Oral-History:David G. Messerschmitt

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About David G. Messerschmitt

David G. Messerschmitt is a pioneer in the field of communications. His contributions include research on VLSI architecture for signal-processing problems, in particular its modeling and simulation in software, and the development of advanced software techniques, including Blosim and Ptolemy. Dr. Messerschmitt is currently the Roger A. Strauch Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley, and he has written or co-authored several pioneering textbooks, most recently Software Ecosystem: Understanding an Indispensable Technology and Industry with Clemens Szyperski (2003). He holds twelve patents, has published more than eighty journal articles, and at least 110 conference papers. Dr. Messerschmitt is a Fellow of the IEEE and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His papers and other contributions have won many IEEE awards, including the IEEE Communications Society's award for the best paper in 1981 and 1987, an award from the IEEE Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing Society in 1988, and the 1999 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal in 1999.

This interview details Dr. Messerschmitt’s prolific career, beginning with his education and his choice of electrical engineering as a profession. He discusses his work at Bell Labs, his early interest in computers and work on digital transmission, and communications theory and its applications. He also describes his decision to move to the University of California at Berkeley, his work with VLSI technologies, and the development of Blosim and Ptolemy. The interview concludes with a discussion of his most recent projects, his work with the National Science Foundation’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Cyberinfrastructure, and an assessment of his own career.

About the Interview

DAVID G. MESSERSCHMITT: An Interview Conducted by John Vardalas, IEEE History Center, 14 February 2003

Interview #425 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, Rutgers - the State University, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
David G. Messerschmitt, an oral history conducted in 2003 by John Vardalas, IEEE History Center, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.


Interview: David G. Messerschmitt
Interviewer: John Vardalas
Date: 14 February 2003
Place: Messerschmitt's office at the University of California at Berkeley