|Andrew James Viterbi,
Ph.D. (Bergamo (Italy) March 9, 1935) is an Italian-American
electrical engineer and businessman.
Viterbi was born in Bergamo, Italy to Jewish parents and emigrated
with them in 1939 to the United States as a refugee. His original name
was Andrea, but when he was naturalized in the US, his parents changed
it to Andrew, since Andrea is a female name in many English-speaking
countries. Viterbi attended the Boston Latin School, and then entered
MIT in 1952, studying electrical engineering. Distinguished faculty
members contemporary to his education included Claude Shannon, Norbert
Wiener, Robert Fano and Bruno Rossi. After receiving both his BS and
his MS in Electrical Engineering in 1957 from MIT, Viterbi received
his Ph.D. in digital communications from the University of Southern
Viterbi was later a professor of electrical engineering at UCLA and
UCSD. In 1967 he invented the Viterbi algorithm, which he used for
decoding convolutionally encoded data. It is still used widely in
cellular phones for error correcting codes, as well as for speech
recognition, DNA analysis, and many other applications of Hidden
Markov models. On advice of a lawyer, Viterbi did not patent the
algorithm. Viterbi also helped to develop the CDMA standard for
cell phone networks.
Viterbi was the cofounder of Linkabit Corporation, with Irwin Jacobs
in 1968, a small military contractor. He was also the co-founder of
Qualcomm Inc. with Dr. Jacobs in 1985. As of 2003, he is the president
of the venture capital company The Viterbi Group. In 2000, Viterbi
ranked 386th on the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, with an
estimated worth of $640 million.
In 2002, Viterbi dedicated the Andrew Viterbi '52 Computer Center at
his alma mater, Boston Latin School. On March 2, 2004, the University
of Southern California School of Engineering was renamed the Viterbi
School of Engineering in his honor, following his $52 million donation
to the school. He is a member of the USC Board of Trustees.. He
is also on the Board of Trustees at The Scripps Research Institute.
Viterbi is married to Erna Finci, with whom he has three children.
Andrew J. Viterbi and Jim K. Omura (1979). Principles of Digital
Communication and Coding (Communications and Information Theory). ISBN
Robert E. Kalman, G. I. Marchuk, A. E. Ruberti, and Andrew J. Viterbi
(1987). Recent Advances in Communication and Control Theory (Series in
Communication and Control Systems). ISBN 978-0911575460.