Boole Shannon Lecture Series
(36-462 and 36-428) 1pm
From Shannon’s Information Theory to Qualcomm: Anecdotes from an Amazing
I arrived at MIT for Graduate School in the fall of 1956, about the time Claude Shannon joined the faculty. The excitement generated by information theory was infectious and has guided me through a series of adventures in graduate school, as an MIT faculty member and coauthor of the text Principles of Communication Engineering, in moving to California to join the faculty of UCSD, and in the founding of two startups, Linkabit and Qualcomm. Key lessons applied throughout were to stress elegant solutions and to be opportunistic in a rapidly changing and expanding world. Information theory has proved especially important in wireless communications where efficiency and capacity are key. I’ll touch on some of the adventures along the way, some near-term directions, and the social benefits of nearly ubiquitous connectivity.
Irwin Mark Jacobs is Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, a company he co-founded in 1985. As CEO through 2005 and Chairman through 2009, he led its growth from startup to Fortune 500 Company. Qualcomm pioneered the CDMA wireless technology used by all third-generation cellular networks to deliver broadband Internet access to over 3 billion customers, and is the leader in supplying fourth-generation technology. Through continuing innovation, Qualcomm has become the world’s largest semiconductor supplier for mobile devices.
Dr. Jacobs previously served as co-founder, CEO and chairman of LINKABIT Corporation, leading the development of Very Small Aperture Earth Terminals (VSATs) and the VideoCipher® satellite-to-home TV system. LINKABIT merged with M/A-COM in August 1980, and Dr. Jacobs served as executive vice president and a member of the board of directors until his resignation in April 1985. Over 50 San Diego communications companies trace their roots to LINKABIT. From 1959 to 1966, Dr. Jacobs was an assistant, then associate professor of electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). From 1966 to 1972 he served as professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). While at MIT, Dr. Jacobs co-authored with Jack Wozencraft a textbook on digital communications, Principles of Communication Engineering. First published in 1965, the book remains in use today.
Dr. Jacobs received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1956 from Cornell University and Master of Science and Doctor of Science degrees in electrical engineering from MIT in 1957 and 1959, respectively. He holds fourteen CDMA patents.
Dr. Jacobs has chaired the Board of Trustees of the Salk Institute since 2006, was chair of the National Academy of Engineering from 2008 to 2012, has served on the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management since 2000, and currently serves on the Cornell NYC Tech steering committee and the Lang Lang International Music Foundation.