2018 - Thomas Haug and Philippe Dupuis

Thomas Haug and Philippe Dupuis

The groundbreaking contributions of Thomas Haug and Philippe Dupuis in developing the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) set the international policy framework responsible for the success and continued advancement of international mobile communications. Haug’s experience in developing the Nordic Mobile Telephone project, a 1G analog system that was the first example of international roaming among mobile phone users in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, helped pave the way to developing GSM. Serving as chair of the Special Mobile Group of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), Haug was tasked with finding a consensus on 2G digital technology for mobile communications. GSM would be the solution. Dupuis led the Franco-German cooperation program that demonstrated digital technologies were mature enough to build the GSM system. Dupuis strongly supported using slow frequency hopping, which later allowed operators to manage the huge growth of traffic with reduced impairments to the quality of service. This enabled GSM to achieve performance equal or superior to competing digital systems. Under Haug’s leadership, GSM allowed the first digital telephone call in 1992 between the Finnish prime minister and the mayor of Tampere. His initiatives also led to the inclusion of the SIM card and SMS text messaging. Dupuis is credited with moving GSM from concept to reality, and he followed Haug as chair of the Special Mobile Group. Dupuis also promoted a smooth transition concept that ensured the continuation of GSM as a foundation for 3G, 4G, and even today’s emerging 5G standards. Haug’s and Dupuis’ development of GSM as a singular cellular standard to replace a plethora of competing national standards has stood the test of time in providing seamless service improvements for successful worldwide wireless communications.

Haug is the recipient of the 2013 Charles Stark Draper Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and is a former chairman of the Special Mobile Group of the CEPT (now the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) ; Sollentuna, Sweden.

Dupuis was awarded Knight distinction in France’s National Order of the Legion of Honor (1989) and is a former chairman of the Special Mobile Group of the CEPT (now the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) ; Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

2017 - no award given
2016 - Geoffrey Hinton

Geoffrey Hinton

Driven by the desire to understand the mechanisms of cognition in the human brain and how to apply them to machines that learn, Geoffrey Hinton is considered the leading authority on machine learning. Hinton’s development of the backpropagation algorithm was key to the resurgence of the machine learning field during the 1980s. He realized and demonstrated that, in addition to performing nonlinear regression and classification, backpropagation allowed neural networks to develop their own internal representations. The backpropagation algorithm has been used successfully in applications including speech and visual object recognition, fraud detection, plant monitoring, and automated check verification. His early work on the Boltzmann machine during the 1980s introduced many of the concepts that have remained at the forefront of neural network learning. Boltzmann machines were initially considered too slow for widespread application. However, as computing power improved, Hinton was able to develop a specific Boltzmann machine that provides much faster training properties than the earlier general machines. The ability to pre-train each of the layers of neural networks having up to 20 layers of parameters ushered in the era of deep-learning neural networks. Hinton demonstrated that deep networks, which partition the neural network into many layers, can be trained using mostly unsupervised learning, level by level, with each level learning to represent slightly more abstract concepts than the previous level, by composing those concepts represented by the previous levels. Hinton’s work on deep learning has completely revolutionized the field of machine learning, especially impacting machine vision applications including image classification, medical diagnostics, law enforcement, computer gaming, and enhanced vehicle safety.

A Fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.) and recipient of the IEEE Neural Network Pioneer Award (1998), Hinton is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and a Distinguished Researcher at Google Inc. in Mountain View, CA, USA.

2015 - Lynn Conway

Lynn Conway

The groundbreaking contributions of Lynn Conway created a revolution in very large scale integration (VLSI) technology that has profoundly impacted computer chip design as one of the most widely used techniques for building microprocessors and other computer components. Her creation of simplified VLSI prototyping techniques and design methods were key to educating a new generation of VLSI designers who continue to enable innovations in VLSI systems today. Ms. Conway coauthored the seminal textbook "Introduction to VLSI System Design" (Addison-Wesley, 1979) with Carver Mead that started the wave of Mead-Conway courses at universities around the world. Her focused leadership and efforts in developing the concepts, writing many chapters of the book, editing the entire textbook, creating the course syllabus and class notes, and devising the rapid chip implementation of the student designs were all essential to the success of the first MIT VLSI design course in 1978. Her persistence led the subsequent rapid spread of the VLSI course to students at more than 100 universities. She organized and ran the first three multiproject chip (MPC) fabrication runs that demonstrated successful designs of working semiconductor chip systems to a skeptical worldwide technical audience. Combining several circuit designs onto a single chip, MPCs substantially reduced the cost of VLSI fabrication and opened up accessibility, allowing ordinary engineers without specialized silicon fabrication knowledge to create, have fabricated, and then operate interesting systems on chips of their own design. Her MPC technology became the foundation for the Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation Service (MOSIS) System, which has evolved since 1981 as a national infrastructure for fast-turnaround prototyping of VLSI chip designs by universities and researchers.

An IEEE Life Fellow and member of the US National Academy of Engineering, Ms. Conway is Professor Emerita of EECS at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

2014 - David Payne

David Payne

An internationally renowned photonics engineer, David Payne’s innovations have revolutionized high-speed and long-distance optical communications by providing the ability to efficiently transfer vast amounts of data over large distances. With pioneering fiber fabrication research spanning 40 years that has impacted practically all of today’s optical fiber technology, Dr. Payne’s most crucial innovations were the development of the end-pumped fiber laser and the erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) during the 1980s.

Still by far the most successful optical amplifier, the EDFA, pumped by a tiny diode laser, allows the optical signals carrying Internet data to be periodically boosted within the fiber itself. This eliminated the need for expensive, capacity-choking, electronic signal regenerators and allowed today’s optical fiber transmission systems to span oceans without regeneration and with vast bandwidth. Dr. Payne’s work made massive deployment of optical fiber networks cost effective, and the EDFA became a key enabling technology that led to the explosive growth of the Internet.

Dr. Payne also made ground-breaking contributions to spun fibers for control of dispersion currently used in undersea fiber cables, the erbium/ytterbium cladding-pumped fiber amplifier used for cable television distribution, the distributed fiber temperature sensor used in oil wells and offshore wind farms, the “bow-tie” polarization-maintaining fiber used in many aircraft/spacecraft navigation gyroscopes, and the fiber preform analyzer used throughout modern fiber factories. Dr. Payne was also the first to identify the bandwidth advantage of the 1.3-μm wavelength window.

Dr. Payne also conducted research for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) during 2000–2004, which included ideas for using parallel, beam-combined laser circuits for missile defense and demonstrated the first kilowatt fiber laser. This technology is now being explored for the next generation of particle accelerators at CERN. Dr. Payne’s current research focuses on high-power industrial fiber lasers for cutting, welding, and marking as an alternative to conventional lasers.

An IEEE member and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), the Royal Society (UK) and the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Payne is the director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, Hampshire, UK.

2013 - Richard Stephen Muller and Richard White

Richard Stephen Muller and Richard White

The individual and collective contributions of Richard S. Muller and Richard M. White to the development and advancement of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) have resulted in technologies critical to applications ranging from cell phones to air-bag sensors in automobiles. Dr. White’s development in 1965 of a microfabricated surface acoustic wave (SAW) electric filter is considered an early example of a MEMS device and the first to receive worldwide commercial attention. Today’s mobile phones rely on SAWs based on Dr. White’s work in order to function properly. Dr. Muller’s research in 1965 demonstrating mechanical coupling into microelectronic devices, and his further work on fabrication processes during the 1980s, were fundamental to the growth of MEMS. Dr. Muller and his research group introduced polysilicon as a structural mechanical material and pioneered “surface micromachining” for creating MEMS devices. In 1981, Dr. Muller successfully proposed to IEEE the creation of the Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems and served as its Editor-in-Chief from 1997 to 2012. Together, Drs. Muller and White in 1986 founded the Berkeley Sensor & Actuator Center (BSAC) with the support of the NSF at the University of California. Under the pair’s guidance, together with that of a subsequent growing number of BSAC Directors, this industry/university cooperative research center has educated generations of students, developing some of the premier researchers active today in the MEMS field. BSAC researchers have investigated and contributed in a broad area of MEMS advances, including those making possible the accelerometers and gyroscopes found in automobile safety systems.

Dr. Muller is an IEEE Life Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. His many honors include the IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award (joint with R.T. Howe in 1998) and Third-Millennium Medal (2000). He is a Professor Emeritus and Professor in the Graduate School in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Dr. White is an IEEE Life Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. His many honors include the IEEE Cledo Brunetti Award (1996). He is a Professor Emeritus with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.

2012 - Gerhard M. Sessler

Gerhard M. Sessler has helped revolutionize the modern microphone market not once but twice during his career. Dr. Sessler and co-worker James West at Bell Labs invented the first polymer electret condenser microphone in 1962, which provided high performance at a smaller size and lower cost. He discovered that certain polymers could be permanently charged by a number of methods to become stable electrets. When placed between the electrodes of a condenser microphone, the need for external bias was eliminated, resulting in a much simpler, efficient device. The technology was commercialized in 1968 and soon became the world’s dominant microphone, replacing the carbon-button microphone that was used in telephones for 100 years and finding applications wherever microphones are being used. Working with Dietmar Hohm at the Darmstadt University of Technology, Dr. Sessler designed the first microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) condenser microphone based on silicon micromachining in 1983 (the first all-silicon and first one-chip microphone). His lab developed refined micromachining techniques, enabling creation of miniaturized microphones with superior electroacoustics. These microphones were introduced to the market in 2002 and are used mostly in mobile phones but also in laptops, PDA’s, MP-3 players, and hearing aids. At Darmstadt, Dr. Sessler also developed the laser-induced pressure-pulse method for investigating charge and polarization distributions in thin polymer films with micrometer resolution. This has become a leading method for mapping electroactive polymers and polymers used for cable insulation, leading to improved properties of power cables.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Sessler is currently a professor of electroacoustics with Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany.

2011 - Marcian E. Hoff

Photo of 2011 Maxwell medal recipient Hoff

As one of the inventors of the first microprocessor, Marcian E. Hoff revolutionized the computing and electronics industries, and other contributions have helped usher in the digital age of communications. Dr. Hoff is best known for his role in developing the first microprocessor (the Intel 4004) with Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin in 1969. Dr. Hoff also applied the microprocessor concept to programmable digital devices that revolutionized telephony, opened the door to mobile communications, and enabled digital delivery of music and photos as well. From 1975 to 1980, Dr. Hoff led a team at Intel that moved signal processing from the analog domain to the digital domain. Working with Matt Townsend, Stephen Dryer, and John Huggins, the first commercially available monolithic CODEC (the Intel 2910) was released in 1978 for converting voice signals between analog and digital formats. Today, this process is taken for granted, but this work helped launch the digital age of communications. In 1979, Dr. Hoff’s team released the Intel 2920, which was an early digital signal processing chip. Dr. Hoff’s impact began well before inventing the first microprocessor. As a doctoral student at Stanford University in 1960, he developed the least mean squares (LMS) adaptive algorithm with thesis advisor Bernard Widrow. The LMS algorithm became one of the enabling technologies of the Internet, and it is now used in some form in most modems and adaptive signal processors for echo cancellation, channel equalization, and adaptive antennas.

An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Hoff retired from Teklicon, Inc., San Jose, Calif., in 1997, where he served as chief technologist.
2010 - Amar G. Bose

photo of Dr. Bose

Amar G. Bose is an engineer, educator and entrepreneur whose name is synonymous with high-end sound systems that produce lifelike audio.

Although primarily known for his acoustics patents, there is more to Dr. Bose than meets the ear. As a professor, he is considered a legend at MIT, having influenced thousands of electrical engineering students and even attracting to his classes students pursuing other fields. The teaching award named in his honor is one of the most coveted in MIT’s Electrical Engineering Department. His research on nonlinear control theory led to an electromagnetic active control suspension for automobiles. The Bose suspension system uses motors, power amplifiers, and control algorithms to provide superior comfort by gliding smoothly over bumpy roads, and superior control by keeping the car body level during aggressive maneuvers. 

Dr. Bose is an IEEE Life Fellow. He was a professor at MIT from 1956 to 2001, and is currently the Chairman and Technical Director of Bose Corporation.

2009 - Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli

photo of Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli

As both an academic and entrepreneur, Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli propelled electronic design automation (EDA) into an indispensable engineering discipline with his groundbreaking scientific contributions, collaborations with industry and by co-founding the two largest EDA companies in the world. Dr. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli continues to be a driving force in the EDA industry, which has enabled integrated circuit design to progress from a few hundred transistors in the 1970s to today?s integrated circuits containing billions of transistors.

A world-renowned authority on all aspects of integrated circuit and system design such as numerical algorithms, circuit simulation, verification, layout, logic synthesis and distributed system analysis, Dr. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli was instrumental in bringing EDA technology to market and ensuring its commercial success. In 1983, he co-founded SDA Systems?one of two companies that merged to form Cadence Design Systems. In 1986, he went on to help found Synopsys. During the 1990s, Sangiovanni-Vincentelli developed the foundations of ?platform-based design,? a comprehensive design and analysis methodology for electronic systems. In 2001, he received the Kaufman Award for his pioneering contributions to EDA from the Electronic Design Automation Consortium.

Dr. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli presently serves on the Board of Directors of Cadence Design Systems Inc., where he is Chair of the Technology Committee. An advisor to leading companies such as Intel, United Technologies, General Motors and Pirelli, he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an IEEE Fellow. He has served on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley since 1976 and currently holds the Edgar L. and Harold H. Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering. He has published 800 papers and 15 books in the areas of EDA, design methodologies, control, hybrid systems and system-level design.

2008 - Sir Timothy Berners-Lee


Timothy Berners-Lee developed the foundation for the World Wide Web while working at the European Organization for Particle Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. There he wrote
his first program for storing information, which he named ?Enquire.? The program turned out to be the conceptual basis for the future World Wide Web. In 1994, Sir Tim founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), an international organization that creates standards for Web technology. Sir Tim serves as its Director. He became the first holder of the 3Com Founders Chair at MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, which merged with the Artificial Intelligence
Lab to become ?CSAIL,? the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Sir Tim serves as Senior Research Scientist at CSAIL. He is a Chair in the Computer Science
Department at the University of Southampton, UK and co-director of the New Web Science Research Initiative, launched in 2006.

Sir Tim is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society, and a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Engineering. He has been knighted by the Queen of England for his contributions to the development of the Internet, was awarded the Order of Merit, and received the Charles Stark Draper Prize. He was named one of the 100 greatest minds of the 20th century by Time Magazine. He holds his bachelors in physics from Oxford University, England and holds nine honorary doctorates.

2007 - Irwin M. Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi


Irwin Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi have been instrumental in the growth and evolution of the wireless communications industry. As two of the co-founders of QUALCOMM Incorporated, Jacobs and Viterbi pioneered Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, used in a variety of applications including cellular telecommunications, global positioning systems (GPS) and satellite-based transportation logistics systems.

Under the leadership of Jacobs and Viterbi, QUALCOMM grew into a Fortune 500 company, with annual revenues in excess of $7.5 billion. The company has introduced numerous technologies that are key elements, including the Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW) applications platform, dedicated to enabling development and deployment of wireless data applications and service; the MediAFLO technology and network for supporting multiple channels of high quality television to cellular handsets; QChat push-to-talk technology; Eudora e-mail software; digital cinema systems and satellite systems for applications such as wireless fleet management.

Dr. Jacobs served as QUALCOMM?s CEO until 2005 and currently serves as its chairman. An IEEE Fellow and member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), he has received numerous awards and holds 13 CDMA patents. He currently is chairman of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA. Dr. Jacobs holds a bachelor?s in electrical engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. and masters and doctorate in electrical engineering from MIT, Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Viterbi held the positions of chief technology officer until 1996 and vice-chairman at QUALCOMM until his retirement in 2000, when he founded Viterbi Group, LLC. An IEEE Fellow, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received six honorary doctorates and numerous awards in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Viterbi holds both a bachelor?s and masters of science from MIT, Cambridge, MA and a doctorate from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, all in electrical engineering.