2016 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal Recipient - Roberto Padovani

The third-generation (3G) cellular technology enabled by the vision and leadership of Roberto Padovani is transforming lives around the word by supporting voice and wireless Internet access via mobile devices to over 3 billion people.  Padovani provided key leadership in developing and commercializing code-division-multiple-access (CDMA) technology during the 1980s and 1990s to substantially increase circuit-switched voice capacity and enable efficient high-data-rate (HDR) packet-switched communications. His work has formed the basis for all 3G cellular systems and has also influenced fourth-generation long-term evolution (LTE) systems. Padovani later adapted CDMA technology, which was originally heavily tuned for voice services, to support data services. To overcome the challenges of asymmetry in data traffic in the up- and downlinks and the bursty nature of data, Padovani developed innovations including the scheduling of high and low rate users, variable modulation and code rate, and power control strategies for more efficient Internet data transfer, resulting in the HDR technology. He realized early on that, for packet data, symmetric performance across uplink and downlink and equal grade of service across users could be relaxed to improve total system throughput, in contrast to voice designs that focused on giving all users equal service in all conditions. Slow to be accepted by operators who were primarily concerned only with voice capacity, the demand for HDR communications grew as mobile phones began to support e-mail and Internet services. HDR evolved into the 1X EVDO system, which paved the way for high-speed data services on 3G systems. The availability of packet-switched Internet access made possible by Padovani‚Äôs innovations has impacted business, safety, entertainment, navigation, social networking, education, and health in developed and especially developing countries around the world.

An IEEE Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Padovani is executive vice president and fellow with Qualcomm Technologies, San Diego, CA, USA.

Roberto Padovani