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

Inaugural Jack Keil Wolf Lecture
Tuesday, October 22

Andrew Viterbi, President, Viterbi  Group
Professor Emeritus, UCSD

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

3:00pm, Wu & Chen Auditorium, 101 Levine Hall

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.