In Honor of Jack Keil Wolf

Jack Keil Wolf, an information theorist whose pivotal contributions to digital communication and data storage technology helped shape our networked world, was a 1956 graduate in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Wolf's enduring connection with the University began with his father, Joseph, a 1916 graduate of Penn Dental Medicine.  Jack's daughter, Sarah, EE'86, W'86, and two of his grandchildren have continued the Penn Engineering tradition. 

After graduating from Penn Engineering, Dr. Wolf received his MSE, MA, and PhD degrees from Princeton University in 1957, 1958, and 1960, respectively. He served in the Air Force and taught at New York University, the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst before moving to San Diego, where he joined the faculty of the University of California’s Jacobs School of Engineering in 1984.  He held the Stephen O. Rice Professorship of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Center for Magnetic Recording Research, where he led the Signal Processing Group, nicknamed the "Wolf Pack." 

Described by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as "one of the most productive cross-fertilizers in engineering research," Dr. Wolf is perhaps known for his work that produced the Slepian-Wolf Theorem.   The theorem proved that two separate streams of correlated data can be sent independently at the same time and then combined at the final destination.    

The recipient of many honors and awards throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Wolf was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 1993.  In 2010, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and, along with Irwin Jacobs, received the 2011 Marconi Society Prize for his "lasting scientific contributions to human progress in the field of information technology." 

Dr. Wolf died in May of 2011.

ESE Seminars & Events

The Jack Keil Wolf Lecture in Electrical and Systems Engineering

Jack Keil Wolf Lecture
Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Mark Horowitz
Yahoo Founder's Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Stanford University

"A Life of Breaking and Making: What Happens When You Mix a Driving Curiosity and Episodic Overconfidence"

3pm, Wu and Chen Auditorium, 101 Levine Hall

Reception to follow seminar in Levine Lobby

Speaker Biography:

Mark Horowitz received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 1978, and a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1984. He has since been a professor at Stanford, working in the area of digital integrated circuit design. During his tenure he has led a number of processor designs, including: MIPS-X, one of the first processors to include an on-chip instruction cache; Torch, a statically scheduled, superscalar processor; Flash, a flexible DSM machine; and Smash, a reconfigurable polymorphic manycore processor. He has also worked in a number of other chip design areas, including high-speed memory design, high-bandwidth interfaces, and fast floating point. In 1990 he took leave from Stanford to help start Rambus Inc., a company designing high-bandwidth memory interface technology.

Past Speakers in this Series

2016 Lecture: Thomas Kailath
Thomas Kailath
Hitachi America Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, Stanford University
Wednesday, October 20, 2016

"The Process of Making Breakthroughs in Engineering"

Speaker Biography:

Thomas Kailath received a B.E. in Telecommunications in 1956 from the College of Engineering, Pune, India, and both S.M. and Sc.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959 and 1961, respectively. He then worked at the Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena, CA, before being appointed to Stanford University as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1963. Kailath was promoted to full Professor in 1968, and was later appointed as the first holder of the Hitachi America Professorship in Engineering in1988. He assumed emeritus status in 2001, but remains active with his research and writing activities. He also held short-term appointments at several institutions around the world, including UC Berkeley, the Indian Statistical Institute, Bell Labs, the Indian Institute of Science, Cambridge University, K.U. Leuven, T.U. Delft, Weizmann Institute, Imperial College, MIT, UCLA, and, T.U. Munich.

Kailath's research and teaching activities have spanned several fields of engineering and mathematics, including information theory, communications, linear systems, estimation and control, signal processing, semiconductor manufacturing, probability and statistics, and matrix and operator theory. He also co-founded and served as a director of several high-technology companies. Throughout his career, Kailath mentored an outstanding array of over 100 doctoral and postdoctoral scholars. Their joint efforts have led to over 300 journal papers, a dozen patents and several books and monographs, including the major textbooks Linear Systems (1980) and Linear Estimation (2000).

Kailath received the IEEE Medal of Honor in 2007 for "exceptional contributions to the development of powerful algorithms for communications, control, computing and signal processing." Among other major honors are the Shannon Award of the IEEE Information Theory Society; the IEEE Education Medal and the IEEE Signal Processing Medal; the 2009 BBVA Foundation Prize for Information and Communication Technologies; the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award; election to the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; foreign membership of the Royal Society of London, the Royal Spanish Academy of Engineering, the Indian National Academy of Engineering, the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS).

In November 2014, he received a U.S. National Medal of Science from President Obama "for transformative contributions to the fields of information and system science, for distinctive and sustained mentoring of young scholars, and for translation of scientific ideas into entrepreneurial ventures that have had a significant impact on industry."

2015 Lecture: Mildred Dresselhaus
Mildred Dresselhaus
Professor of Physics and Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emerita
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Wednesday, November 3, 2015

"The Oncoming Challenge in Engineering Research and Education"

Speaker Biography:

Mildred Dresselhaus is an Institute Professor at MIT in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Physics. Recent research activities in the Dresselhaus group that have attracted wide attention are in the areas of carbon nanotubes, graphene, and other nanocarbon materials, as well as low-dimensional thermoelectricity. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and has served as Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, President of the American Physical Society, Treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, chair of the U.S. National Academy Decadal Study of Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, and on many advisory committees and councils. Dr. Dresselhaus has received numerous awards, including the U.S. National Medal of Science, the Fermi Award, the Kavli Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and 31 honorary doctorates worldwide. She is the co-author of eight books and about 1700 papers primarily on carbon science, and is particularly well known for her work on carbon nanomaterials and other nanostructural systems based on layered materials, like graphene, and more recently beyond graphene, like transition metal dichalcogenides and phosphorene. More generally, her research over the years has covered a wide range of problems in condensed matter and materials physics.
2014 Lecture: Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli

Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli
Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
University of California, Berkeley
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"My Journey from Chips to Swarm Systems"

Speaker Biography:

Alberto Sangiovanni-Vincentelli holds the Buttner Chair of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, University of California, Berkeley. He was a co-founder of Cadence and Synopsys, the two leading companies in Electronic Design Automation. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Cadence, Sonics, Expert Systems, and of KPIT Cummins. He was a member of the HP Strategic Technology Advisory Board, of the Science and Technology Advisory Board of GM, and is a member of the Technology Advisory Council of UTC. He consulted for many companies including Bell Labs, IBM, Intel, UTC, Magneti Marelli, Pirelli, BMW, Daimler-Benz, Fujitsu, Kawasaki Steel, ST, and Hitachi. He is a member of the High-Level Group, of the Steering Committee, of the Governing Board and of the Public Authorities Board of the EU Artemis Joint Technology Initiative. He is member of the Scientific Council of the Italian National Science Foundation (CNR) and of the Executive Committee of the Italian Institute of Technology. He is Chairperson of the CNGR, a seven person committee established by the Ministry of Education, Scientific Research and University of the Italian Government. He is the President of the Strategic Committee of the Italian Strategic Fund (a 7Billion Private Equity Fund).

He received the Distinguished Teaching Award of the University of California and the IEEE Graduate Teaching Award for "inspirational teaching of graduate students". He was the recipient of the Aristotle Award of the Semiconductor Research Corporation. He received numerous research awards including the Guillemin-Cauer Award (1982-1983) and the Darlington Award (1987-1988) of the IEEE for the best paper bridging theory and applications.

He received the Kaufman Award for "pioneering contributions to EDA", the IEEE/RSE Maxwell Medal "for groundbreaking contributions that have had an exceptional impact on the development of electronics and electrical engineering or related fields", the first ACM/IEEE A. Richard Newton Technical Impact Award. He holds an honorary Doctorate by the University of Aalborg, Denmark.and one by KTH, Sweden.

He is an author of over 800 papers, 17 books and 2 patents.

Dr. Sangiovanni-Vincentelli has been an IEEE Fellow since 1982 and a Member of the NAE since 1998.

2013 Lecture: Andrew Viterbi
Andrew Viterbi
President, Viterbi Group
Professor Emeritus, UCSD
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Jack Wolf's Half Century of Contributions to the Digital Revolution"

Speaker Biography:
Dr. Andrew Viterbi is a co-founder and retired Vice Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Qualcomm Incorporated. He spent equal portions of his career in industry and in academia as Professor in the Schools of Engineering and Applied Science, first at UCLA and then at UCSD, at which he is now Professor Emeritus. He is currently president of the Viterbi Group, a technical advisory and investment company. He also serves as a Presidential Chair Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California and a distinguished Visiting Professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

His principal research contribution, the Viterbi Algorithm, is used in most digital mobile phones and digital satellite receivers, as well as in such diverse fields as magnetic recording, voice recognition and DNA sequence analysis. More recently, he concentrated his efforts on establishing CDMA as the multiple access technology of choice for cellular telephony and wireless data communication.

Dr. Viterbi has received numerous honors both in the U.S. and internationally. Among these are seven honorary doctorates from universities in Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Italy and the U.S., the Marconi International Fellowship Award, the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell, Claude Shannon and James Clerk Maxwell Awards, the NEC C&C Award, the Eduard Rhein Foundation Award, the Christopher Columbus Medal, the Franklin Medal, the Robert Noyes Semiconductor Industry Award, the Millennium Laureate Award and the IEEE’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Sciences and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received an honorary title from the President of Italy and the National Medal of Science from the President of the United States.

Viterbi has served on boards and committees of numerous non-profit institutions, including the University of Southern California, MIT Visiting Committees, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee. He is past chairman of the Computer and Information Sciences Section of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.