Saturday, 27 July 2013

Dr.Viterbi's attempt to simplify while teaching resulted in the Invention of the famous Viterbi Algorithm

Dr.Andrew Viterbi - Inventor of the famous Vitterbi Algorithm and Co-Founder of Qualcomm needs no introduction to those who are in the Wireless Communication arena.
Dr.Viterbi was very keen and interested in teaching.
So, a year  after receiving  his  doctorate  in  1962,  he  accepted  an
invitation to become an assistant professor at the
University of California, Los Angeles. There, he
started  teaching  information  theory  and digital
communications. When  it  came  to  teaching  the
problem of extracting digital signals out of noise,
the  standard way  of presenting  the  subject was
“complex and hard to teach,” Viterbi said. so he set about
trying  to  simplify  the  concepts  “to  teach  the  advanced
course  in  a better way.” After  three months  of  concen-
trated thought, in March 1966 he figured out a simplified
Thrilled at having devised a powerful new teaching aid,
he wrote a paper (published in 1967 in IEEE Transactions
on Information Theory) that frst expressed what is now
called the Viterbi algorithm, for teasing a faint digital signal
out of strong noise . But a colleague pointed
out that the algorithm—if it could be implemented in hard-
ware—also had powerful practical application in improving
the actual performance of communication systems. In fact,
it was  so powerful  that  engineers using  it  for missiles,
spacecraft tracking, or cellular telephones could pick from
a wonderful smorgasbord of choices: reducing transmitter
power, reducing receiving-antenna diameter, extending the
range of a transmitter, operating in a jammed environment,
or  increasing the number of users supported  in a cellular
And therein lay the fundamental secret of the Viterbi
algorithm’s long, fruitful application in so many industries.

Excerpts from The Quiet Genius: Andrew J. Viterbi by  Trudy e. bell

1 comment: