Technology experts have been named among the 737 Australians recognised on the 2024 King’s Birthday Honours list.

Kate Smith-Miles, an applied mathematician known for her work on neural networks, data mining and intelligent systems, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), the second-highest honour behind a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

Smith-Miles is a laureate professor of applied mathematics at the University of Melbourne, and a former president of the Australian Mathematical Society.

She was officially recognised “for distinguished service to tertiary education, to applied mathematical research, and as a role model and advocate for women in STEM”.

The Australian Academy of Science said Smith-Miles' work had involved “developing the mathematical methodology for stress-testing algorithms, providing a much-needed solution to the long-standing problem of algorithmic trust”.

Reacting to the honour, Smith-Miles wrote on LinkedIn: “I’m not sure if I will ever find out who nominated me or wrote reference letters supporting my appointment in today’s King’s Birthday Honours as Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) … but if you’re out there, please accept my thanks and gratitude.”

Thomas Maschmeyer, a professor of chemistry at the University of Sydney, was also appointed an Office of the Order of Australia (AO) for his “distinguished service to science as a researcher, innovator and educator, and business through pioneering commercial technologies”.

Maschmeyer was the founding director of the Australian Institute of Nanoscale Science and Technology, and received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in 2020 for research into technologies addressing climate change and resource limitations.

“He invented a new, efficient way to convert renewable and plastic waste inputs into their constituent chemical materials for reuse, contributing to overcoming the challenge of waste recycling,” the Australian Academy of Science said.

“Professor Maschmeyer has also reimagined zinc-bromide chemistry to develop a completely new solar energy battery technology, making renewable energy safer and cheaper.”

Recipient calls for greater 'digital inclusion'

Peter Rossdeutscher, a board director and advisor in digital innovation and IT strategies, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "for significant service to business, to digital inclusion, and to the innovation and technology commercialisation sectors".

Rossdeutscher has worked with companies and startups involved in everything from space exploration to mining, robotics, and quantum and clean energy technologies.

He has also been an adjunct professor in physics and computing at The University of Western Australia since 2021, and worked towards promoting STEM for girls, increasing the presence of women and First Nations people in tech industries, and supporting rural and First Nations entrepreneurs.

In a statement to Information Age, Rossdeutscher said he was "deeply humbled" by his award, which he said highlighted "the importance of our collective work in building empowerment pathways through digital inclusion and entrepreneurship".

"Addressing the significant need for more technology skills in the jobs of most industries is crucial for our nation's future, underpinning economic growth and social inclusion in the digital age," he said.

"Despite rapid technological advancements, disparities persist in education, digital skills, connectivity, and access to opportunities.

"My focus is on leveraging education, digital tools, and entrepreneurship to uplift underrepresented groups, leading to generational change."

Ted Huber, the founder and chairman of Australian defence software and engineering company Acacia Systems, was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to defence through science and technology development”.

"His most enduring legacy is the establishment of an Australian owned and controlled, world-leading high technology, sovereign defence industry capability,” Acacia Systems said in a statement.

James Mullins, Chief Technology Officer and founding researcher at immersive and virtual firefighting training provider Flaim, was also named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for significant service to science, and to the community through an emergency response organisation”.

Volunteer and Army corporal honoured

Science educator Geoffrey Kaye, a volunteer in the CSIRO’s STEM Professionals in Schools program for more than five years, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for “service to education, particularly STEM”.

Kaye has presented STEM programs in schools on everything from robotics to programming and technology design, and was previously an account executive with specialist educational robotics supplier Compu.Ed.

The military awards section of the King’s Birthday Honours also saw Army Corporal Dylan Neumman awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal (CSM) for “meritorious achievement as the Information, Communication and Technology Administrator within the Weapons Technical Intelligence Platoon, 1st Intelligence Battalion”.

Last year's King's Birthday Honours saw more women received awards than men for the first time, including a range of women honoured for their contributions to ICT and STEM-related industries.

UPDATE 20/06/24:

Also awarded in the 2024 King's Birthday Honours was Ron Weber, an information systems and accounting expert who is currently an emeritus professor at the University of Queensland and Monash University.

Weber — a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society, the publisher of Information Age — was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) "for significant service to tertiary education, to accounting and information system development, and to professional associations".