Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi Ultrawideband Specialist Presented with IEEE Sumner Award

Robert Scholtz pioneered technology now entering applications in wireless data transfer and imaging

January 16, 2007 —

Scholtz, (left) with former graduate students Roberto DeMarca who is now Chair of
the IEEE Awards Board and past President of the IEEE communications
Society and Moe Win, (right) co-winner of the Sumner Award.
Professor Robert A. Scholtz of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, who was named a co-recipient of the 2006 IEEE Eric E. Sumner Award "for pioneering contributions to ultra-wide band communications science and technology" in July, 2005, received his medal November 28, 2006 in San Francisco.

Scholtz has been a faculty member in the Viterbi School department of electrical engineering since 1963 and now holds the school's Fred H. Cole chair.  For nearly a decade he has been studying how to use ultrawideband — brief signal pulses spread over a very wide band of the radio spectrum — for imaging, data transmission, and other tasks, and he now directs a research unit specializing in the field, the USC UltRA Laboratory.

Scholz shares the honor with his frequent ultrawideband research collaborator and co-author, Moe Win of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Win was Scholtz' graduate student and received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from USC in 1998.

The first commercial applications of ultrawideband technology, for short-range high bandwidth wireless data links, are being introduced this year.

The award carries the name of Eric E. Sumner, 1991 IEEE President, who retired as Vice President, Operations Planning at AT&T Bell Laboratories after a long and distinguished career. The award is sponsored by Lucent Technologies, and consists of a bronze medal, certificate and honorarium.

According to the IEEE, in the Sumner medal evaluation process "the following criteria are considered: research, development and application contributions to all aspects of leading-edge communication technology, and the quality of the nomination."

An IEEE Fellow, Scholtz’s previous IEEE honors include the IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award, IEEE Communications Society’s Leonard G. Abraham and Fred Ellersick Prizes, IEEE Signal Processing Society’s Senior Paper Award, and the IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society’s Sergei A. Shelkunoff Transactions Prize Paper Award.

He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Cincinnati, where, as a Sheffield Scholar, he received the Degree in Electrical Engineer in1958. He was a Hughes Masters and Doctoral Fellow while obtaining the MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from USC in 1960 and Stanford University in 1964 respectively.

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