Wednesday, April 16, 2008
2008 Millennium Technology Prize
Trailblazing technologies that improved high-speed long-distance communication, provided the blueprint for mobile phone networks, introduced DNA fingerprinting, and created new drug delivery systems were announced Tuesday as finalists for Finland's 2008 Millennium Technology Prize.Randy Giles, director of optical subsystems and advanced photonics at Alcatel–Lucent's Bell Labs in New Jersey; Emmanuel Desurvire, director of Thales Corporate Research & Technology's physics research group in France; and David Payne, director of the University of Southampton's Optoelectronics Research Center in England, each earned finalist spots for their contributions to telecommunications through the invention of the erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), which made possible the global high-capacity fiber-optic network that serves as the Internet's backbone.Andrew Viterbi, president of investment and advisory firm Viterbi Group, LLC, and co-founder of telecommunications provider Qualcomm, Inc., won finalist recognition for his development of the Viterbi algorithm, a technique that has advanced the design and implementation of modern wireless communication systems. Mobile phone networks rely on the algorithm to eliminate noise. Computer disk drives, MP3 players and systems that cull information received from deep space also use the algorithm. Without the Viterbi algorithm, "we would not have cell phones'.