Erna and Andrew Viterbi: “I have observed the School of Engin-eering’s growth over nearly 40 years to become one of the pre-mier institutions in the country.”

Great Communicators

QUALCOMM co-founder endows a $2 million chair in engineering that will be filled by his friend and mentor, Solomon Golomb.

COMMUNICATIONS PIONEER Andrew J. Viterbi and his wife, Erna, have given $2 million to endow a professorial chair in communications at USC’s School of Engineering.
Solomon W. Golomb, an expert in digital and space communications, will be the first holder of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Chair in Communications, according to an announcement by dean of engineering Leonard Silverman.
“We are deeply appreciative that Dr. and Mrs. Viterbi are establishing the school’s very first chair in the critical field of communications – a field central to the university’s strategic plan,” Silverman said.
Viterbi, a resident of La Jolla, Calif., and co-founder and vice chairman of QUALCOMM Inc., expressed his satisfaction with the appointment of Golomb.
“I am pleased that the first holder of the chair will be my mentor and our long-time friend, professor Solomon Golomb, whose achievements and reputation helped launch the rise of the USC School of Engineering,” he said.
“As one of the first electrical engineering Ph.D.s from USC, I have observed with great satisfaction the School of En-gineering’s growth over nearly 40 years to become one of the premier research and teaching institutions in the country, particularly in my field of telecommunications,” he added. “Through this endowed chair, Erna and I wish to help preserve and even improve this outstanding record.”
Golomb and Viterbi have been friendsand colleagues since Viterbi was a member of Golomb’s research section at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1950s. In June 1958, Golomb attended Viterbi’s wedding to the former Erna Finci at the Sephardic Temple, then located on Santa Barbara Avenue (now Martin Luther King Boulevard) not far from USC.
Golomb’s worldwide fame in communications theory rests on the continuing significance of work he began more than 40 years ago – and has been at the forefront of developing ever since. What started as an exercise in pure mathematics has become a front-line communication tool in applications ranging from radar to cellular phones to cryptography.

VITERBI HIMSELF is among the most eminent researchers and developers in the field of shift register sequence applications and the inventor of the Viterbi algorithm used in most wireless digital communications systems. San Diego-based QUALCOMM pioneered the use of a shift register sequence-based technique in its current standard (IS-95) for digital cellular telephony. QUALCOMM chairman and CEO Irwin M. Jacobs has also been Golomb’s friend and research collaborator since the late 1950s.
Viterbi received his Ph.D. from USC in 1962 and, like Golomb, is a recipient of the Shannon Award – named for the late Claude E. Shannon, the creator of modern communications theory – which he won in 1991 for his invention of the Viterbi algorithm. He has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1978, and he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1996.
Viterbi is a 1990 recipient of the Marconi International Fellowship Award, the 1994 Eduard Rhein Basic Research Prize and the 1994 NEC Communication and Computer Foundation Award.
A member of the USC School of Engineering’s Board of Councilors since 1993, he won the school’s Alumni Award in 1986. Viterbi also won the Diamond Jubilee Alumni Award from the USC Graduate School in 1995.


 

 


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