Turbo code inventor Claude Berrou receives 2005 Marconi Prize

Springer author opens new avenues of research in digital communications

Claude Berrou, professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST) de Bretagne, has been awarded the 2005 Marconi Prize for developing a technology widely used in the telecommunications sector. It is the first time in history that a French scientist has won the award. The Prize includes a $100,000 honorarium. Berrou is the editor of the book Codes et turbocodes, scheduled to be published by Springer in June 2006. An English translation is also planned.

Claude Berrou, Punya Thitimajshima, and Berrou's late research partner Alain Glavieux invented turbo codes, thereby solving a data communications puzzle that had evaded researchers for 40 years. They revealed that turbo codes made it possible to approach 0.5 dB of the so-called Shannon threshold for an error-free communications channel. While the theoretical implications of their work launched a spate of activity in academic and corporate laboratories, the practical aspects have altered the design of communications systems throughout the world for deep space applications; third-generation mobile phones that generate pictures, video and data; and digital audio and video broadcasting.

Claude Berrou was born in Penmarc'h, France, in 1951. In 1978, he joined the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST) de Bretagne, where he is currently a professor in the Electronics Department. He is the author or co-author of eight registered patents and some 60 publications in the field of digital communications and electronics. He has received several distinctions with Alain Glavieux and Punya Thitimajshima, among them the 1998 IEEE Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation.

The Marconi Prize is an annual award recognizing advancements in communications awarded by the Marconi Foundation. The Society and Prize are named in honor of Guglielmo Marconi, a Nobel laureate and one of the of pioneers of radio. Through symposia, conferences, forums, and publications, the Marconi Society promotes awareness of major innovations in telecommunications with particular attention to understanding how they change and enhance society.

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