Written by IEEE | June 3, 2016 | Updated: December 15, 2020
On June 18, 2016, IEEE will recognize over 20 innovators, educators, and technical professionals whose contributions and achievements were fueled by the ideas and inventions of engineers who came before them during the annual IEEE Honors Ceremony.
The highest award of the evening will be the IEEE Medal of Honor, sponsored by the IEEE Foundation. Since 1917, the award has been presented to candidates who have exceptional achievements and extraordinary careers in the fields of science and technology. The 2016 IEEE Medal of Honor recipient is G. David Forney, Jr.
Forney’s work in advancing the field of coding has spanned over 50 years. Forney introduced concatenated codes in 1965, and his concatenated method became widely used for space communications. The approach is still practiced today for satellite communications, mobile telephony, and digital video broadcasting.
Forney is considered the founder of the modern modem, and also introduced the now universally used concept of trellis diagrams to describe the Viterbi algorithm. His Forney algorithm (FA) is employed by all practical decoders for Reed-Solomon (RS) codes for computing error values after error locations in a received code word have been determined.
An IEEE Life Fellow and member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Forney is currently an adjunct professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.