Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi
Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi Draper Prize
President, Viterbi Group
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  • Draper
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
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Andrew Viterbi has spent his career working on and improving the field of digital communications. In 1966 he created the Viterbi algorithm, which is used by the vast majority of mobile phones throughout the world as well as most digital satellite communication systems. The algorithm helped to usher in the age of cell phones by focusing on only the most likely computing paths and thus making it easier to eliminate static in transmissions.

He is president of the Viterbi Group, which advises and invests in startups in the digital and wireless communication fields. As cofounder of Linkabit in 1968 and Qualcomm in 1985, he led the development of innovative technologies based on code division multiple access (CDMA). In addition to his career in the communication industry, Dr. Viterbi was a professor at the UCLA School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1963 to 1973 and then taught part-time at the University of California, San Diego, where he has been professor emeritus since 2004.

His numerous awards and honors include the IEEE Medal of Honor, National Medal of Science, Marconi International Fellowship Award, Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering, and Alexander Graham Bell Medal, as well as eight honorary doctorates. He is a member of the National Academies of Engineering and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Viterbi studied electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned SB and SM degrees in 1957, and the University of Southern California (USC), where he completed his PhD in 1962. In 2004 the USC School of Engineering was renamed the Viterbi School of Engineering in his and his late wife’s honor.

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  • Draper
  • 2016
  • For development of the Viterbi algorithm, its transformational impact on digital wireless communications, and its significant applications in speech recognition and synthesis and in bioinformatics.