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Researcher Receives Technical Contributions Award

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Unidata

DeSouza Award

Madison, WI, March 14, 2003—At the 2003 annual conference of the American Meteorological Society, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research awarded the Russell L. DeSouza Award to UW–Madison’s Thomas Whittaker, meteorologist and software designer in the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), for his contributions to the Unidata program. According to the Unidata program office, “Honorees personify Unidata’s ideal of a community that shares data, software, and ideas through computing and networking technologies. DeSouza was an exemplary member of the Unidata Users and Policy committees, where he ensured that small educational institutions would be adequately served.” Unidata is a community of education and research institutions with a “common goal of sharing data, tools to access the data, software tools to use and visualize the data, and resources.” CIMSS and its parent organization, the Space Science and Engineering Center, have collaborated with Unidata by providing expertise, software and data for more than twenty years..

Tom Whittaker (center) receives DeSouza award from Unidata director Mohan Ramamurthy (left) and Professor Richard Clark, Millersville University before his talk at the annual AMS conference, February 11, 2003. Clark chairs the Unidata Users Committee.

Thomas Whittaker, an SSEC employee since the 1970s, said that he is “honored and humbled” to receive the DeSouza award. Whittaker said, “This is the one thing that Unidata does to recognize significant contributions. This is only the third time the award has been given.” Whittaker has worked with the Unidata user community since the program’s beginning in 1983. He has also developed the VISITview teletraining tool used by the National Weather Service to train all forecasters to more efficiently use satellite data. VISITview passed a milestone in 2002 when the 10,000th training certificate was given. The tool is so flexible that anyone can create their own training session or collaboration, right from the desktop. Whittaker has also created AniS, an adaptable Java applet used around the world, including in all weather service radar Web sites.

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