|[January 22, 2014]
Stanford Professor A.J. Paulraj Wins the 2014 Marconi Prize
PALO ALTO, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
Professor (Emeritus) Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj, Stanford University,
has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Marconi
Society Prize. His idea for using multiple antennas at both the
transmitting and receiving stations - which is at the heart of the
current high speed WiFi (News - Alert) and 4G mobile systems - has revolutionized high
speed wireless delivery of multimedia services for billions of people.
Stanford Professor (Emeritus) A. J. Paulraj, inventor of MIMO technology widely used in mobile devices, has won the 2014 Marconi Prize (Photo: Business Wire)
"Paulraj's contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting
benefit to mankind, are indisputable. Every WiFi router and 4G phone
today uses MIMO technology pioneered by him," says Vint Cerf, Vice
Chairman of the Marconi Society.
The Marconi Society, celebrating its 50th year in 2014, was
founded by Gioia Marconi Braga. Each year it recognizes one or more
scientists who - like her father, radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi -
pursue advances in communications and information technology for the
social, economic and cultural development of all humanity. Winners, who
receive a $100,000 prize, have included scientists whose mathematical
theories and inventions have shaped the Internet and broadband access,
public key encryption, Web search, wired and wireless transmission,
multimedia publishing, optical fiber and satellite communications.
Paulrajs story is a remarkable one. A native of India, a brilliant top
ranking student, he finished high school at 15 and joined the Indian
Navy where his training focused on practical skills for maintaining
weapons systems. But, Paul (as he is commonly known) taught himself
subjects like information theory and signal processing. This finally led
to a Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi), for work on
non-linear estimation theory. In 1977, the Navy assigned him to lead an
ambitious project to develop advanced sonars. Overcoming difficult
circumstances, his team developed a world-class sonar system (APSOH)
that was inducted into fleet service in 1983, a stunning achievement in
military electronics for India.
On sabbatical leave following his APSOH work, Paul managed to get a slot
in Prof. Thomas Kailath's research group at Stanford. There, he worked
on a multiple signals Directions of Arrival (DOA) estimation problem. He
soon invented a striking new method called ESPRIT leading to a
mini-revolution in this field.
Paul returned to India in 1986 and served as the founding director for
three major labs in India. But by 1991, bureaucratic battles began to
take their toll and he returned to Stanford University. Back at
Stanford, he worked on signal separation experiments for airborne
reconnaissance. This led to an idea called Spatial Multiplexing for
increasing throughput in wireless systems using multiple transmit and
receive antennas (MIMO - Multiple Input, Multiple Output). Paul applied
for an U.S. patent in Feb. 1992 but his ideas faced considerable
skepticism in the early days.
Undaunted, he founded Iospan Wireless Inc. to develop a MIMO-OFDMA based
fixed wireless system. Intel Corp. acquired Iospan's technology in 2003,
using it to spearhead the WiMAX (News - Alert) standards. In 2004, Paulraj co-founded
Beceem Communications to develop WiMAX semiconductors and the company
emerged as a market leader and was acquired by Broadcom (News - Alert) Corp.
Stanford colleague and Marconi Fellow, Prof. John Cioffi, the inventor
of the DSL technology, calls Paul's technical capability "almost
unparalleled in the world. But what impresses me most is how Paul
endured the tremendous pressure, turmoil and stress of people saying his
ideas weren't going to work, and persevered until he found success. Such
people are pretty rare."
With characteristic modesty, Paul says, "MIMO technology is today
embedded in 4G mobile and WiFi. It has taken the effort of thousands of
engineers and researchers around the world, many of them truly eminent,
to make this happen. My contribution, in comparison, is indeed small."
Paul was elected to the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in
2006, and to several national academies around the world. He received
the Padma Bhushan, a major Indian award, in 2010 and the IEEE (News - Alert) Alexander
Graham Bell Medal in 2011. Paul says, "The Marconi Prize that emphasizes
service to humanity is the highest recognition I can imagine."
Paul remains active with post-doc students at Stanford and as a Senior
Adviser to Broadcom Corp. He lives on the Stanford campus with his wife
Nirmala. "I have two grown children and four wonderful grandchildren,"
says Paulraj. "My biggest challenge is finding time for all the things I
want to do."
About the Marconi Society
Additional information about the Marconi Society and the Marconi
Fellows can be found at www.marconisociety.org.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20140121006890/en/
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