Viterbi (Andrew J. and Erna) Family Archives Edit


Finding Aid Author
Michael Hooks, Viterbi Family Archivist
Finding Aid Date
Language of Description
The Andrew and Erna Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California (USC)


  • 1905 – 2007 (Creation)


  • 20 Linear Feet (Whole)
    47 document cases, 1 small box, 1 oversize box

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  • Language of materials

    The bulk of the materials are written in English, however, other languages are represented as well. These additional languages include Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, and Japanese.

  • Separated materials

    Oversize materials, such as newspaper pages, manuscript galleys, and drawings, were separated and rehoused in an oversize box. DVDs and an audio tape were separated and rehoused in a small box. Duplicate materials were removed and retained for returning to Dr. Viterbi.

  • Organization

    The archives is organized into 18 series, arranged alphabetically: Series 1. Academic Affiliations; Series 2. Academic Files; Series 3. Biographical Information; Series 4. Business Plan; Series 5. Committees and Boards/Professional Affiliations; Series 6. Correspondence; Series 7. Honors, with 3 subseries: Academies, Awards, and Honorary Degrees; Series 8. Mementos; Series 9. News Items; Series 10. Oral History; Series 11. Papers Authored; Series 12. Patents; Series 13. Philanthropic Activities; Series 14. Presentations; Series 15. Prior Art; Series 16. Publications; Series 17. Technical Information; and Series 18. Viterbi Family Materials

  • Accruals

    The initial accession consists of 17 banker's boxes packed and brought to the Special Collections Department by Michael Hooks, Viterbi Family Archivist, and Jackie Morin, Processing Archivist, on November 28, 2006. Dr. Viterbi delivered an additional box of materials on February 26, 2007. An additional envelope of materias was received from Dr. Viterbi on June 8, 2007. Lastly, colleagues of Dr. Viterbi donated items at the request of Michael Hooks.

  • Conditions governing use

    The archives contains published articles and book chapters authored or co-authored by Dr. Viterbi and others. Researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and chapters. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials.

  • Conditions governing access

    There are materials within the archives that are marked confidential or proprietary, or that contain information that is obviously confidential. Examples of the latter include letters of references and recommendations for employment, promotions, and awards; nominations for awards and honors; resumes of colleagues of Dr. Viterbi; and grade reports of students in Dr. Viterbi's classes at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of California, San Diego.

    These restricted items were not scanned and, therefore, are not included in the USC Digital Archive.

    Researchers wishing to see any of the restricted materials should consult with the USC Libraries Special Collections staff.

  • Acquisition

    The Andrew J. and Erna Viterbi Family Archives was primarily obtained through gifts from Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi. Additional donations were made by Dr. William C. Lindsey, and Dr. Solomon Golomb, both of the Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC). Other materials were collected and by the Viterbi Family Archivist, Dr. Michael Hooks, who obtained them from the JPL Archives, Dr. Viterbi's professional colleagues, and Web sources.

  • Abstract

    The Andrew J. and Erna Viterbi Family Archives documents the career and professional activities of Dr. Andrew Viterbi, noted researcher, scholar, innovator, and businessman, as well as provide information about the Viterbi and Finci families.

  • Scope and contents

    The Andrew J. and Erna Viterbi Family Archives documents the career and professional activities of Dr. Andrew Viterbi, noted researcher, scholar, innovator, and businessman, as well as provide information about the Viterbi and Finci families. The professional papers consist of audio materials, awards, certificates, clippings, correspondence, memoranda, manusciprt materials, patents, photographs, presentations, publications and reprints, research materials, and reports that are useful in following Dr. Viterbi's career and provide insight into his constributions to the field of digital communication.

    The family materials provide information about the Viterbi and Finci families. The materials include certificates, clippings, correspondence, diplomas, drawings, photographs, publications, and research materials.

  • Biographical note

    Andrew James Viterbi was born on March 9, 1935 in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy, the only child of Dr. Achille and Maria Viterbi. In 1939, the Viterbi family immigrated to the United States due to the anti-Semitic laws passed in fascist Italy. They lived first in New York City, and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts, when Andrew was six years old. Andrew attended the public schools in Boston, and graduated from Boston Latin School in 1952. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1957, and the Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1962.

    Andrew Viterbi currently serves as President of the Viterbi Group, LLC, founded in 2000 in San Diego, California. The Viterbi Group advises and invests in startup companies, predominantly in wireless communications, network infrastructure and imaging.

    In July 1985, Dr. Viterbi co-founded QUALCOMM Incorporated, a developer and manufacturer of mobile satellite communications and digital wireless telephony, where he served as Vice Chairman until 2000 and as Chief Technical Officer until 1996. Under his leadership, QUALCOMM received international recognition for innovative technology in the areas of digital wireless communication systems and products based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technologies. Previously in 1968, Dr. Viterbi co-founded LINKABIT Corporation, a digital communications company, where he served as Executive Vice President and later as President in the early 1980s.

    From 1963 to 1973, Dr. Viterbi served as a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he did fundamental work in digital communication theory and wrote numerous research papers and two books, for which he has received international recognition. He continued teaching on a part-time basis at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), until 1994, where he is currently Professor Emeritus. Also in 2001 he was invited by Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, to become a Distinguished Visiting Professor of Electrical Engineering and in 2004 he was named to the President's Chair in the Department of Electrical Engineering Systems at USC.

    From 1957 to 1963, Dr. Viterbi was a member of the Communications Research Section of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. While at JPL, he was one of the first communication engineers to recognize the potential of and propose digital transmission techniques for space and satellite telecommunication systems.

    Dr. Viterbi has received numerous awards and recognition for his leadership and substantial contributions to communications theory and its industrial applications over the years. He has received honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Canada, Italy and Israel, and has been otherwise honored in Japan, Germany, Italy and the United States. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Marconi Fellow, and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. From 1997 until 2001, he served as a member of the U.S. President's Information Technology Advisory Committee. He is currently a trustee of the University of Southern California, a Board Member of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, a trustee of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, California, and a member of the California Council on Science and Technology.

    All four international standards for digital cellular telephony utilize the Viterbi algorithm for interference suppression, as do most digital satellite communication systems, both for business applications and for direct satellite broadcast to the home.

    Erna Finci Viterbi was born on January 20, 1934, in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Her parents were Joseph and Lenka Finci. Andrew and Erna married on June 15, 1958, in Los Angeles, California. They have 3 adult children: one daughter, Audrey M., and two sons, Alan R., and Alex.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Andrew J. and Erna Viterbi Family Archives, Collection no. 0335, University Archives, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.