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Padovani Awarded the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal

Roberto Padovani


Electrical and Computer Engineering Department alumnus Roberto Padovani, the executive vice president and a Fellow of Qualcomm Technologies, has been presented with the Alexander Graham Bell Medal by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) "for innovations enabling efficient, wideband, wireless access to the Internet, that is central to all third-generation cellular networks.” 

The Alexander Graham Bell Medal, sponsored by Bell Labs and Alcatel-Lucent, is awarded for exceptional contributions to the advancement of communications sciences and engineering in the field of telecommunications. It was instituted in 1976 by the directors of the world's largest technical professional society, the IEEE, commemorating the centennial of the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. The award is presented either to an individual or to a team of two or three persons. IEEE Medals are the highest awards that are presented by IEEE. Learn more at

Padovani was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006. Before becoming the executive vice president at Qualcomm, Padovani served as the chief technology officer from 2002 to 2011. Dr. Padovani joined Qualcomm in 1986, after two years at M/A-COM Linkabit, where he was involved in the design and development of satellite communications systems, secure video systems, and error-correcting coding equipment.

Over the past 30 years at Qualcomm, Dr. Padovani has been involved in the research and development of digital communication systems with particular emphasis on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) wireless technology systems. He was involved in the initial design, development, and standardization of IS-95 CDMA systems. His research and inventions in this field have led to the worldwide standardization and commercialization of CDMA technology for second- and third-generation cellular systems.

He has led the design and development of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO, an IP-based, high-speed wide-area wireless data technology, which has led to the deployment of multiple broadband wireless networks and services across the globe.

Dr. Padovani holds more than 80 patents on wireless systems. He has published numerous technical papers in the digital communications field and was the co-recipient of the 1991 IEEE Vehicular Technology Society Best Paper Award for a fundamental paper on the capacity of CDMA cellular systems. In 2009 he received the IEEE Eric. E. Sumner Award “for pioneering innovations in wireless communications, particularly to the evolution of CDMA for wireless broadband data.”

In addition, Dr. Padovani has received the 2004 Innovators in Telecommunications award from the San Diego Telecom Council, and the 2006 Executive of the Year award from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Padovani received a laureate degree from the University of Padova, Italy, and master of science and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, all in electrical and computer engineering. He is an IEEE Fellow and an Adjunct Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of California, San Diego. (April 2016)