Viterbi, Andrew J.

Alternative names
Birth 1935-03-09

Biographical notes:

Biographical/Historical note

Andrew James Viterbi was born on March 9, 1935 in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy, the only child of Dr. Achille and Maria Viterbi. In 1939, the Viterbi family immigrated to the United States due to the anti-Semitic laws passed in fascist Italy. They lived first in New York City, and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, when Andrew was six years old. Andrew attended the public schools in Boston, and graduated from Boston Latin School in 1952. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957, and the Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1962.

Andrew Viterbi currently serves as President of the Viterbi Group, LLC, founded in 2000 in San Diego, California. The Viterbi Group advises and invests in startup companies, predominantly in wireless communications, network infrastructure and imaging.

In July 1985, Dr. Viterbi co-founded QUALCOMM Incorporated, a developer and manufacturer of mobile satellite communications and digital wireless telephony, where he served as Vice Chairman until 2000 and as Chief Technical Officer until 1996. Under his leadership, QUALCOMM received international recognition for innovative technology in the areas of digital wireless communication systems and products based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technologies. Previously in 1968, Dr. Viterbi co-founded LINKABIT Corporation, a digital communications company, where he served as Executive Vice President and later as President in the early 1980s.

From 1963 to 1973, Dr. Viterbi served as a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he did fundamental work in digital communication theory and wrote numerous research papers and two books, for which he has received international recognition. He continued teaching on a part-time basis at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), until 1994, where he is currently Professor Emeritus. Also in 2001 he was invited by Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, to become a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering and in 2004 he was named to the President's Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering Systems at USC.

From 1957 to 1963, Dr. Viterbi was a member of the Communications Research Section of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), an operting division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. While at JPL, he was one of the first communication engineers to recognize the potential of and propose digital transmission techniques for space and satellite telecommunication systems.

Dr. Viterbi has received numerous awards and recognition for his leadership and substantial contributions to communications theory and its industrial applications over the years. He has received honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Canada, Italy and Israel, and has been otherwise honored in Japan, Germany, Italy and the United States. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Marconi Fellow, and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 1997 until 2001, he served as a member of the U.S. President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. He is currently a trustee of the University of Southern California, a Board Member of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, a trustee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California, and a member of the California Council on Science and Technology.

All four international standards for digital cellular telephony utilize the Viterbi algorithm for interference suppression, as do most digital satellite communication systems, both for business applications and for direct satellite broadcast to the home.

Erna Finci Viterbi was born on January 20, 1934, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Her parents were Joseph and Lenka Finci. Andrew and Erna married on June 15, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. They have 3 adult children: one daughter, Audrey M., and two sons, Alan R., and Alex.

From the guide to the Andrew J. and Erna Viterbi Family Archives, 1905-2007, (USC Libraries Special Collections)


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