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Andrew J. Viterbi, Co-Founder of Qualcomm, Named 2010 IEEE Medal of Honor Recipient

Viterbi Algorithm Used for Digital Cell Phones and Satellite Communications

Andrew Viterbi headshot9 December IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional association, announced that IEEE Life Fellow Andrew J. Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm Incorporated and developer of wireless technologies that became the international standard for third-generation cellular phones, has been named the 2010 IEEE Medal of Honor recipient.  The Medal of Honor, IEEE’s highest award, will be presented 26 June 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada as part of IEEE’s annual Honors Ceremony.

Viterbi, who received the National Medal of Science in 2008 (administered by the National Science Foundation and presented by the President of the United States), is being recognized for “seminal contributions to communications technology and theory.”  In the mid-1960s, while a professor at UCLA, he developed the Viterbi Algorithm, a breakthrough in wireless technology that separated information (voice and data) from background noise.  All four international standards for third-generation digital cellular communications as well as most digital satellite communications systems use the Viterbi Algorithm.  In 1985, Viterbi co-founded Qualcomm with Irwin Jacobs and helped develop Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, which applied spread spectrum to cellular phones.

Read the full press release. (PDF, 134 KB).