IEEE Medal of Honor from IEEE Awards Board

Congratulations to Jacob Ziv for winning such a prestigious award at the 2021 Medals.


IEEE MEDAL OF HONOR, to JACOB ZIV (LFIEEE)—Andrew and Erna Viterbi
Faculty of Electrical Engineering Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel


JACOB ZIV (LFIEEE)—Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel


Professor Jacob Ziv has contributed in the most fundamental and profound way to the field of information theory for more than 5 decades of his professional activity. The most notable contribution of Prof. Ziv is the Lempel-Ziv (LZ) algorithm, which was a milestone contribution, reported in three basic papers. The LZ algorithm is an innovative and practical methodology that enables data compression and reconstruction in an efficient way, without assuming availability of the statistical characterization of the data. Apart of being highly innovative, based on solid and original theoretical grounds recognized by the most prestigious IT Society Best Paper Award, it has also strong interdisciplinary aspects, as well as immense practical implications.


The LZ compression algorithm has changed the very way communications and data storage and processing, are conceived. The LZ compression algorithm has had an unparalleled impact on the daily lives of computer users, as well as in innumerable operations of commercial electronic products worldwide. The evolutions of computing and communications technology continuously pose extremely severe demands on storage, bandwidth, and speed. LZ compression plays the pivotal role in meeting these demands, making the use of lossless data compression pervasive in day-to-day computing.


Among other most prestigious world-class recognitions Prof. Ziv is the recipient of the inaugural BBVA Foundation Frontiers in Knowledge Award in the category of Information and Communication Technologies for his seminal, groundbreaking data compression algorithm, which is present in virtually every computer in the world.


The scientific contribution of Prof. Ziv spans way beyond the LZ monumental achievement. His studies through the many years of his activity demonstrate deep insights and exceptional originality, and they immediately turn to be classical references, just after their publications. The impact of Prof. Ziv's technical contributions is profound, in the very meaning of this word. He is one of the very few whose fundamental contribution is world acclaimed, way beyond the professional circles of the information theory society or even the whole IEEE.


It is worth noting that Jacob has been recognized as a superior educational and administrative leader in his own country, serving as President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities as well as chair for the research funding entity for all its universities. Outside his country, he has been honored by foreign membership in four of the most prestigious U.S. Academies and has been otherwise recognized with honors in Germany, Italy, Spain and the European Union.