This article has been modified. Please see the correction at the end.
Tamil Nadu-born scientist Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj has become the second Indian to be awarded the Marconi Society Prize, 2014, considered an equivalent to the Nobel Prize for the technology sector. The award recognises his work on developing wireless technology to transmit and receive data at high speeds. Paulraj is credited with the invention and advancement of Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), a key enabler of WiFi and 4G mobile systems.
The 69-year-old is an emeritus professor at the Stanford University and has served 25 years in the navy. He got the Padma Bhushan in 2010. His idea for using multiple antennas at both the transmitting and receiving stations has revolutionised wireless delivery of multimedia services for billions, said the Marconi Society.
By winning the award, Paulraj joins a select group of information technology (IT) pioneers such as Tim Berners-Lee (world wide web), Vint Cerf (internet), Larry Page (Google Search), Marty Hellman (public key cryptography) and Martin Cooper (cellphone).
N R Narayana Murthy, executive chairman of Infosys, said, in a release by Marconi Society, "Paulraj's brilliance and perseverance have revolutionised wireless technology bringing a lasting benefit to mankind."
Before Paulraj migrated to the US in the early 1990s, he was well known for pioneering the development of sonars for the navy. Paulraj is the founding director of laboratories Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Bangalore, and the Central Research Labs of Bharat Electronics.
After moving to Stanford University, he built the world's leading research group in MIMO, and founded two companies in the Silicon Valley to develop MIMO.
While global chip maker Intel acquired a company in 2003, Broadcom Corporation bought another later.
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 annually awards an outstanding individual whose scope of work and influence emulate the principle of "creativity in service to humanity" that inspired Marconi.
After Sir J C Bose's demonstration of the millimetre wave radio in 1895, Paulraj's invention of MIMO in 1992 is the next major innovation in IT from an Indian-born scientist, notes IndiaTechOnline.com editor Anand Parthasarathy. The prestigious prize includes $100,000 honourarium and a sculpture. Its honourees become Marconi Fellows.
This article had mentioned that Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj was the first Indian to win the Marconi prize, which is incorrect. He is the second Indian to win the Marconi prize; Prof Yash Pal being the first. This fact has been incorporated in the article. We regret the error.