Andrew J. Viterbi, the man whose technology has lead to the creation of CDMA and other forms of wireless telephony, is one of four finalists in Finland’s Millennium Technology Prize, a bi-annual award for technology achievement for the betterment of humanity.  The co-founder of Qualcomm was honored for developing the Viterbi algorithm

The finalists were announced this morning at press simultaneous briefings in Helsinki and New York.

Randy Giles, who with his colleagues at Bell Labs, created an optical amplifer critical to powering  digital signals through optical networks, was also honored. 

MIT biomedical research Robert Langer is the third American finalist.

The three finalist will travel to Helsinki in June where they will share in the $1.8 million prize.  One winner will get the top prize of $1 million.

Last night in Manhattan, as the American winners gathered, I interviewed MIT Technology Review’s editor in chief and publisher Jason Pontin.   Jason participated in a press event for the tech prize today where he interviewed Nokia Chairman Jorma Ollila.

In this clip, Jason gives an overview of the prize and the three Americans honored today.

More details to follow.

Update:   Here is a report from the BBC.  Here is the official announcement.  Here’s a report from Scientific American.

Video Update: Finalist Andrew Viterbi is featured in a story by Mary Kathleen Flynn and video on the Deal’s Techconfidential.  I’ve pasted it below:


— Andy Plesser

Disclosure:  Finland’s Millennium Technology Prize Foundation is a client of Plesser Holland public relations.