Liam Comerford – Curriculum Vitae




Details by request


Carmel, New York   USA





Professional Experience


11/2007 -  Present




10/1979 –


Research Staff Member at IBM TJ Watson Research Center, NY

   Recognized as a Research Division Master Inventor


Six years as Manger of Security Architecture Research group

   including staff of 4 electrical engineers and 2 programmers


Six years as Project Leader on the Personal Speech Assistant

   including staff of one IBM programmer, 2 contract programmers,

   and support staff in IBM Industrial Design Center and in Electronic 

   Design in Vimercate Italy.


Consistently ranked in top half (often in top third) of Research Staff consisting entirely of PhD’s.


Performed numerous technical briefings including National Security Agency and IBM Science Advisory Committee




Hired by IBM Research Division as a Laboratory Technician



Patents and Publications


Forty-three patents issued including features of soft keyboards in common use, accelerometer based hard disk protection universally used in laptop computers and fundamental patents in computer software security. Forty-eight patent disclosures published in the IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin. Thirteen journal articles.


Please see “Patents and Publications” at



Honors / Events Timeline


October 2007


September 2007

Fifteenth Plateau Invention Achievement Award

February 2006

Research Division Award – Hard Disk Protective Reflex

January 2006

Research Division Award – Natural Speech Input for Consumer Devices

October 2003

Fourteenth Plateau Invention Achievement Award

January 2000

Thirteenth Plateau Invention Achievement Award

March 1998

Twelfth Plateau Invention Achievement Award

August 1995

Selected as a Research Division Master Inventor

April 1995

Research Division Award – Contributions to LVI Speech Recognition

May 1992

Eleventh Plateau Invention Achievement Award

May 1991

Tenth Plateau Invention Achievement Award

May 1991

Ninth Plateau Invention Achievement Award

December 1990

Eighth Level Invention Achievement Award

August 1988

Seventh Plateau Invention Achievement Award

December 1987

Sixth Invention Achievement Award

April 1987

National Security Agency briefing on ABYSS

September 1986

Research Division Award – Seeing Eye Mouse

July 1986

Outstanding Innovation Award – ABYSS Security System

November 1985

IBM Science Advisory Committee briefing on ABYSS

October 1985

New Manager School

December 1984

Fifth Invention Achievement Award

August 1983

Fourth Invention Achievement Award

April 1981

Third Invention Achievement Award

November 1979

Promotion to Research Staff Member

October 1979

Second Invention Achievement Award

November 1978

Outstanding Contribution Award -- Optical Fiber Data Link

March 1978

Promotion to Senior Associate Engineer

September 1977

First Invention Achievement Award

May 1975

Research Division Award – Grating Coupled Gallium Arsenide Laser

September 1973

Hired at title of Laboratory Technician Promoted five times in the following four years to level of Associate Engineer



Selected Projects



Telematic conversational service architecture – Demonstrated a scaleable, low resource spoken language dialog manager for use in automobiles.


Personal Speech Assistant (with David Frank and Paul Fernhaut) – responsible for electronic, industrial, system and user interface design of a conversational PDA coprocessing system. This was operational and distributed across IBM sales force and to some senior managers in 1995, anticipating the SIRI interface (Apple) by more than a decade.


Visual Basic tools for Speech Driven Applications – Assigned a failed project to deliver a working set of Visual Basic widgets for speech applications, I led the contracted development team to a successful completion of their contract. This entailed both UI and programming work guiding a team of four programmers.


Visually enhanced soft keyboard – demonstrated a methodology for reducing the cognitive burden associated with touch screen software keyboards by visually modifying the keyboard presentation to move probable next-key choices into foreground of perception.


Storywriter – (with Catalina Danis et al) wrote and invented interaction methods for an Editor for persons (Reporters at the New York Times) with carpal tunnel syndrome that utilized dictation and gestural-pointing methods for text entry and editing.

1990 - 1994

Zero pre-travel very short post-travel electronic stylus switch. Delivered prototype styli with mechanical pen-down detection that eliminate recognition errors arising from bad stroke counts created by pen switch chatter. Pens felt like writing instruments because they didn’t have to be pressed to keep pen-down switch activated, thus distorting handwriting.


Desk Size Interaction – Delivered working proof of concept of graphical desktop projected on physical desktop including stylus and printed paper input and projected and printed output, meeting the objective of making books or printed pages part of the computer UI.


LCD inking buffer (with Larry Levy) -- Designed and built a circuit for displaying electronic ink with essentially zero time lag stylus motion to avoid distorting habitual (recognizable) handwriting.


Automated digitizer test stand – designed, built, programmed robotic test stand for quality control of digitizers used in Bluestone Tablet. Data was also captured for correction of individual digitizer astigmatisms.


Bluestone Tablet – industrial, electronic and firmware design and implementation of a desktop tablet for handwriting data capture as a tool for the handwriting recognition group. Approximately 60 tablets delivered at in time to replace aging/failing commercial tablets.


Predictive Keypad – Demonstrated a low resource stylus input method with the capacity to modify its predictions based on user input history and that used the hand-eye coordination and movements typical of cursive writing. A version that eliminated the stylus features was used in the Simon PDA/cellphone fielded by IBM and Southern Bell. This device is widely considered the first smartphone.


Handwriting template – Demonstrated a low resource, correctable handwriting entry method with the capacity to learn new glyphs. This used <16K of memory and was built to be used as Tablet firmware.


Invented the method of detecting the acceleration signature of impending impacts and using that as trigger for placing rotating media in a safe state for impact. This invention is used in every laptop computer with rotating media.


“Flying” Keyboard – delivered proof of concept model keyboard that integrated pointing functions by detecting lateral forces on key tops so the user’s fingers need not leave the home keys to access any mouse function

1984 - 1990

ABYSS – A Basic Yorktown Security System (with Alec Chandra and S. R. White) – Delivered proof of concept models of software delivery system that could be sold in shrink-wrap box, and allow user to create backup copies without allowing piracy of software. Effectively separated the possession of a software from the “right-to-execetue.”  This allowed technically enforced terms and conditions of use such as leasing or limited number of uses. The system included advances in secure packaging (effectively cryptographically secure packaging) and installation transactions that could be observed but could not be replicated.


Seeing Eye Mouse – Invented and demonstrated Braille output device for blind computer users costing less than one percent the cost of existing solutions.


Wrote the AWS windowing system for the IBM Desktop 370 – demonstrated stroke gestures as a method of window position, size and view control before APA displays became available on PC’s.


Designed and built Read-by disk cache cards for IBM Desktop 370 to address hard disk bottleneck in processor performance.

1979 - 1983

Fiber optic connector technology – Invented two forms of fiber optic connectors, one allowing rapid field assembly of low loss connections with low tolerance parts, the other allowing pluggable board edge arrays of fiber optic connectors using low tolerance parts.


Developed accelerated life testing apparatus based on S-100 computer and digital bias controllers and derived method for projecting diode life from rate of change of bias requirement.

1980 - 1982

Electro-optic device packaging SO package (with John Harper and Michael J. Brady) . Developed apparatus and methodology for bonding semiconductor lasers to etched silicon optical benches with micron accuracy and thermal resistance on the order of 10 per Watt. Developed apparatus and methodology for bonding monolithic arrays of up to 14 semiconductor lasers to silicon optical benches.

1978 - 1979

Electromechanical Fiber Optic Switches for Ring Topology Optical Data Networks – Demonstrated >100,000 cycle life with < 0.3 db insertion loss.

1977 - 1981

ECL based Transmitter, Receiver and Digital Laser Bias control for 500 MBit/Sec Optical Data Link for 801 Minicomputer (first RISC computer) – Demonstrated < 10e-19 Bit Error Rate at 500 MBit/second over 1 km


Developed methodology rapid fabrication of semiconductor lasers from epitaxially grown wafers for QC.

1974 - 1978

Grating coupled double hetero-junction GaAs-AlGaAs laser diodes – Demonstrated holographic crystallographicly aligned grating mask fabrication and preferential etching to create feedback and output diffraction gratings in double-heterojunction laser diode waveguide layers.





New York Polytechnic

Sept. 1975 – Dec. 1979

104 Credits toward BSEE 3.95/4.00 Cum,

Dean’s List, Eta Kappa Nu


RCA Institute 

Sept. 1971 - Aug. 1973

AOS Degree – Top Honors in Math


City College of New York

June 1969 – June 1971

109 Credits toward BS in Math 3.89/4.00


Erasmus Hall HS 

June 1964 

Regents Diploma



Professional Organizations


Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – Life member

Association for Computing Machinery



Interests and Activities


Building electronic, mechanical and software devices. Building proof-of-concept models of personal inventions.


Theory of Consciousness, Decision Theory, Cultural Anthropology


Certified T’ai Chi Ch’uan Instructor (direct student of Cheng Man-Ching, Certified by Benjamin Pang-Jeng Lo) with more than 50 years of practice and 25 years of teaching experience.


The Historic European Martial Arts (HEMA) revival, Chinese Seal Carving, Ham Radio, Bicycling and Motorcycling