Today, Andrew Viterbi, Donald Bitzer and John Daugman will be among 17 honorees inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame at the United States Patent and Trademark Office headquarters in Alexandria, Va. The honor and their accomplishments are in part a testimony to the power of funding by the National Science Foundation.
Viterbi, an electrical engineer and cofounder of wireless technology giant Qualcomm, used NSF support to develop an important wireless communication technique and push for its commercialization. Bitzer, his co-inductee, used NSF support to drive the adoption of a novel system of computer-based learning that ultimately led to wide acceptance of plasma displays. Daugman used his NSF support to study basic, theoretical questions involving computer vision that later applied to his invention of iris recognition.
"The technologies created by these highly innovative people are proof positive that NSF is where discoveries begin and that those discoveries often result in useful products and processes that benefit people all over the world," said Pramod Khargonekar, assistant director of NSF's Engineering Directorate, which funded research conducted by Viterbi.
In 1987, Viterbi received the first of two NSF Small Business Innovation Research awards to further develop Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), a technology used in wireless communication throughout the world. CDMA is a digital technique that allows multiple users to communicate with cell phones, satellites and radios on the same physical channel through the sharing of bandwidth or a band of frequencies.
The award, granted two years after Qualcomm started, and at a time when the company had only 35 employees--it now has more than 16,500 employees in 157 locations worldwide--was a major step in Qualcomm's growth and the eventual acceptance of digital CDMA technology as the commercial standard for cellular telephones. CDMA previously had been used suc
|Contact: Bobbie Mixon|
National Science Foundation