Hari Balakrishnan awarded Marconi Prize, the highest honor in communications technology


An Indian American professor, Hari Balakrishnan, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been awarded the 2023 Marconi Prize.

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Balakrishnan is the Fujitsu Professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Presented annually to ‘innovators who have made significant contributions to increasing digital inclusivity through the advancement of information and communications technology,” Marcony award is the top honor within the field of communications technology.

Balakrishnan has been a distinguished alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, where he completed his BTech in 1993, and a principal investigator in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).

“Hari’s unique contributions have shaped the course of research and discovery in multiple fields, saved lives, and enabled users to have better experiences with network-based services,” says Vint Cerf, chair of the Marconi Society and 1998 Marconi fellow. “His focus on scientific excellence that creates positive impact at scale, along with his humanitarian contributions, makes him a perfect choice for the Marconi Prize,” he continued.

Balakrishnan’s research has focused mainly on improving the reliability, performance, and efficiency of computer systems, with special emphasis on networking, mobile computing, and distributed systems. Currently, his research focuses on networking, sensing, and perception for sensor-equipped mobile devices connected to edge and cloud services, and on designing architectures for more resilient networked systems.

His research in networking – the techniques he developed to understand and improve the performance of data transport over wireless networks, has led to better communication protocols for mobile devices communicating over the internet

Balakrishnan has made significant contributions to network congestion control, overlay and peer-to-peer networks, robust routing, and internet architecture, developing methods that have found their way into several commercial products and network standards.

He has also developed new ways to improve the reliability and performance of large-scale distributed systems, which are computer systems with multiple independent components that work together on a shared goal.

Balakrishnan received his PhD in 1998 from the University of California at Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, naming him a distinguished alumnus in 2021.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering and to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the prestigious Infosys prize in Engineering and Computer Science, and also awarded the SIGCOMM Lifetime Achievement Award.

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