Technion announces $50 million gift

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology will receive a $50 million gift from Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi, the largest ever from an American donor.

The gift to the Haifa-based university was announced on Saturday during the Technion Board of Governor’s meeting in Israel.

Viterbi is the creator of the Viterbi Algorithm, a mathematical formula used in many of today’s mobile devices. The Viterbi Algorithm allows rapid and accurate decoding of numerous overlapping signals, helping to eliminate signal interference. The mathematical formula is used in all four international standards for digital cellular telephones, as well as in data terminals, digital satellite broadcast receivers and deep space telemetry. Other applications include voice recognition programs and DNA analysis.

He is a co-founder of the Qualcomm Corporation. He was awarded a National Medal of Science by former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008.

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Ranked among the world’s top 10 electrical engineering departments, the Technion Faculty of Electrical Engineering has been instrumental in advancing Israel’s tech industry and transforming the country into the “Start-up Nation.”

“I am extremely proud to have my name associated with the Technion,” Viterbi said. “Technion electrical engineering graduates are in large part responsible for creating and sustaining Israel’s high-tech industry, which has been essential for Israel’s economic success.”

Viterbi, currently Presidential Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering, serves as a Technion Distinguished Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering. He first lectured at Technion in 1967, while on a sabbatical in Israel.

He and his late wife, Erna, have previously supported the university, including creating the Andrew J. and Erna F. Viterbi Chair in Information Systems/Computer Science; the Andrew and Erna Finci Viterbi Center for Advanced Studies in Computer Technology; and the Andrew and Erna Finci Viterbi Fellowship Program.

Viterbi received a Technion Honorary Doctorate in 2000, and the university’s Albert Einstein Award in 1993. He is also a member of the Technion Board of Governors.