Markov, Wiener and Shannon: a Progression

Salvatori Auditorium (SAL-101)
Lecture: 4:00 to 5:15 PM
Reception: 5:15 to 6:00 PM


A.A. Markov proposed and developed a statistical concept which suggests that future action should depend only on the current state of the system or process. Exploitation of the statistical properties of Markov processes has produced important results in optimum linear (Wiener) filtering, with principal applications to navigation, tracking, orbit determination and even economics; and in finite-state sequence determination, with applications to information (Shannon) theory, digital communication, voice and optical character recognition, data recording, search engines, and DNA sequence analysis. Both areas will be discussed and compared, as well as the merits of any societal implications of the Markov concept.

Andrew J. Viterbi received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from USC, and is co-founder, retired vice chairman and chief technical officer of Qualcomm Incorporated. He also co-founded Linkabit Corporation, and served as professor in the Schools of Engineering at UCLA and UCSD. He is currently president of the Viterbi Group, a technical advisory and investment company, and is also Presidential Chair Professor at USC. He and his wife Erna are the naming donors of the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC.

His principal research contribution, the Viterbi Algorithm, is used in most digital cellular phones and digital satellite receivers, and in diverse fields such as magnetic recording, voice recognition and DNA sequence analysis. More recently, he has concentrated on establishing code-division-multiple-access (CDMA) as the multiple access technology of choice for cellular telephony and wireless data communications.

Viterbi has received numerous honors, including honorary doctorates from the Technion and Universities of Waterloo, Rome, and Notre Dame, as well as memberships in the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2008 he received the National Medal of Science, and was a Millennium Technology Laureate. He has also received the Marconi International Fellowship Award, the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell and Claude Shannon Awards, the NEC C&C Award, the Eduard Rhein Foundation Award and the Christopher Columbus Medal. He recently received the 2010 Medal of Honor from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the highest award of that professional society.