From Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, (updated October 4 2014): Indians -- both scientists and researchers at Stanford University, in the Silicon Valley, were honoured by the same organization -- the Marconi Society, coincidentally on Gandhi Jayanthi Day (Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniverary), October 2.
India-born Emeritus Professor Arogyaswami Paulraj, w received the prestigious 2014 Marconi Society Prize in recognition of his invention of multiple wireless antenna technology which enables wireless broadband services, reaching billions of people worldwide .
The Society also honoured Himanshu Asnani, a doctoral candidate at Stanford's Electrical Engineering School, with the 2014 Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar Award, which recognizes individuals who have, at an early age, demonstrated exceptional scientific and entrepreneurial capabilities with the potential to create significant advances in telecommunications and the Internet.
Both Indian achievers received their awards at the end of a dsay long event in Washington DC which discssed "Internet 2025".
Making the presentation to Paulraj, was another distinguished Indian-American scientist - academician, Dr Thomas Kailath, Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Emeritus at Standard, who said: “It has been my pride and privilege to have known Paul as a student, a research fellow and now, for many years as a colleagues and close friend."
Accepting the Marconi Prize, Paulraj said: “It is a tremendous honour to be named a fellow of the Marconi Society. I will do my best to be worthy of it. This is the highest recognition in Information and Communications Technology, an area of huge importance to India's development”
Along with Asnani, the Society also recognized another Young Scholar, Korean doctoral student Kiseok Song whose achievements include the invention of smart wireless bio-medical systems.
Said Asnani: “I feel extremely overwhelmed to have received this prestigious award. The credit goes to my parents, teachers and friends for their unconditional love and guidance through the thick and thin of my life. However, I would like to dedicate this achievement to Srila Prabhupada, Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and my mentor and spiritual guide."
The Marconi Society Prize is one of the top global accolades in the area of Information Technology -- and Dr Paulraj joins a select group of IT pioneers who received the prize earlier -- including Tim Berners-Lee ( 'creator' of the World Wide Web), Vint Cerf ('Father of the Internet'), Larry Page ( inventor of Google Search), and Martin Cooper ( developer of the mobile phone).
Dr Paulraj has been called the Father of MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) -- a concept that underpins the technology that drives every WiFi and 4 G network today and helps to make them more efficient. Before he moved to the US, Paulraj served for 25 years in the Indian Navy and led the team at a NPOL (Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory) in Kochi, Kerala , that delivered the first indigenous sonar underwater defence system that is still used on Indian naval ships.Dr. Paulraj donated his prize money of $100,000 to the Marconi Society Young Scholar Programme.
The core of Himanshu Asnani's work lies the confluence of Information Theory and control. Fellow researchers believe his work may radically improve the way data is sent and received, making the whole system much more efficient. His PhD guide Professor Tsachy Weissman, says: “In his graduate studies, Himanshu has made profound contributions to our understanding of the fundamental limits in new communication and data compression scenarios. His work runs the gamut from the theoretical to the applied. It is top-notch research: bringing new ways of thinking of problems and new engineering insights that will inspire future systems." Weissman compares Asnani's research approach to that of Claude Shannon, the "Father of Information Theory" whose seminal paper in 1948 established the mathematical basis of modern computer communications.
Himanshu was a 4th ranker in the in the IIT Joint entrance examination, which took him to at IIT, Mumbai where he got his BTech in Electrical Engineering in 2009. He was immediately accepted to Stanford’s Electrical Engineering School where he earned his M.S. in 2011 before starting his doctoral work. Even earlier he was snapped up by telecom giant Ericsson and still works in their R&D lab in the US Silicon Valley.
The Marconi Society, was established in 1974 through an endowment set up by Gioia Marconi Braga, daughter of Guglielmo Marconi, the Nobel laureate who invented radio (wireless telegraphy). The Society promotes awareness of major innovations in communication theory, technology and applications with particular attention to understanding how they change and benefit society