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2014 - Thomas J. Richardson and Rüdiger Urbanke

Thomas J. Richardson and Rüdiger Urbanke

Considered the world’s leading experts on iterative decoding, Thomas J. Richardson and Rüdiger Urbanke have helped optimize data transmission rates for wireless and optical communications with techniques that realize near-channel capacity. To approach “Shannon’s limit,” which established the maximum rate for communications over a noisy channel, they expanded on low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes and provided a better understanding of iterative decoding procedures. The result has been reliable data transmission at rates close to channel capacity with low errors. Known for the ability to transfer coding theory to practical applications, their work has been integral to today’s high-speed communications and data storage systems. LDPC codes are components of many communications standards: Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11); Digital Video Broadcasting standards; 10GBase-T Ethernet; and the ITU-T standard for networking over power lines, phone lines, and coaxial cable. Three landmark papers by Drs. Richardson and Urbanke, one coauthored by Amin Shokrollahi, that appeared in the February 2001 issue of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, successfully addressed the obstacles facing the development of capacity-approaching codes. They demonstrated that LDPC codes could very closely approach Shannon’s limit, showed how to design irregular LDPC codes, and provided methods for efficiently encoding LDPC codes. They also introduced the density evolution technique, which is a primary tool in the design of iterative systems that allows engineers to quickly assess the quality of code structure. The error-floor prediction technique developed by Dr. Richardson enabled the use of LDPC codes for data storage devices and has found commercial application in computer hard drives. More recently (2014), in a paper coauthored with Shrinivas Kudekar, Drs. Richardson and Urbanke showed that a special class of LDPC codes can achieve the Shannon limit with iterative decoding.

An IEEE Fellow and member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Richardson is currently vice president of engineering at Qualcomm, Inc., Bridgewater, NJ, USA. An IEEE Senior member and co-recipient (with Dr. Richardson) of the 2011 IEEE Kobayashi Award, Dr. Urbanke is currently a professor with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.

 
 

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2013 - Robert Calderbank

Robert Calderbank

Robert Calderbank’s pioneering coding algorithms have improved reliability of wireless networks and played a key role in developing voice-band modems that helped the early proliferation of the Internet. Known for combining serious mathematics with practical engineering sense, Dr. Calderbank has developed algorithms that enable wired and wireless communications systems to transfer data near full potential. He co-invented space-time codes, first published in 1997, to improve reliability of multiple-antenna wireless communications systems for better cellular performance. Space-time codes involve transmitting multiple copies of data over multiple antennas for more reliable decoding on the receiver end. The transmit diversity provided by space-time codes was a major breakthrough in wireless communications technology and can be found in many wireless local- and wide-area network standards and products. A major tool to combat signal fading, simple space-time codes are now incorporated in billions of cell phones. Dr. Calderbank’s pioneering work during the 1980s and early 1990s on coded modulation methods for wireline communications greatly influenced the development of modems that allowed households to connect to the Internet. The algorithms developed by Dr. Calderbank have enabled over a billion voice-band modems to communicate at close to theoretical capacity limits.

An IEEE Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Calderbank’s many honors include two IEEE Information Theory Society Prize Paper Awards (1994 and 1999) and the IEEE Third Millennium Medal (2000). Dr. Calderbank is a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.

 
 

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2012 - Michael G. Luby and Amin Shokrollahi

Michael G. Luby and Amin Shokrollahi

Michael G. Luby’s and Amin Shokrollahi’s development of efficient and flexible data coding methods have enabled the success of information distribution applications including video streaming and delivery of data to mobile devices. Known as fountain codes, the rateless codes created by Dr. Luby and Dr. Shokrollahi do not possess a specified data rate limitation. Data can be transmitted in an infinite stream until all receivers have collected enough data to successfully decode the transmission. Compared to codes traditionally designed specifically for one type of channel, fountain codes can work with the characteristics of many different channels. They are suitable for applications where the same information is being sent to a large number of recipients over channels with varying strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Luby founded Digital Fountain, Inc. in 1998 for the development, standardization, and commercialization of rateless coding technology. He developed the first generation of rateless codes, known as Luby Transform codes, in 1998. Dr. Shokrollahi joined Digital Fountain in 2000 to develop the second generation of rateless codes, which became known as Raptor codes. An extension of the Luby Transform codes, Raptor codes were the first known class of fountain codes to incorporate linear time encoding and decoding. They provide high data rates even on very small devices with limited computational power and energy resources, such as mobile phones. Qualcomm, Inc. acquired Digital Fountain in 2009 and developed the RaptorQ advanced fountain codes under Luby’s direction as vice president of technology.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Luby is currently vice president of technology at Qualcomm, Inc., Berkeley, Calif., where he is contributing to research, standardization, production, and deployment of MPEG-DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP).

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Shokrollahi is currently a professor with the departments of Math and Computer Science at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, where has worked since 2003, and the CEO of Kandou Bus, a company he founded in 2011 which uses novel signaling techniques to design high-speed and low-energy serial links.
 

 
 

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2011 - Toby Berger

Photo of 2011 Hamming medal recipient Berger

Toby Berger’s pioneering contributions to rate distortion and source coding have impacted how audio and video files are compressed for efficient transmission and viewing over the Internet. Dr. Berger was the first to extend Shannon’s lossy coding theorem to abstract-alphabet sources with memory in 1968. Dr. Berger’s work was the forerunner of the widely adopted JPEG and MPEG standards for picture and video files. The structures of today’s video coding standards resemble the structures Berger described in 1970. His book, Rate Distortion Theory: A Mathematical Basis for Data Compression (Prentice Hall, 1971) became the best reference on the topic and is still an important source today. Dr. Berger is one of the pioneers of multiuser source coding, which deals with the challenges of handling the transfer of information from one to many. Building on his rate-distortion work, he helped define the framework and future directions for distributed source coding and distributed lossy coding. He defined fundamental concepts including strong typicality and the Markov lemma for distributed source coding and network information theory. Dr. Berger’s introduction of the “CEO problem” for multiterminal source coding during the late 1990s is considered one of the most important contributions in the history of distributed coding. His more recent interests include combining information theory and biological systems for an interdisciplinary area called “neuroinformation theory” that holds promise for energy-efficient computation and communication that is analog instead of digital.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Berger is the Irwin and Joan Jacobs Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

 
 

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2010 - Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, and Ralph Merkle

2010 Hamming Medal recipients

The development of public key cryptography by Whitfield Diffie, Martin E. Hellman and Ralph C. Merkle revolutionized the field of cryptography and has provided the security needed to enable safe commercial applications of the Internet. The trio’s work represented academia’s first contribution to what was once the research domain of government and military intelligence organizations. Whenever someone uses the Internet to make a purchase, submit personal information or needs to connect to a virtual private network, it is the security provided by public key cryptography that protects the sensitive data from prying eyes and enables the use of digital signatures to verify identity. Prior to the development of public key cryptography in 1976, the keys used to encrypt information needed to be exchanged over a secure, or private, communications channel before the encrypted information could be transferred over an insecure channel.

Drs. Diffie, Hellman and Merkle’s concept of public key cryptography allows the exchange to take place over the same insecure channel as the message itself without any secret prearrangement between the transmitter and receiver, creating many more avenues for secure communications. Their invention has enabled the proliferation of e-commerce over the Internet, an otherwise insecure communication channel, and has allowed electronic communications to replace a large portion of paper-based communications. 

An IEEE Member, Dr. Diffie was chief security officer at Sun Microsystems until 2009 and is currently visiting scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford and Vice President for Information Security at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Hellman is Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, Calif. 

An IEEE Member, Dr. Merkle is currently a senior research fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, Palo Alto, Calif.
 
 
 

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2009 - Peter A. Franaszek

photo of Peter Franaszek

Known for developing codes that not only pushed the theoretical limits but were also practical enough to be implemented in current technology, Peter Franaszek set the direction for modern constrained coding in digital recording and communication systems. His pioneering work on fundamental aspects of constrained codes, and algorithms for their construction, served as the basis for key components in the proliferation of hard disk drives, compact discs and DVDs. Specific codes he developed have been used extensively in commercial data storage and transmission products. Dr. Franaszek was the first to develop practical methods for the construction of run-length limited (RLL) codes, which ensure that the boundary lengths between bits of data are neither too short nor too long to be detected, resulting in maximal storage density. His (2,7) RLL code found widespread application in magnetic and optical recording in the 1980s. More recently, Dr. Franaszek, along with Albert Widmer, designed the (8B/10B) D.C. balanced code used, for example, in Gigabit Ethernet and Fiber Channel systems.

Dr. Franaszek’s research interests have more generally included a variety of analytical issues in digital systems. His contributions include those to I/O architectures, switching networks, disk defragmentation algorithms, concurrency control techniques, operating system schedulers and compression algorithms and architectures for systems with memory compression. An IEEE Fellow, he was the recipient of the 1989 IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award and the 2002 ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award. Dr. Franaszek is currently a research staff member emeritus at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center.

 
 

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2008 - Sergio Verdu

photo of Sergio Verdu

Sergio Verdú, professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., pioneered multiuser detection, a technology used to disentangle mutually interfering streams of digital data, such as those in wireless cellular systems, digital subscriber lines, hard-disk storage, or in systems with several antennas at receiver and transmitter. Dr. Verdú’s contributions have led to the enhancement of data rates seen in third generation cellular technology and are instrumental in fourth generation cellular standards. In addition, he has made seminal contributions in the field of information theory, which have led to improvements in the reliability and efficiency of information transmission and data compression.

Dr. Verdú has authored and co-authored more than 100 journal articles in the field of information theory, several of which have earned him prestigious prize paper awards. An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Verdú has previously received numerous honors and recognitions, including election to the National Academy of Engineering, the Frederick E. Terman Award from the American Society of Engineering Education and most recently the 2007 Claude E. Shannon Award, the IEEE Information Theory Society’s highest honor.

Dr. Verdú holds a degree in telecommunications engineering from the Universitat Politécnica de Barcelona, Spain, and both a master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Verdú received a doctorate Honoris Causa degree from Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

 
 

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2007 - Abraham Lempel

photo of Abraham Lempel

Abraham Lempel is considered a pioneer in data compression. In 1977 and 1978, Dr. Lempel and his colleague, Professor Jacob Ziv, invented the first two iterations of the Lempel-Ziv (LZ) Data Compression Algorithm. Since then, the LZ Algorithm and its derivatives have become some of the most widely used data compression schemes, making the use of loss-less data compression pervasive in day-to-day computing and communication. With this compression method, information is transmitted and stored over the Internet and stored more efficiently on computer networks and other types of media storage.

Dr. Lempel’s academic career spans more than 40 years, having taught both electrical engineering and computer science at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, from 1963 to 2004. He has held the title of full professor since 1977 and served as head of the Technion computer science department from 1981 to 1984.

Dr. Lempel joined Hewlett-Packard Labs in 1993, and a year later, established HP Labs Israel, where he currently serves as director, overseeing the development of fundamental and universal image processing tools, as well as application-driven customization.

An IEEE Fellow, HP Senior Fellow and Erna and Andrew Viterbi Professor Emeritus, Dr. Lempel holds eight U.S. patents, and has authored over 90 published works on data compression and information theory. He has received numerous awards and honors from the IEEE and other industry organizations. In 2004, the IEEE Executive Committee and History Committee proclaimed the LZ Algorithm to be an IEEE milestone for enabling the efficient transmission of data via the Internet.

 
 

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2006 - Vladimir I. Levenshtein

photo of Vladimir Levenshtein

A pioneer in the theory of error correcting codes, Dr. Vladimir I. Levenshtein is known as the father of coding theory in Russia. A research professor at the Keldysh Institute for Applied Mathematics at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow, Levenshtein’s contributions are present in consumers’ everyday lives. His “Levenshtein distance,” or “edit distance,” is the root of today’s spell-checking computer applications; and he has also contributed to the basic technology found in third generation wired cellular telephony.

Dr. Levenshtein has provided the best-known universal bounds to optimal sizes of codes and designs in metric spaces, including the Hamming space and the Euclidean sphere. In particular, they led to the discovery of the long-sought kissing numbers for n=8 and n=24. Dr. Levenshtein authored optimal constructions for several error correcting problems, including: codes that correct a quarter or more of the errors present; codes with a given comma free index; perfect codes able to correct single deletions and single peak shifts; and binary codes with a given probability of undetected error. His work on the universal efficient coding of integers has led to algorithms that offer promising applications in data compression.

The Levenshtein Distance and his designs and bounds are widely used in many engineering, statistics and bioinformatics applications. His recent study into the efficient decoding of information based on the observation of several corrupted copies is expected to have applications in areas as diverse as computer science, molecular biology, DNA analysis, speech recognition and even plagiarism detection.

An IEEE Fellow, he is a member of the Moscow Mathematical Society

 
 

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2005 - Neil J. A. Sloane

Dr. Neil J. A. Sloane pioneered new coding theory methods and interdisciplinary connections among statistics, physics, and information transmission and compression. His contributions range from pure mathematics to the design of codes used in submarine fiber optic systems. As Technology Leader at AT&T Research Labs in Florham Park, New Jersey, he has been responsible for technical leadership across multiple scientific areas critical to the communications industry.

Dr. Sloane is regarded as the leading expert on combinatorial coding theory. For more than 20 years, the text he co-authored with Florence J. Mac Williams, "The Theory of Error-Correcting Codes," has been the definitive reference on algebraic coding theory. He is also considered to be the leading expert on sphere packing the theoretical and practical study of attaining high-density sphere distributions, which is a key concern in communications technology.

His book, "Sphere Packing, Lattices and Groups," written with John Conway of Princeton University, is considered the essential monograph on the topic. Much of his work in this field has found practical application, including the first use of forward error correction (FEC) in underwater cable transmission and the development of high-speed wireless modems.

An IEEE Fellow and a member of U.S.National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Sloane is former editor of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory and a recipient of the IEEE Centennial Medal, the IEEE Information Theory Society Prize Paper Award and the Chauvenet Prize of the Mathematical Association of America.

 
 

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2004 - Jack Keil Wolf

Over the past four decades, Dr. Jack Keil Wolf has been a driving force in the evolution of information, coding and communication theories. He remains one of the most productive cross-fertilizers in engineering research, successfully importing techniques used in one field to obtain unexpected results in another. Among his and his students' achievements are contributions to the design and analysis of satellite and cellular communication systems, and hard disk drives.

Early in his career, Dr. Wolf established himself as a major innovator in the fields of information and coding theory through contributions such as 1973's Slepian-Wolf theory for correlated information sources. In 1984, he left his faculty position at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst to join the Center for Magnetic Recording Research at the University of California in San Diego. By applying his knowledge of communication and information theory to the magnetic recording industry, he pioneered the field of coding for the magnetic recording channel. His biggest theoretical contribution was to design code with performance that was boosted by channel memory, rather than hindered by it. Now the Stephen O. Rice Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dr. Wolf has also held a part-time appointment at QUALCOMM, Inc. in San Diego, California, since its formation in 1985.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Wolf served as president of the IEEE Information Theory Society in 1974. He also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and a Guggenheim Fellow.

 
 

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2003 - Claude Berrou and Alain Glavieux

Claude Berrou
In the late 1980s, Professors Claude Berrou and Alain Glavieux, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST) de Bretagne in Brest, France, developed a new family of error-correction codes, called turbo codes, and forever changed the field of digital communications. They then extended the turbo code principle to joint detection and decoding processing. Hailed as a milestone in communication technology, their discovery allowed researchers to overcome what had seemed to be the practical limits on the maximum rate at which coding systems could operate. Turbo codes have since been widely adopted in such applications as mobile telephony and satellite links.

Professor Berrou joined ENST in 1978 as professor and deputy head of the electronics department. He helped organize ENST's curriculum in physics and electronics and led the development of the Laboratory for Integrated Circuits. A member of the IEEE, Professor Berrou has written or co-written eight patents and has contributed to more than 40 publications. In addition to the honors he has received with Professor Glavieux, Professor Berrou has been awarded the Médaille Ampère of the Société des Electriciens et des Electroniciens.

Professor Glavieux has been a professor at ENST, since 1979. There, he was instrumental in developing a digital communication program and laboratory. He also created a research group focused on high performance communications systems and became head of the Signal
and Communications Department. Professor Glavieux has written or cowritten, more than 30 papers and the book Communications Numeriques-Introduction. He holds four patents.

Professors Berrou and Glavieux have received the Stephen O. Rice Award for best paper in the IEEE Transactions on Communications, the IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award and an IEEE Information Theory Society Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation. 

Alain Glavieux
In the late 1980s, Professors Claude Berrou and Alain Glavieux, Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST) de Bretagne in Brest, France, developed a new family of error-correction codes, called turbo codes, and forever changed the field of digital communications. They then extended the turbo code principle to joint detection and decoding processing. Hailed as a milestone in communication technology, their discovery allowed researchers to overcome what had seemed to be the practical limits on the maximum rate at which coding systems could operate. Turbo codes have since been widely adopted in such applications as mobile telephony and satellite links.

Professor Berrou joined ENST in 1978 as professor and deputy head of the electronics department. He helped organize ENST's curriculum in physics and electronics and led the development of the Laboratory for Integrated Circuits. A member of the IEEE, Professor Berrou has written or co-written eight patents and has contributed to more than 40 publications. In addition to the honors he has received with Professor Glavieux, Professor Berrou has been awarded the Médaille Ampère of the Société des Electriciens et des Electroniciens.

Professor Glavieux has been a professor at ENST, since 1979. There, he was instrumental in developing a digital communication program and laboratory. He also created a research group focused on high performance communications systems and became head of the Signal
and Communications Department. Professor Glavieux has written or cowritten, more than 30 papers and the book Communications Numeriques-Introduction. He holds four patents.

Professors Berrou and Glavieux have received the Stephen O. Rice Award for best paper in the IEEE Transactions on Communications, the IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award and an IEEE Information Theory Society Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation.

 
 

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2002 - Peter Elias

Dr. Peter Elias is one of the earliest and most important contributors to the field of information theory. Nearly all of today’s coding techniques in practice stem from his research at Harvard University in the early 1950s and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from the mid-1950s through the early 1990s. One of his major contributions was the introduction of convolutional codes, which are now the workhorse of communications systems. He also established the binary erasive channel, which not only demonstrates the fundamental results of information theory, but also is a good model for the study of magnetic recording systems.

Dr. Elias joined the faculty at MIT in 1953. By 1960, he was the head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a position he held until 1966. He remained active in numerous roles there until his death in December 2001. He also held visiting professorships at the University of California at Berkeley, the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London and at Harvard University in Boston. He served on the U.S. President’s Science Advisory Committee panel on Computers in Higher Education and chaired the IEEE Information Theory Group. He also sat on the editorial boards of the Proceedings of the IEEE and IEEE Spectrum and was a founding editor of the journal Information and Control (now known as Information and Computation).

Dr. Elias was an IEEE Life Fellow, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

 
 

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2001 - A. G. Fraser

Currently the Chief Scientist of AT&T Labs Research, Dr. Alexander G. (Sandy) Fraser pioneered virtual circuit switching, a key data communications technology that opened the door to the many advantages of asynchronous transfer mode communications.

Dr. Fraser joined AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1969, where he pioneered the Datakit Virtual Circuit Switch and the Spider ring network, both of which are cell-based networks that anticipated the development of ATM networking. He spearheaded the UNIX Circuit Design Aids System, and played a key role in developing a technique for computer instruction set optimization using a portable compiler, which led to the design of a reduced instruction set machine. He also helped to develop the Universal Receiver Protocol and INCON, a cell-based network designed for use in the home. 

In 1982, Dr. Fraser became Director of the Computing Science Research Center, and five years later was named Executive Director responsible for the information sciences including mathematics, signal processing, computing, and software production. In 1994, he became Associate Vice President for Information Sciences Research where he focused on research initiatives that included electronic commerce for digital audio, billing, broadband access, and home networks.

Before joining Bell Labs, Dr. Fraser was Assistant Director of Research at Cambridge University, where he wrote a file system for the groundbreaking Atlas 2 computer. He also developed file back-up and privacy mechanisms for that system. Earlier he did important work on the Ferranti Orion computer system.

Born in England, Dr. Fraser came to the United States in 1969. He received his B.Sc. in Aeronautical Engineering from Bristol University, and a Ph.D. in Computing Science from Cambridge University.

An IEEE Fellow and a member of ACM, Dr. Fraser has also been a Fellow and council member of the British Computer Society. He holds 15 patents, has contributed to 30 publications, and has been named an AT&T Fellow. His many awards include the Koji Kobayashi Computers and Communications Award and the Sigcomm Award for outstanding technical achievements in the fields of data and computer communications. He has served on advisory boards for Columbia University, Rutgers University, and the University of Texas.

 
 

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