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Oral-History:Irwin Jacobs

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About Irwin Jacobs

Jacobs got a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell (1956), and an MS (1957) and a PhD (1959) from MIT, working on information theory and communications, with a thesis on probabilistic networks. He joined the faculty of the University of California of San Diego in 1966. He co-founded the Linkabit consulting company with Andrew Viterbi in 1971. Linkabit (by itself, and as part of M/A COM after 1980) developed the micro-coded multi-satellite terminal, VSATs, the Videocipher TV scrambler/descrambler, and the first commercial TDMA wireless phone. In 2985 he left Linkabit and co-founded Qualcomm. Qualcomm has developed OmniTRACS, Globalstar low-orbit satellites, technology for digital cinema, and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) for commercial wireless and satellite communication. He discusses his participation in the IEEE Communication Society and Information Theory Society, the evolution of the digital communications field, the change of emphasis from analog techniques to digital techniques, and the importance of industry standards and standardization for technological development and competition, particularly in relation to Globalstar, OmniTRACS, and CDMA.

About the Interview

IRWIN JACOBS: An Interview Conducted by David Morton, IEEE History Center, 29 October 1999

Interview # 376 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Irwin Jacobs, an oral history conducted in 1999 by David Morton, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


INTERVIEW: Irwin Jacobs
DATE: 29 October 1999
PLACE: San Diego, California