Schwartz Receives Mayor's Award

Photograph: Mischa Schwartz.

Mischa Schwartz, an authority on computer communications and a widely recognized engineering educator at Columbia, received the 1995 Mayor's Award for Excellence in Technology from Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in ceremonies at Gracie Mansion Monday night.

"It is once again a great opportunity to recognize New York City's prominence as a center for science and technology research and development," Mayor Giuliani said in presenting the awards, which underscores the importance of science and technology in addressing New York's health, social and economic problems. "With the Mayor's Awards for Excellence, I am able to applaud three outstanding New Yorkers for their contributions to our city, their respective universities and the world."

Other award winners were James E. Rothman, vice chairman of Memorial Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, and Myriam P. Sarachik, professor of physics at the City University of New York.

Schwartz, the Charles Batchelor Professor of Electrical Engineering at Columbia and author of several authoritative textbooks on computer networks, was recognized "for his steadfast leadership in the area of computer networks and network management for broadband integrated digital networks" and "personal communications devices using wireless networks."

Broadband integrated digital networks, the focus of Schwartz's research, are expected to revolutionize communications when they become commercially available in the next two years. Such networks will allow transmission of high-quality images alongside voice and computer data and will eventually replace the Internet, which transmits only text or very low quality voice or image using special software. Expected applications could include doctors examining medical images and discussing them with colleagues at remote locations, or company officials holding conference calls in which financial data is also transmitted.

The awards are administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, which has 47,000 members in 160 countries, in cooperation with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Born in New York, Schwartz received the B.E.E. from Cooper Union, the M.E.E. from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and the Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard.

He taught at Polytechnic for 22 years before joining the Columbia faculty in 1974 as professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

He served from 1985 to 1988 as the first director of Columbia's Center for Telecommunications Research.

Columbia University Record -- December 1, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 11