Dedicated to the memory of both his father Achille and his son Alexander, this memoir reconstructs the course of his academic career at a time in which technology played a major role in a radical reshaping of the world's economy and society. Attuned to the post-war growing technological needs of government and population, Viterbi and his colleagues began to work in an area where scientific research and capitalistic enterprise could support one another. His main contribution to science, the Viterbi Algorithm, found application in different fields, ultimately leading up to the co-founding of Qualcomm, which became one of the most important communication companies worldwide.
His father came from an intellectual but impoverished youth, and imbued family life with the principles of education and social responsibility. Family politics in America were very much in tune with the Democratic party of Franklin Roosevelt, who had favored the poor over the wealthy in raising the nation out of the Depression.Considering his embrace of capitalism, which he sees as a force that incentivizes people to strive to achieve the best of their ability, Viterbi holds firmly to the values of social equality and reform, advocating for equitable taxation, universal education and affordable healthcare. He discussed the importance of public support of basic research in the sciences arguing that the development of knowledge for the benefit of all humanity cannot be entrusted to the private sector.
Originally written for family members, this carefully pondered autobiography proves valuable to readers of all ages, as it offers a glimpse into major 20th century events, and poses unavoidable questions on the impact of science on society and on the relation between personal initiative, creative thinking and private or public institutions. [Publisher's text]
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