Irwin Jacobs MS '57 ScD '59, co-founder and chairman of Qualcomm Incorporated, will give the inaugural lecture of the School of Engineering's new Distinguished Lecture Series at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19, in 10-250. In a talk titled "From Information Theory Courses at MIT to Providing Chips and Technology for a World with Four Billion Cellular Subscribers: Memories and a Look Ahead," Jacobs will share stories from the front lines of the digital communications revolution, as well insights on the future of technology.
Jacobs served as CEO of Qualcomm, a pioneer and world leader of code division multiple access (CDMA) digital wireless technology, from its founding in 1985 until July 2005. He formed his first company, Linkabit Corporation, in 1969. It merged with M/A-COM in 1980 and Jacobs served as a director until he resigned and ostensibly retired in April 1985. Three months later, however, he conceived the CDMA/Qualcomm concept, and led the company into mobile satellite communications and digital wireless telephony on an international scale. Today, Qualcomm has annual sales of more than $10 billion.
A former EECS faculty member at MIT and at the University of California, San Diego, Jacobs co-authored, with Jack Wozencraft, "Principles of Communication Engineering," a textbook on digital communications that is still in wide use today. Jacobs was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1982, and was named its chair in May 2008. He has won many awards for his work, including the National Medal of Technology Award in 1994, the highest honor bestowed by the President of the United States for extraordinary achievements in the commercialization of technology.
Co-sponsored this year by the Microsystems Technology Laboratories, the School of Engineering Distinguished Lectures will be a regular opportunity for members of the engineering community at MIT to come together for inspiration, enlightenment and motivation as they hear from true leaders and pioneers in the engineering disciplines.