Andrew J. Viterbi

National Medal of Science

Mathematics And Computer Science

For his development of the maximum-likelihood algorithm for convolutional coding, known as the Viterbi algorithm, and for his contributions to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless technology that transformed the theory and practice of digital communications.

For his development of the maximum-likelihood algorithm for convolutional coding, known as the Viterbi algorithm, and for his contributions to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless technology that transformed the theory and practice of digital communications.

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Birth
March 9, 1935
Age Awarded
72
Country of Birth
Italy
Key Contributions
Viterbi Algorithm
Awarded by
George W. Bush
Education
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Affiliations
University of Southern California
Other Prizes
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering
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Next time you answer a call on your cellphone, thank Andrew J. Viterbi.  After escaping Italy to the U.S. as a refugee shortly before the start of World War II, Viterbi would later dive into a love of communications after experiencing long periods without speaking to his loved ones back home.

One of the first electrical engineering doctorates at the University of Southern California, this digital communications pioneer forever changed how you say “hello” across the world.

Called “a god in the field of communications,” Viterbi’s research broke barriers into the digital age with the “Viterbi Algorithm,” a mathematical formula designed to eliminate signal interference that led to many satellite and terrestrial digital wireless advancements we enjoy freely today.

Viterbi’s algorithm discoveries have crossed continents, influencing technologies from precise missile guidance, to spacecraft operation, 3G cellphones and even Wi-Fi service.

By Melissa Ayala

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