2020 - Theodore S. Rappaport

Theodore S. Rappaport

The leading-edge research of Theodore (Ted) S. Rappaport helped realize today’s modern wireless communications systems and is paving the way for next-generation cellular networks. Reliable and accurate channel models are essential for wireless system design and deployment, and Rappaport’s channel modeling and measurement work formed the foundation of radio propagation models in cellular systems, wireless local-area networks, and emerging millimeter-wave systems. He provided fundamental knowledge of indoor wireless channels used to create Wi-Fi standards, conducted research that led to the TDMA IS-54/IS-136 and CDMA IS-95 digital cellphone standards, and helped engineer public Wi-Fi hotspots. He also proved the viability of millimeter waves for mobile communications, which prompted the global wireless industry to adopt his vision for 5G cellphone networks.

An IEEE Fellow, Rappaport is the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at New York University, New York, NY, USA.

2019 - Andrea Goldsmith

Andrea Goldsmith

One of the most prolific researchers in communications and information theory, Andrea Goldsmith has profoundly impacted the design principles of modern wireless communications systems. She determined the Shannon capacity of time-varying wireless channels, which she later extended to find the capacity and capacity regions of time-varying multiple-antenna (MIMO) channels, multiuser channels, and cellular systems. In addition, Goldsmith pioneered practical adaptive modulation and MIMO techniques based on her capacity results that achieve close to these fundamental bounds. These results helped shape the adaptive modulation, MIMO, and multiuser MIMO techniques in current cellular and Wi-Fi standards. Her capacity analysis of ad-hoc and cognitive radio networks led to novel strategies for mitigating or exploiting interference between users.  Goldsmith founded two companies to commercialize her ideas, whose products have been adopted by major service providers worldwide.

An IEEE Fellow and member of the NAE and AAAS, Goldsmith is the Stephen Harris Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA.

2018 - Peter W. Shor

Peter W. Shor

Peter W. Shor’s dramatic breakthroughs have fueled the modern quantum information revolution and ignited a global race to build the world’s first practical quantum computer. Shor’s 1994 integer factoring algorithm demonstrated that quantum computers could solve concrete and highly sensitive problems much faster than silicon computers. His algorithm also showed that encryption codes could be broken, which has had great implications for the security of classical communication systems. Shor proved skeptics of quantum communication wrong by pioneering the development of quantum error-correction codes to protect quantum states against decoherence and noise. His quantum accuracy threshold theorem provides confidence in the potential for constructing large-scale quantum computers since it guarantees that quantum computation is possible despite imperfections, provided the noise level is sufficiently low.

An IEEE member, Shor is the Morss Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.

2017 - William C. Lindsey

William C. Lindsey

William C. Lindsey’s synchronization and communications research has spearheaded the digital communications revolution and created novel technologies for space and mobile wireless communications. Lindsey's work on carrier and clock synchronization methodologies for demodulation and decoder timing significantly improved the performance and efficiency for both data communication and spacecraft tracking and reduced the size, weight, power, and complexity of these devices. Lindsey’s digital-data transaction-tracking loop (DTTL) enabled the decoding of the first photos of Mars from NASA’s Mariner spacecraft as well as images from the Voyager missions, and it was critical to Space Shuttle and space station communications efforts. It also led to the concept of “digital phase-locked systems on a chip” used in modern mobile radios and localization systems.

An IEEE Life Fellow and member of the National Academy of Engineering, Lindsey is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

2016 - Shuo-Yen Robert Li, Raymond W. Yeung, and Ning Cai

Shuo-Yen Robert Li, Raymond Wai Ho Yeung, and Ning Cai

The pioneering contributions of Shuo-Yen Robert Li, Raymond W. Yeung, and Ning Cai to network coding have laid the foundation of the field.  Their seminal work on linear network coding has changed the landscape of the information technology by demonstrating an improvement of transmission rates over traditional routing techniques in communication networks. Linear network coding has become one of the fastest-growing areas in communication theory. It is now being actively investigated for applications to mobile/wireless, network infrastructure and protocols, cloud storage, content distribution networks, and video streaming.

An IEEE Fellow, Prof. Li is the Distinguished University Professor with the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China and Professor Emeritus of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. An IEEE Fellow, Prof. Yeung is Choh-Ming Li Professor of Information Engineering with The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China. An IEEE Fellow, Prof. Cai is a Distinguished Professor, The School of Information Science and Technology, ShanghaiTech University, Shanghai, China.

2015 - Sanjoy Mitter

Sanjoy Mitter

With pioneering work that has bridged communications and control, Sanjoy Mitter helped create the important discipline of networked control systems. Critical to real-time communications for systems such as the electric power grid, traffic monitoring, and social networks, his work has addressed how control performance is affected by delay and noise in communication channels in pursuit of achieving network stability. Dr. Mitter, together with his then doctoral student Sekhar Tatikonda, demonstrated how capacity of feedback channels can be computed using methods of stochastic control. His idea of anytime capacity, introduced with his then doctoral student Anant Sahai, addresses the reliability and timeliness needed for the stable functioning of control systems where sensors and controllers are linked via noisy communication channels.

An IEEE Life Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, Dr. Mitter is a professor of electrical engineering and a member of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.

2014 - Alan Eli Willner

Alan Eli Willner

Alan Eli Willner’s expertise in optical communication systems has helped advance the high-capacity pathways that process ever-increasing data streams. His research has addressed several key challenges facing optical communications networks and helped to increase system capacity and reconfigurability. Dr. Willner’s advancements include a tunable chromatic dispersion compensation module to help minimize data distortion caused by an optical fiber; a technique that emulates the harmful effects of polarization mode dispersion; and cost-effective, real-time performance monitoring methods that isolate data-degrading impairments in optical networks. His latest work on orbital angular momentum focuses on multiplexing together many different data-carrying optical beams, each having a different phase-front “twist,” to increase capacity in future optical communication systems.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Willner is the Steven and Kathryn Sample Chair in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

2013 - Siavash Alamouti, Hamid Jafarkhani, and Vahid Tarokh

Vahid Tarokh, Hamid Jafarkhani, and Siavash Alamouti

The collective work of Siavash Alamouti, Hamid Jafarkhani, and Vahid Tarokh (pictured left to right: Tarokh, Jafarkhani, Alamouti) has helped the wireless communications industry with improved quality of service and increased network capacity and has been a key enabler for 4th Generation OFDM/MIMO systems. Space-time block codes have enabled multiple-input multiple-output wireless communications systems help overcome the challenges of signal fading without the need for extra receiver antennas. Wireless data is transmitted in multiple redundant “blocks” from antenna to antenna across the network to improve the likelihood of quality data transfer on the receiver end. The trio’s research has greatly influenced the standardization, commercialization, and advancement of these codes. Mr. Alamouti created the first space-time block code for two transmit antennas in 1997 (the Alamouti code). Dr. Tarokh later generalized the code and together with Dr. Jafarkhani and A.R. Calderbank published two papers in 1999 spurring major research efforts. Dr. Jafarkhani extended the performance of space-time codes by introducing the quasi-orthogonal space-time block code in 2001.

Mr. Alamouti is the group research and development director at Vodafone, London, UK. Dr. Jafarkhani is a Chancellor’s Professor with the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Tarokh is a professor with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA.

2012 - Jack H. Winters and Andreas F. Molisch

Jack H. Winters and Andreas F. Molisch

The individual and joint efforts of Jack H. Winters and Andreas F. Molisch have shaped multiple-antenna technology from the first smart antenna algorithms to recent contributions to 3G and 4G wireless standards. Multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) antenna technology has increased the reliability and spectral efficiency in practically all modern cellular communications systems. Dr. Winters pioneered the use of smart antennas for multipath communications with his breakthrough work in 1984. His optimal combining method is widely used in multiple-antenna receivers. In 1987, Dr. Winters was the first to demonstrate spatial multiplexing using multiple antennas in wireless systems for increased channel capacity. Dr. Molisch is one the world’s leading experts on properties of MIMO channels. His work on double-directional propagation channels in 2001 forms the basis for practically every standardized channel model used for MIMO systems. Much of Dr. Molisch’s work has found its way into popular international standards such as IEEE 802.11n and 3GPP-LTE Advanced. Working together at AT&T Laboratories-Research, in 2001 the duo developed the cooperative multipoint concept for MIMO systems to address adjacent-cell interference problems. This approach allows base stations to share information and act as a larger MIMO system that is able to suppress adjacent-cell interference, resulting in dramatically increased capacity. It has become an important research area in wireless communications and is impacting the next generation of cellular phone technology.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Winters is currently managing member of Jack Winters Communications, LLC, Middletown, N.J.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Molisch is currently a full professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

2011 - H. Vincent Poor

Photo of 2011 Eric E. Sumner Award recipient Poor

H. Vincent Poor’s innovative signal processing techniques for handling interference in multiple-access networks have impacted some of the most important communications technologies developed over the past 20 years as well as emerging technologies. His contributions to multiuser detection and related technologies address the reception of communications signals in the presence of interfering signals from other users in a wireless network. This work is particularly useful for today’s wireless communication systems, which typically involve sharing of the radio spectrum among multiple users to make optimal use of radio resources. Notably, he has contributed techniques that are applicable across a broad spectrum of wireless multiple-access systems, including multiple-antenna systems, systems that can adapt to their interference environments, and systems that exploit the redundancy of error-control coding, among others.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Poor is currently the Michael Henry Strater University Professor of Electrical Engineering and Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, NJ.

2010 - Reinaldo A. Valenzuela

Reinaldo Valenzuela

Current and next-generation cellular phones, wide-area wireless networks and WiFi systems have all been impacted by Reinaldo A. Valenzuela’s pioneering contributions. Spurred by the theoretical findings that tremendous increases in wireless capacity could be achieved with MIMO technology, under Valenzuela’s leadership, the group developed the “VBLAST” prototype, which incorporated eight transmission antennas and 12 receiver antennas, and achieved a spectral efficiency of 20 to 40 bits per second per hertz with an average signal to noise ratio of about 24 to 32 decibels. This demonstrated for the first time the practicality and potential of multiple antennas for wireless communications. Tests were conducted in urban, suburban and indoor settings to prove that the technology could successfully enhance wireless communications in challenging environments.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Valenzuela is currently the director of the Wireless Communications Research Department at Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs, Holmdel, N.J.    

2009 - Roberto Padovani

photo of Roberto Padovani

Digital communication systems pioneer Roberto Padovani transformed wireless communications by developing and commercializing ?third generation? (3G) cellular communications networks incorporating code division multiple access (CDMA) technology. Dr. Padovani created the original CDMA technology with digital processing algorithms and techniques for generation, acquisition and tracking of pseudo-random systems and modulation and demodulation of higher-order signal constellations and development of turbo codes, all incorporated on microchips that were continuously seeing reductions in size, power and cost.

The 3G cellular phones, smart-phones and data cards that consumers purchase today implement the ideas and techniques developed by these research efforts. Today 700 million users worldwide use 3G cellular phones. Dr. Padovani then evolved CDMA into a platform that could also support digital broadband data at rates that were much higher than those required for voice, resulting in the 1x and EVDO standards.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Padovani is executive vice president and chief technology officer at Qualcomm, Inc., San Diego, California.

2008 - Thomas L. Koch

photo of Thomas Koch

Thomas L. Koch’s work in the area of photonics has led to improved optical fiber communication links that form the backbone of today’s Internet and telecommunications networks. His broad spectrum of contributions extend from the design and demonstration of new concepts in semiconductor lasers to providing new approaches to modeling optoelectronic devices and their impact on fiber communication system performance. Koch’s role in the development of photonic integrated circuits, which are single microchips containing many microscopic photonic components, enabled the incorporation of highly sophisticated functions at lower cost and higher reliability. An IEEE Fellow, he holds 35 patents and has authored or co-authored over 300 journal and conference publications and co-edited the two-volume book “Optical Fiber Telecommunications III” with Ivan. P. Kaminow.  Dr. Koch has previously received the William Streifer Award for Scientific Achievement from IEEE LEOS and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. 

2007 - Michael G. Luby and Amin Shokrollahi


The collaborative work of Michael G. Luby and Amin Shokrollahi has led to breakthroughs in data transmission over packet-based networks that have resulted in global communications standards for mobile broadcasting, satellite data transmission, and Internet TV. The breakthroughs are based on a combination of the invention and practical implementations of a new class of FEC codes, called fountain codes, and the novel application of these codes to data transport. The fountain codes allow multiple senders to transmit information to multiple receivers with high quality and timely streaming media. There are several variations of these codes that are used today in a number of enterprises, military, and consumer devices and applications, supporting both wired and wireless telecommunications networks. While working together at the International Computer Science Institute, University of California, Berkeley, they also collaborated on the invention of Tornado codes, erasure protecting codes with super-fast encoding and decoding algorithms.

Dr. Luby is co-founder and chief technology officer of Digital Fountain, Inc. He is also the inventor of Luby Transform (LT) codes, the breakthrough technology that forms the basis of Digital Fountain’s products. Dr. Luby received a doctorate in theoretical computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Shokrollahi, is currently a professor of mathematics and computer science at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, and chief scientist of Digital Fountain, Inc... He received his master’s degree in mathematics from Karlsruhe University (Karlsruhe, Germany) and a doctorate in computer science and mathematics from the University of Bonn.

2006 - Robert A. Scholtz and Moe Z. Win


Robert A. Scholtz and Moe Z. Win worked together to pioneer ultra-wide bandwidth (UWB) impulse technology, a form of radio communications that has strongly influenced the direction of wireless communications, both in academia and industry, and enabled economical wireless access without licensing restrictions.

Dr. Scholtz and Dr. Win first collaborated in the early 1990s at the University of Southern California (USC) on landmark studies that provided the theoretical basis for the design of UWB wireless networks. Scholtz, then a professor, published the first analysis of the potential of UWB communications. Win, then a doctoral student working with Scholtz, performed the first UWB signal propagation experiments leading to the efficient design and performance analysis of UWB transmission systems.

They were the first to demonstrate the superiority of UWB in multipath environments, including resistance to jamming and fading, immunity to interference, and reduced power requirements. The two researchers created the UltRa Laboratory at USC, the first university UWB radio research program. It provided the foundation for using UWB technology in the design of reliable wireless networks.

Scholtz?s and Win?s work was a precursor of an extensive study by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which ultimately authorized commercial use of UWB technology for many new applications, including broadband Internet access, high-speed multimedia data transfer, sensor networks, medical imaging, and ground-penetrating radar. They also developed a unique wireless methodology for the U.S. Department of Defense that enables robust communication connectivity in harsh environments.

The Fred H. Cole Professor of Engineering at USC?s Viterbi School of Engineering, Dr. Scholtz coauthored the Spread Spectrum Communications Handbook and authored The Origins of Spread Spectrum Communication. An IEEE Fellow, he has been a member of both the Board of Governors of the IEEE Communications Society (ComSoc) and the IEEE Information Theory Society. He has received the IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award, ComSoc?s IEEE Leonard G. Abraham Award, and the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society?s Sergey A. Schelkunoff Transactions Prize Paper Award, jointly with Dr. Win and Dr. J.M. Cramer. He has a bachelor?s degree from the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, a master?s degree from USC, and a doctoral degree from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering.

An associate professor at the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Dr. Win is an internationally acclaimed authority on UWB wireless networks and has organized and chaired many conferences on UWB communications. An IEEE Fellow and IEEE Distinguished Lecturer, he currently chairs ComSoc?s Radio Communications Committee and has been editor of Wideband Wireless and Diversity and an area editor for Modulation and Signal Design, both for the IEEE Transactions on Communications.

Dr. Win has received the MIT School of Engineering Educational Innovation Award, the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the International Telecommunications Innovation Award from the Korea Electronics Technology Institute. He holds a bachelor?s degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University in College Station, a master?s degree in applied mathematics and a doctoral degree in electrical engineering, both from USC.

2005 - Krishnan Sabnani

As a senior Vice President of Networking Research for Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey, Dr. Krishan K. Sabnani is noted for his contributions to communications protocols. His work helped shape the Internet and cellular networks, reducing network infrastructure costs by as much as 50%. He was the first to develop a systematic approach to conformance testing, allowing communications systems to work together and reducing test time from weeks to a few hours. He also played a critical role in the design of several important protocols, including SNR and AirMail, and is noted for his contributions to RMTP (Reliable Multicast Transport Protocol), which enables reliable data multicasting over the Internet. He has been a leader in defining Lucent's 3G wireless strategy, creating differential global roaming solutions among cellular and wireless networks that enable wireless communication from any location.

An IEEE Fellow, he is a recipient of the W. Wallace McDowell Award of the IEEE Computer Society.

2004 - Gerard J. Foschini

Over the past four decades, Dr. Gerard J. Foschini has profoundly impacted communications theory and engineering, most notably through his work on layered spacetime multi-antenna systems. Such techniques, which allow unprecedented levels of spectral efficiency, are being applied to wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) systems and are being proposed in the next-generation mobile wireless communication systems.

An IEEE Fellow, Dr. Foschini has won the Lucent Inventor's Award and the Research and Development Council of New Jersey's Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award. He is a Bell Labs Fellow and past recipient of the Bell Labs Inventor's Award, Gold Award and Teamwork Award. With 100 published papers, including seminal works on optical communications and resource allocation for both computer networks and wireless systems, he holds seven patents and has six pending. Dr. Foschini holds the position of Distinguished Member of Staff, Distinguished Inventor at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, New Jersey, where he has worked since 1961.

2003 - Hans R. Mueller and Werner Bux

Hans R. Mueller and Werner Bux's research formed the foundation for the revolutionary token ring technology. A key local area networking standard from the 1980s through the 1990s, token ring introduced several benefits, including automatic fault detection and recovery, reduced delays at ring interfaces and stable transmission. The legacy of the technology can be seen in today's high-speed, fault-resistant fiber optic LANs and Ethernet. Mr. Mueller and Dr. Bux's innovative system to automatically detect and recover from faults on the network has since become a part of many other networking systems and of IEEE Standard 802.5.

Hailed as the father of the token ring for his work at IBM Zurich, Mr. Mueller contributed several key ideas for the token ring architecture and was a leader in its design. A Fellow of the IEEE, he holds 25 patents, and has published close to 50 papers. He has received honors including the IBM Outstanding Innovation Award, the IBM Corporate Award and seven IBM Invention Achievement Awards. Mr. Mueller's tenure at the IBM Zurich research lab spanned from 1958 until his retirement in 1990.

Dr. Bux made major contributions to token ring's architecture, demonstrated the superior performance of the token ring and contributed to the development of international communications standards. A Fellow of the IEEE, he has served the IEEE in various roles including as senior editor of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications and on the IEEE 802.2 and 802.5 Standards Working Groups. He is editor-in-chief of the Performance Evaluation journal. His honors include two IBM Outstanding Innovation awards and a corporate award. Dr. Bux is manager of IBM Zurich's Communication Systems department.

2002 - John E. Midwinter and Tsuneo Nakahara

John Midwinter
Over the last few decades, Dr. John E. Midwinter has been a key figure worldwide in the optical communications revolution. He led the development of optical fiber technology at the British Post Office (later BT Labs). His group operated the first installed traffic-carrying graded-index fiber links in the United Kingdom’s network, which was critical in establishing fiber optics as the country’s preferred transmission medium. His subsequent work at the University College, London, in photonic switching and all-optical networks, helped pave the way for today’s dense wavelength division multiplexing networks. He has written or co-authored several books and hundreds of papers.

A Fellow of the IEEE, IEE, Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Physics, Dr. Midwinter serves as IEE President. His honors include the IEE J.J. Thompson and Faraday Medals. He is the Pender professor of the Electrical Engineering Department at UCL.

Tsuneo Nakahara
Dr. Nakahara has achieved outstanding results in communications research and development, especially concerning transmission wires and cables. He has been a major force in the conception, design, and manufacturing of optical fiber and cables. He joined Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. in 1953, and has performed a wide range of research and development in the System & Electronics Division and Communications Divisions of the company. Under his guidance, Sumitomo Electric Industries developed the VAD (Vapor phase Axial Deposition) optical fiber manufacturing technology, which has demonstrated outstanding productivity through continuous production. He holds nearly 300 patents in the United States and Japan combined and has published roughly 100 papers.

A Fellow of the IEEE, his numerous awards include an IEEE Millennium Medal, the Okabe Memorial Award from the Institute of Electronics and Communications Engineers of Japan, and many others.