The IEEE presented Qualcomm on the 7th of November 2017 with an IEEE Milestone plaque for its pioneering work in CDMA, specifically for the first demonstration of CDMA for cellular networks. Twenty-eight years ago (November 7, 1989), Qualcomm demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based upon CDMA, which significantly increased capacity, improved service quality, and extended battery life. This formed the basis for the IS-95 second-generation cellular standard and for the major 3G mobile broadband cellular standards.
The IEEE Milestones program honors significant technical achievements in all areas associated with IEEE. Milestones are proposed by any IEEE member, and are sponsored by any one or more IEEE Organizational Unit(s) (OU) such as IEEE section(s), society(ies), chapter(s) or student branch(es). To be proposed as an IEEE Milestone, an achievement must be at least 25 years old, have benefited humanity, and must have had at least regional importance (defined as an area of more than 500 square kilometers). Currently just over 180 IEEE Milestones have been approved and dedicated around the world.
During a ceremony held at Qualcomm’s Corporate Headquarters in San Diego, Dr. James H. Thompson, Qualcomm’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, and Dr. Kathleen Kramer, IEEE Region 6 Director, unveiled the IEEE Milestone plaque. The plaque will reside permanently outside the company’s main lobby at Morehouse Campus in San Diego. The city of San Diego also designated November 7, 2017 as “Qualcomm’s Mobile Leadership Day” in the city.
Photo Courtesy of Brian A. Berg
After the plaque was unveiled, attendees enjoyed a memorable panel discussion about the development of CDMA and its public demonstration in 1989. The panel included Qualcomm Founders Irwin M. Jacobs and Andrew Viterbi, and some key technical players from the company’s early years including Roberto Padovani, Ed Tiedemann, Butch Weaver, and Chuck Wheatley.
Photo Courtesy of Timothy Lee
Following Qualcomm’s invitation, I had the pleasure and honor to represent the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society at this memorable event. VTS is proud to have participated in the development of CDMA through our publications and conferences, and I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Ed Tiedemann, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. for having invited VTS to be part of this event.
Photo Courtesy of Timothy Lee
Between 1989, the year of Qualcomm’s CDMA public demonstration, and 1995, the year Hutchison Telephone launched in Hong Kong the first commercial CDMA service, more than 275 papers related to CDMA were presented at our conferences and publications. We are very proud to have published in 1991 in the IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology, the very relevant paper entitled ‘On the capacity of a cellular CDMA system’ by Gilhousen, Jacobs, Padovani, Viterbi, Weaver and Wheatley. According to IEEE databases, this paper is the most cited by papers CDMA publication in IEEE. I was very pleased to see this issue of our TVT in Qualcomm’s museum in San Diego.
Photo Courtesy of Javier Gozalvez
Some of you might also remember the packed CDMA sessions at VTCs, and the very lively and intense TDMA versus CDMA panels and debates. CDMA has had a tremendous impact and has helped transform cellular technologies and the way people communicate. VTS has always recognized such impact, and in fact, we are very proud to count among the reciepients of the VTS Hall of Fame award, CDMA pioneers Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Viterbi, as well as Dr. Lee, whose contribution and support to CDMA while at PacTel was very significant.
Congratulations to Qualcomm and the CDMA pioneers for their outstanding work and for receiving this prestigious and well deserved IEEE recognition!
You can find Qualcomm’s press release of the event at: https://www.qualcomm.com/news/onq/2017/11/07/ieee-recognizes-qualcomms-milestone-achievement-wireless-technology
More information about the process to propose an IEEE Milestone can be found at: http://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Main_Page
You can also find a least of existing IEEE Milestones at: http://ethw.org/Milestones:List_of_IEEE_Milestones