The Israel Democracy Institute has renamed its renowned center for public opinion and research in honor of Dr. Andrew J. Viterbi.
The Viterbi family’s decision to make a landmark commitment of $5 million to the Center will ensure its future for decades to come. Headed by the prominent political scientist Prof. Tamar Hermann, the Center applies rigorous quantitative research methods to analyze Israeli public opinion and inform sound policy decisions. The Center is highly respected among Israeli decision-makers especially for the annual Israel Democracy Index, the monthly Israel Voice survey of public opinion, and a series of in-depth studies of the national religious and other sectors of society.
"I care deeply about Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state,” said Dr. Viterbi. “Recent experience has convinced me that democracy cannot be taken for granted. Those of us who care and have the opportunity to do something about it must take action. My family and I are honored to support IDI’s important work.”
Yohanan Plesner, the President of IDI, welcomed the Viterbi family’s decision: "With Israel reeling from the political, economic, and health effects of COVID-19, the data and insights generated by the Viterbi Center's experts are more important than ever. The Viterbi family’s contribution will enable us to build on the foundations established by the late Prof. Asher Arian and his successor Tamar Hermann, and transform the Viterbi Center into the most important source of policy-oriented data on Israeli society in the years ahead."
IDI Senior Fellow Professor Tamar Hermann, Director of the Viterbi Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, noted that "the data and insights generated by the experts at the Viterbi Center are placed at the disposal of everyone from the President of Israel and government agencies to researchers from around the world. Thanks to the generosity of the Viterbi family, we will be able to provide these important resources for generations to come."
The Viterbi Center's expansive archive of over 1,200 surveys spanning more than six decades, which is open to the public, will now be known as the Guttman Data Israel database, in honor of the late Professor Louis Guttman, who bequeathed the original collection of surveys to IDI.
About Andrew J. Viterbi:
Dr. Viterbi is Presidential Chair Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Southern California, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Technion and President of the Viterbi Group, LLC. He pursued intertwined careers in the field of wireless digital communication: in academia on the faculties of UCLA and UC San Diego, and in industry as co-founder of Linkabit Corp. and Qualcomm, Inc.
Arriving in the U.S. in 1939 as an immigrant child, he pursued his education at the Boston Latin School and MIT where he received SB and SM degrees in Electrical Engineering in 1957. Moving west to JPL just before the beginning of the Space Age, he performed space communication research until 1963, simultaneously completing his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California. Accepting a full-time faculty position at UCLA, over the next ten years he published dozens of papers and two textbooks, gaining considerable acclaim for an algorithm to ensure accurate transmission in the presence of heavy interference. Initially applied to space digital communication, over the next quarter century it was employed in numerous technological applications, including billions of digital cellular handsets as well as areas as diverse as speech recognition and DNA sequence alignment.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) is an independent center of research and action dedicated to strengthening the foundations of Israeli democracy. IDI works to bolster the values and institutions of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. A non-partisan think-and-do tank, the institute harnesses rigorous applied research to educate decision makers and help shape policy, legislation and public opinion. The institute partners with government, policy and decision makers, civil service and society, to improve the functioning of the government and its institutions, confront security threats while preserving civil liberties, and foster solidarity within Israeli society.