Indo American Professor A J Paulraj wins Marconi Prize 2014

Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj, an India-born professor at Stanford University in the US, is the winner of the Marconi Prize 2014 for his pioneering work on developing wireless technology to transmit and receive data at high speed.

Prof Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj in his Chamber at Stanford University

Prof Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj in his Chamber at Stanford University

“Paulraj’s contributions to wireless technology, and the resulting benefit to humankind, are indisputable. Every WiFi (wireless fidelity) router and 4G phone uses Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MIMO) technology pioneered by him,” Marconi Society chairman David Payne said in a statement Wednesday from California.

Named after Nobel laureate Guglielmo Marconi, who invented radio, and set up in 1974 by his daughter Gioia Marconi Braga through an endowment, the Marconi Society awards annually an outstanding individual whose scope of work and influence emulate the principle of ‘creativity in service to humanity’ that inspired Marconi.

The prestigious prize includes $100,000 (Rs.6.2 million) honorarium and a sculpture and its honorees become Marconi Fellows.

Among the winners of the prize in the recent past were Google co-founder Larry Page, World Wide Web (www) designer Tim Berners-Lee, Internet founder Vint Cerf of Internet, cell phone inventor Martin Cooper and fiber-optic communications developer Charles Kao.

“I am honoured to be chosen for the Marconi Prize and join such an illustrious group of pioneers. It has taken efforts of thousands of engineers and researchers to make MIMO technology a reality. My role, in comparison, is indeed small,” Paulraj said in the statement.

MIMO boosts data rate by creating multiple parallel spatial data streams and is the key to the latest wireless broadband networks like 4G cellular.

“MIMO will soon be pervasive in all wireless devices as Paulraj’s work has provided fertile ground for thousands of researchers to explore and advance its potential to enhance wireless spectrum efficiency,” Payne, who is also director of the opto-electronics research centre at University of Southampton, asserted.

The 69-year-old scientist from Coimbatore in northwest Tamil Nadu, about 360 km from here, was also honoured with the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal in 2011 for his profound work on theoretical foundations of MIMO.

“Paulraj is the only India-born scientist to receive both the Marconi Prize and the Bell Medal — the two top global IT technology awards,” editor Anand Parthasarathy told IANS here.

On Paul, as he is popularly known in tech circles, bagging the latest prize, Infosys co-founder and chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy said Paulraj’s brilliance and perseverance have revolutionized wireless technology bringing a lasting benefit to mankind.

“Paul is a wonderful role models for researchers the world over,” Murthy said here.

Paulraj has been a strong proponent for reviving India’s telecom technology industry, noting the high cost to the nation for its near total dependence on telecom imports.