC Corporation. He has been with Yahoo! JAPAN Research since 2019, working on signal processing. He has also been serving as a Visiting Professor at Tokyo Metropolitan University since 2016. In the 1987 academic year, he was on leave at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, as a Visiting Scientist performing research on adaptive signal processing. In 2008, he was awarded a D. Eng. degree from Tokyo Metropolitan University for his contributions to signal processing research. He has been a part-time lecturer at eight universities in Japan since 2002. In addition, through 167 invited talks in 87 cities of 30 countries and supervision of 75 internship students from all over the world, he has also contributed to education of signal processing technology and its application.
He has made significant contributions to audio coding and its applications. An adaptive block-size transform coding he developed includes three patents appraised by the MPEG-4 Patent Pool as essential. The technology he invented is still in use worldwide in various products such as audio players, mobile phones, PCs, digital TVs, car navigation systems, and web services. The world's first all solid-state audio player, Silicon Audio, which his team developed in 1994, is a precursor of Apple’s iPod released in 2001. From 1989 to 2008, he had participated in the Audio Subgroup of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC29 WG11 (commonly known as MPEG) as a member of the Japanese delegation. The four Japanese Industrial Standards corresponding to the Audio Part of MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4, which he was the lead editor in drafting, and 12 book chapters on audio coding contributed to dissemination of the standard as MPEG Audio commentaries in the Japanese language.

He has also made significant contributions to noise suppression and cancellation. In 2001, he developed a novel noise suppressor with weighted noise estimation, which obtained official 3GPP endorsement. This 3GPP-endorsed noise suppressor was shipped in mobile phone handsets in 2002 first time in the world with an accumulated total shipment of more than 30 million units, as well as in the voice recorder with the largest world market share. A user-control capability on the balance between signal distortion and residual noise in the noise suppressor is employed in MPEG-4 SAOC (Spatial Acoustic Object Coding). For more challenging environments, he developed a noise canceller with a generalized cross-coupled pilot filter structure and showed that it helps improve the speech recognition rate by as much as 65%. The successful half-year realtime demonstration of a childcare robot at the 2005 World Exposition, Aichi, Japan demonstrated that speech recognition is feasible in the exhibit hall for the first time in the world. This success continued to the development of a single-chip dialogue module employed in the world's first palm-top dialogue robot.

He received various awards for his achievements, including IEICE Fellow, two IEICE Achievement Awards, IEICE Best Paper Award, Commendation by the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, The Ichimura Prize in Industry, Kanto Region Invention Award, three Promotion Foundation for Electrical Science and Engineering Awards, IEEE Fellow, Distinguished Lecturer by IEEE Signal Processing Society (SPS), Distinguished Lecturer by IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, and Distinguished Industry Speaker by IEEE SPS.

He has served as the Secretary for Business Activities, IEICE Engineering Sciences Society (ESS), a Member of the IEICE Fellow Recommendation Committee, IEICE ESS, the Chair of the Signal Processing Technical Committee, IEICE ESS, a Member of the IEEE Fellow Committee, a Member of the IEEE J. C. Maxwell Medal Committee, the Secretary and Member at Large to the Conference Board, IEEE SPS, a Member of the Awards Board, IEEE SPS, the Chair of the Audio and Acoustic Signal Processing Technical Committee, IEEE SPS, and the Chair of the Japan Chapter, IEEE SPS.

As stated earlier, Dr. Sugiyama’s contributions to the field of electronic, information, and communication engineering are outstanding, therefore, he deserves the Distinguished Achievement and Contributions Award of the IEICE.