Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Dr Andrew Viterbi's innovation has touched the lives of potentially billions of people. His algorithm advanced the design and implementation of modern wireless communication systems by simplifying the complex and convoluted world of signal processing.

The algorithm is an error-correction scheme for digital communications and is now used every day in billions of mobile phone calls, satellite communications, wireless networks and even MP3 players.

He published his algorithm in 1967 but it did not find an application until computing power became powerful enough to deal with the massive calculations needed to apply it.

Taking the advice of his lawyer, who felt there was no general application for the algorithm, he did not patent it.

He co-founded Qualcomm, helping develop the popular CDMA standard, which is a rival to GSM, and is in use in 3G networks around the world today.

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