Regarded as the most prolific contributor to the world’s consumer electronics of the late 20th century, Kees Schouhamer Immink fueled the “big bang” of digital electronics with pioneering coding techniques that have provided the foundation for all generations of optical storage media, from the compact disc (CD) to the Blu-ray disc (BD). A multitalented pioneer in technical areas ranging from coding theory and practice to electronics, mechanics, and optics, Immink has inspired generations of theorists and engineers and has made a lasting impact on how we handle data. Immink established the area of constrained codes as an important subfield of information and coding theory, and his myriad practical coding constructions have accelerated the development of digital data storage technology. Immink’s eight-to-fourteen modulation (EFM) technique for digital recordings improved playing time and was more robust to dust, fingerprints, and disc damage such as scratches, leading to the creation of the CD. The introduction of the CD in 1982 marked the beginning of the change from analog to digital sound technology. It quickly revived a sluggish music industry and essentially replaced the traditional music delivery methods of vinyl records and cassette tapes. This optical storage technology also provided low-cost, high-capacity, flexible data storage exceeding what computer hard drives could accommodate at that time.
Building on his EFM technology, Immink developed an advanced channel coding method called EFMPlus, which was integral to the design of the digital versatile disc (DVD). Offering higher storage capacity than the CD, but at the same dimensions, the DVD is able to store any kind of digital data from computer software to video programs. Upon its introduction in 1995, the DVD became the fastest adopted consumer electronics product and generated billions of dollars for the film industry. While the DVD was quickly replacing traditional video cassettes, Immink was already working on further advancements to his original inventions by developing an even higher-density optical disc format. This work evolved into the BD, which can handle high-definition content suitable for feature films and video games.
Immink was also among the first engineers to conduct experiments with optical recordable and erasable media, bringing the mini disc, CD-R, DVD-R, and BD-R formats into the homes of consumers. He also added to realizing broadcast-quality recording products for consumers with his contributions to the digital video camcorder.
With approximately 500 billion CDs, DVDs, and BDs estimated to be in use today, Immink’s inventions have impacted people all over the world. As recognition of Immink’s role in the digital media revolution, his honors include an Emmy award from the U.S. National Academy of Arts and Sciences, induction into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame, and knighthood by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.
An IEEE Life Fellow, foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and recipient of the 1999 IEEE Edison Medal, Immink is president of Turing Machines, Inc., Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
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In a career spanning more than 50 years, G. David Forney, Jr., has influenced virtually every major advance in the field of coding theory, providing practical solutions that have enabled high-speed data communications for systems ranging from wired to wireless and from electrical to optical. Forney introduced concatenated codes in 1965 as error-correcting codes constructed of two or more simpler codes to achieve good performance with reasonable complexity in detecting and fixing errors during data transmission. His concatenated method became widely used for space communications, and the approach is widely practiced today for satellite communications, mobile telephony, and digital video broadcasting. Forney joined Codex Corporation to develop practical implementations of coding theory, where he designed the first coding system to go into space—a convolutional code with sequential decoding for a NASA Pioneer deep-space mission in 1968. Considered the founder of the modern modem, in 1970 Forney brought quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) to the marketplace by designing the first high-speed [9,600 bits per second (bps)] QAM telephone-line modem. This became the foundation of Codex’s commercial success, and it revolutionized the industry, providing the foundation for the international V.29 9,600 bps modem standard.
Forney also introduced the now universally used concept of trellis diagrams to describe the Viterbi algorithm, and he is considered the first to recognize the Viterbi algorithm as an optimum sequence detector rather than just a proof technique. His Forney algorithm (FA) is employed by all practical decoders for Reed-Solomon (RS) codes for computing error values after error locations in a received code word have been determined. The FA continues to be widely used in many physical-layer transmission systems and optical/magnetic storage devices, which employ RS coding for outer-layer error control. Another important contribution by Forney is the minimum-phase whitened matched filter for maximum-likelihood sequence decoding of modulation symbols in the presence of intersymbol interference and noise. When turbo codes were introduced in 1993, Forney demonstrated that they could be described as “codes on graphs.” In 2001, with what are now known as “Forney-style factor graphs,” he showed that one graph can simultaneously describe both a code and its dual, which provides for new, efficient decoding algorithms. Forney continues to contribute to error-correcting coding techniques with recent work focusing on tail-biting trellis realizations using Forney-style factor graphs.
An IEEE Life Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Forney is currently an adjunct professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
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With innovations that have helped mold the history of advancements in science, technology, and education in the United States and around the world, Mildred Dresselhaus has paved the way for the rise of nanotechnology and blazed a path for women in science and engineering. Known as the “queen of carbon science” based on her life-long research into the properties of graphite and carbon-based materials, the era of carbon electronics can be traced back to her tireless research efforts. During the 1960s, Dr. Dresselhaus was a pioneer in researching carbon, one of the most abundant elements, and its thermal and electrical properties when no one else seemed interested in its potential. She used magnetoreflection spectroscopy to determine the graphite band structure, which led to the currently accepted band model for graphite.
Her insights regarding the composition, structure, and properties of graphite have encouraged bold new research into single-atom-thick graphene. Graphene has potential practical applications in high-speed electronics circuits and systems. In the late 1970s she made important contributions to understanding the structure of graphite intercalation compounds. The work of her group on fullerenes and carbon nanotubes began in the early 1990s before these structures were well known. She also demonstrated the symmetry of single-wall nanotubes and how one could calculate their electronic structure. Her work on nanotubes continues today, including the important contribution of the measurement of Raman spectroscopy on isolated single-wall carbon nanotubes. Her recent work on the semiconductive properties of carbon nanotubes opens new possibilities in nanotechnology, and other recent research holds exciting promise for energy-related applications.
Dr. Dresselhaus’ public advocacy for women in engineering and science began in the mid-1970s, when the number of American women seeking undergraduate degrees in engineering began to rise. Recognizing this as an issue of great importance for the profession, Dr. Dresselhaus began actively speaking out in favor of women's access to careers in technology and science. Her unquestioned accomplishments in the laboratory and classroom gave her an unparalleled credibility in this national dialogue. Her 1975 article “Some Personal Views on Engineering Education for Women” (IEEE Transactions on Education) remains an immensely valuable and accurate account of the psychological and social challenges facing women in a male-dominated field. The article also stressed the critical importance of role models for women engineering students, which Dr. Dresselhaus herself has certainly served as through mentoring, formally and informally, countless young women across the United States and around the world.
An IEEE Life Fellow and member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Dresselhaus has received numerous awards including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014. She is currently an Institute Professor of Electrical Engineering and Physics with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.
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B. Jayant Baliga is considered the world’s preeminent power semiconductor scientist. His development of the insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) transformed the way we utilize power and has improved the comfort, convenience, and health of billions of people around the world while reducing environmental impact. Dr. Baliga’s invention of the IGBT in 1979 and subsequent development and commercialization while with General Electric led to the world’s most important semiconductor switch. Dr. Baliga combined the physics of bipolar and metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) technologies to create a device far superior to both, resulting in lighter and more efficient power converters. His leadership and perseverance in convincing General Electric to continue investing in IGBT development and his ability to address and overcome design and technology challenges were critical to the IGBT’s successful commercialization. IGBTs enabled the creation of cost-effective and efficient automobile electronic ignition systems that have reduced gasoline consumption by an estimated 1.1 trillion gallons, resulting in reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 22 trillion pounds. The IGBT also made possible the adjustable speed motor drives for refrigeration and air conditioning and the miniature electronic ballast in energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs. The improved efficiency of these devices due to IGBTs has resulted in a reduction in energy usage of over 50,000 terawatt hours and 56 trillion pounds in carbon dioxide emissions. IGBTs are also an essential component of compact and lightweight portable defibrillators used to control the shock delivered to victims of cardiac arrest and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. All commercially available electric and hybrid vehicles use IGBTs to control the transfer of power from the battery to the electric motors. IGBTs are also important in wind- and solar-power generation stations, converting electricity to power suitable for consumer and industrial use.
Dr. Baliga’s pioneering contributions include the “Baliga Figure of Merit” for evaluating the pros and cons of materials and devices operating in high-frequency circuits. He was able to demonstrate that wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) could provide significant performance improvements over silicon for power electronics. His SiC power device innovations have been commercialized since 2005 by numerous companies for use in solar inverters and motor control applications. Dr. Baliga is also responsible for four successful spin-off companies from his research at North Carolina State University. Inventions that have been commercialized by these companies include the TMBS rectifier used as bypass diodes for solar panels, the super-linear RF silicon power MOSFETs used in cell-phone base station amplifiers, and MOSFETs used to deliver power to microprocessors and graphics chips in laptops and servers.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Baliga received the 2010 National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barrack Obama, the highest honor conferred by the U.S. Government to an engineer. Dr. Baliga is currently a Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
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A pioneering engineer and visionary business leader, Irwin Mark Jacobs has played a central role in advancing modern digital communications with revolutionary innovations critical to the development of today’s wireless communications systems. From his beginnings as a communications theorist, Dr. Jacobs’ success lies in his ability to take ideas that advance digital technology from theory to practice and successful commercialization.
As a co-founder of technology companies that have provided important innovations, Dr. Jacobs has played a key role in the shift from analog to digital communications experienced during the past 40 years. Dr. Jacobs co-founded Qualcomm, Inc. in 1985 and grew it from a small technology firm to a Fortune 500 company. He helped lead revolutionary developments such as the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology that greatly improved cellular communications efficiency compared to analog systems. Dr. Jacobs overcame the initial skepticism and controversy involved with introducing the new technology and guided CDMA to successful implementation and standardization. CDMA would become the foundation of third-generation (3G) wireless systems. Dr. Jacobs was also instrumental in Qualcomm’s development of a satellite communications and tracking system for the trucking industry. Using spread-spectrum technology, advanced signal processing, and innovative antenna designs, the system provided the first two-way communication and positioning system for fleet management. Known commercially as OmniTRACS, the system is still in use around the world today. Prior to Qualcomm, Dr. Jacobs co-founded LINKABIT Corporation in 1968, which provided innovative semiconductor technology and programmable devices that were important to the development of satellite-to-home television services. While at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Jacobs co-authored (with John Wozencraft) Principles of Communication Engineering (Wiley, 1965), which is considered one of the best communications theory textbooks ever written and is still in use today.
An IEEE Life Fellow, former Chairman of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Jacobs’ many honors include the U.S. National Medal of Technology (1994) and the inaugural IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Hall of Fame Award (2009). Dr. Jacobs is Founding Chairman and Chief Executive Emeritus of Qualcomm, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA.
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One of the world’s top leaders in computer engineering, John L. Hennessy’s pioneering work at Stanford University as one of the early proponents of the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) architecture helped revolutionize how computing is performed. At a time when the industry favored the Complex Instruction Set Computer (CISC) architecture, Dr. Hennessy assembled a team of researchers in 1981 at Stanford to focus on the RISC architecture. He thought that computing would be more efficient with a simpler instruction set that could be processed in one clock cycle compared to the many clock cycles required for CISC. He created his MIPS (Microprocessor without Interlocked PipestageS) processor, which was well liked by academics but did not gain interest from industry, which was attached to CISC. To help RISC fulfill its potential and transfer the technology to industry, Hennessy took a sabbatical from Stanford University to found MIPS Computer Systems (now MIPS Technologies) in 1984. By the end of the 1990s, seeing MIPS’ success, most major microprocessor companies introduced RISC-based products of their own. MIPS would become one of the top computer processing architectures in the world and it is used in nearly all of today’s mobile applications as well as in gaming consoles.
A member of Stanford’s faculty since 1977 and having held positions including provost and dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Hennessy was named Stanford University’s 10th president in 2000. As the first engineer to hold the position, Dr. Hennessy has expanded University programs related to the environment, energy, and human health. He has created a “21st Century university” with an interdisciplinary approach to addressing global concerns, changing Stanford in fundamental ways. Dr. Hennessy follows a belief in not only changing technology for the better but ensuring that technical innovations change the world for the better. He has strived to bring important research to realization and make it accessible to those who will benefit from it. In 2005, he was named the first holder of Stanford’s Bing Presidential Professorship.
An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Hennessy is currently president of Stanford University, Calif.
Morris Chang’s visionary leadership shaped the technology policy for an entire nation and revolutionized how the semiconductor industry does business around the world. With pioneering concepts such as the dedicated IC foundry, “fabless” IC design and virtual fabrication services, he revolutionized Taiwan’s semiconductor development and impacted the global semiconductor industry. Dr. Chang was recruited by the Taiwan government to help strengthen its semiconductor industry and became president of Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute in 1985. He founded the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) in 1987 as the world’s first dedicated IC foundry company. By focusing on manufacturing other companies’ ICs, TSMC met the needs of chip manufacturers requiring outside contractors for overflow and specialty work and provided services for companies lacking the resources to do their own fabrication work. While there was skepticism concerning the viability of such a business model, Dr. Chang was persistent and was able to demonstrate its advantages. TSMC became the template for fabrication houses that followed, and through Dr. Chang’s leadership it developed into the largest silicon foundry in the world.
The creation of TSMC sparked the development of fabless IC companies during the 1990s. Dedicated foundries reduce the cost of entry for these companies by manufacturing their chips but without competing with them. Utilizing the strengths of the foundry concept, Chang’s “virtual fab” service model incorporates cutting-edge information technology to provide companies with the same benefits and convenience as if they had their own dedicated IC fabs, while still maintaining confidentiality. However, the virtual fab reduces the burdens of capital investment, research and development and intellectual property efforts normally required.
While at Texas Instruments (TI) during the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Chang managed the world’s largest semiconductor business. Under his leadership, TI’s “TTL” electronic logic circuit was established as the standard logic family, TI’s calculator ICs fueled the growth of the pocket calculator market and TI became a leader in metal-oxide-semiconductor memories. TI also introduced the innovative Speak & Spell handheld educational device under Dr. Chang’s management.
An IEEE Life Member, Dr. Chang is currently the chairman and chief executive officer of the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd., Hsinchu, Taiwan.
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As developer of the Viterbi Algorithm and co-founder of Qualcomm Incorporated, Andrew J. Viterbi’s contributions to communications technology have impacted people’s lives throughout the world.
There is a Viterbi detector in practically every disk drive and high-capacity MP3 player, images transmitted from deep space are made possible by the Viterbi algorithm, and third-generation mobile telephones employ one or more of Dr. Viterbi’s systems. He developed the Viterbi Algorithm in 1967, which was a breakthrough in wireless technology that separated information (voice and data) from background noise. Fundamentally changing how digital communications are processed, the algorithm is used in most digital cellular phones and satellite receivers as well as in such diverse fields as magnetic recording, voice recognition and DNA sequence analysis. Dr. Viterbi co-founded Qualcomm Incorporated, San Diego, Calif., with Irwin Jacobs in 1985. His vision and technical leadership at Qualcomm pioneered the revolutionary Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) system as a more efficient method for digital mobile communications. Utilizing spread-spectrum technology, CDMA allows many users to occupy the same time and frequency allocations. It provides more efficient use of power and bandwidth, enables more calls in the same geographic region and emits a lower level of radiated power in the phone/device.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Viterbi holds memberships in the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received the National Medal of Science in 2008 from U.S. President George W. Bush as well as several IEEE awards and honors from other international organizations. The University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, renamed its school of engineering the Viterbi School of Engineering in 2004. Dr. Viterbi is currently president of the Viterbi Group, San Diego, Calif., which invests in startup companies in the wireless communications and network infrastructure sectors, and he also holds the titles of Presidential Chair Visiting Professor at USC and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Technion, Haifa, Israel.
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Robert H. Dennard has been a pioneering figure in the semiconductor industry. His invention of one-transistor dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and contributions to principles of scaling MOS devices brought about far-reaching and fundamental changes in science and technology, impacting a broad range of industries from aviation to telecommunications.
He was granted a patent for DRAM in 1968, and it first began to appear in products in the 1970s. Now used by all computer component and system manufacturers, DRAM requires less power and costs much less than previous magnetic memory and also is less complex and, therefore, denser than the other semiconductor memory cells previously developed. At the time of its development, the largest memory configuration in a computer was 1 MB, requiring several kilowatts of power, while today 1 to 2 GB of DRAM is common, requiring only a few watts of power.
Dr. Dennard’s development of scaling theory has also been a driving force in microelectronics. Along with some researchers, Dr. Dennard developed a concept of MOS transistor and circuit scaling that provides for systematic reduction of MOS integrated circuit dimensions and predicts the benefits of such reduction in improved circuit performance, lower power and greater density. They showed how to design devices and highly integrated circuits at the micrometer level at a time when device fabrication was at much larger dimensions. In the 1980s, he generalized the original work to show how to design devices down to submicrometer dimensions with further improvements in performance and density. The scaling concept led the way from the 5-µm devices of the early 1970s to today’s 0.045-µm devices used in Gigabit memory chips and powerful microprocessors.
Dr. Dennard’s research career spans over 50 years and includes 52 U.S. patents and many awards and recognitions, including the IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award, the IEEE Edison Medal, the National Medal of Technology and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2009, Dr. Dennard was named recipient of the Charles Stark Draper Prize. An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Dennard is an IBM Fellow at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he continues to investigate the limits of scaling and future evolution of microelectronics.
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In a career spanning more than 40 years, Thomas Kailath has distinguished himself with significant accomplishments as a scholar, academic and entrepreneur. Currently Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, at Stanford University, Dr. Kailath is a respected leader in digital signal processing and system theory. In addition to influencing modern work in semiconductor manufacturing and wireless communications, he has also mentored and personally trained several generations of electrical engineers and applied mathematicians.
Dating back to his early writings in the late 1950s, Dr. Kailath recognized that engineering theory would play a critical role in meeting technological challenges in the disciplines of communication, computation, control and signal processing. Since then, his theoretical work has led to fundamental breakthroughs in communications, information theory, signal detection and estimation, sensor array signal processing, VLSI architectures for signal processing and semiconductor manufacturing. He also contributed to probability and statistics, linear algebra, and matrix and operator theory.
He has written several books, authored or co-authored over 300 journal articles and papers, and shared in the development of 13 patents. Specific contributions by him and his over ninety Ph.D. students and postdoctoral scholars include algorithms for feedback communications, universal estimator-correlator detector structures for random signals in noise and the concept of displacement structure leading to fast algorithms in many fields, such as estimation, control, direction of arrival estimation, adaptive filtering, channel identification and equalization, VLSI systems for signal processing, matrix theory and linear algebra. Much of his early work outpaced what could be implemented at the time. As technology advanced, Dr. Kailath and his students were able to successfully address industrial issues in areas such as optical lithography and multiple antenna wireless communications.
An IEEE Life Fellow, he is a past president of the IEEE Information Theory Society and a recipient of its Shannon Award. Other honors include - IEEE James H. Mulligan Jr, Education and the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medals, Guggenheim and Churchill fellowships, and election to the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Academy of Engineering and the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame. Dr. Kailath received his bachelor’s from the College of Engineering in Pune, India, and a master’s and doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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During his career as a scientist, educator and high-level technology executive, Dr. James D. Meindl, Director and Pettit Chair Professor of the Joseph M. Pettit Microelectronic Research Center at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, has logged a string of exceptional accomplishments.
Early in his career, Dr. Meindl developed micropower integrated circuits for portable military equipment at the U.S. Army Electronics Laboratory in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He then joined Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, where he developed low-power integrated circuits and sensors for a portable electronic reading aid for the blind, miniature wireless radio telemetry systems for biomedical research, and non-invasive ultrasonic imaging and blood-flow measurement systems. Dr. Meindl was the founding director of the Integrated Circuits Laboratory and a founding co-director of the Center for Integrated Systems at Stanford. The latter was a model for university and industry cooperative research in microelectronics.
From 1986 to 1993, Dr. Meindl was senior vice president for academic affairs and provost of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. In this role he was responsible for all teaching and research.
He joined Georgia Tech in 1993 as director of its Microelectronic Research Center. In 1998, he became the founding director of the Interconnect Focus Center, where he led a team of more than 60 faculty members from MIT, Stanford, Rensselaer, SUNY Albany, and Georgia Tech in a partnership with industry and government. His research at Georgia Tech includes exploring different solutions for solving interconnectivity problems that arise from trying to interconnect billions of transistors within a tiny chip.
Over his career, Dr. Meindl has supervised over 80 Ph.D. graduates at Stanford University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Georgia Tech, who have gone on to have a profound impact on the semiconductor industry.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Meindl is the recipient of the Benjamin Garver Lamme Medal of the American Association for Engineering Education, the J.J.Ebbers Award of the IEEE Electron Devices Society, the IEEE Education Medal and the IEEE Solid State Circuits Award.
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