IEEE Medal of Honor Goes to Viterbi

Cofounder of Qualcomm to receive IEEE's highest honor

8 March 2010
honor Andrew J. Viterbi Photo: University of California, San Diego

IEEE Life Fellow Andrew J. Viterbi is the recipient of the 2010 IEEE Medal of Honor for his “seminal contributions to communications technology and theory.”

While a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1967, Viterbi developed a breakthrough in wireless technology that separated voice and data information from background noise. The system based on that algorithm, which now bears his name, is used in all four international standards for 3G digital cellular communications.

In 1985, Viterbi cofounded Qualcomm, a wireless telecommunications R&D company in San Diego, which grew to become the largest fabless chip supplier in the world. There he helped develop code division multiple access technology. CDMA applies spread spectrum to cellphones, resulting in a signal with a broader bandwidth.

Today he is president of the Viterbi Group, an equity investment fund in San Diego that he established in 2000. The fund advises and invests in emerging technology companies in wireless communications; network infrastructure; and image, optical, and signal processing.

Viterbi is to receive the award on 26 June at the annual IEEE Honors Ceremony in Montreal.

The Medal of Honor is sponsored by the IEEE Frank A. Cowan Fund and the IEEE Foundation.

Photo: University of California, San Diego

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