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Prof. Holger Boche awarded the Leibniz Prize

New impulses for mobile communication technology – Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. rer. nat. Holger Boche, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut HHI, has been awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize 2008, worth €2.5 million, for his work on the mobile radio networks of the future.

Professor Boche specializes in data transmission for mobile communications. This doesn’t mean calls with a cell phone, which only generate a comparatively small amount of data (9 600 bits per second). Data transmission only starts to get exciting for the researcher when it involves billions of bits per second. The technical challenge lies in using as little space as possible to transmit these data packages, but at the same time ensure perfect reception. Everybody wants access to information – be it images, text, audio files or films – at all times and in all places. But that is only possible if the data transmissions are coordinated. This means that the base stations have to work together smoothly. This is no easy task when users are constantly on the move, going back and forth between the coverage zones of different base stations. All stations try to establish contact with the mobile device, to transmit or receive data packages. The larger these packages are, the faster the base stations reach the limits of their capacity. According to Holger Boche, therefore, any improvement to the transmission channels has a significant impact on mobile radio resources and thus also on the national economy – not later, but right now! This is why his studies include developing new mathematical methods that help to optimize transmission. In setting out its reasons for awarding the prize, the jury said: “The expansion of mobile radio technology has received many vital impulses from Holger Boche during the last few years. On the basis of his theoretical studies, Boche has widened his understanding of complex mobile communications systems and at the same time used his practical knowledge to set standards for new mobile radio systems”. The nomination committee selected this year’s prizewinners from among 158 nominations. Holger Boche studied information technology at the TU Dresden, supplementing his studies with mathematics from 1990 to 1992. Having obtained the respective diplomas, Boche went on to earn doctorates in both subjects, graduating with “summa cum laude”. In 2002 – at the age of 32 – Boche accepted a C4 professorship in mobile communications at the Technical University of Berlin. He has headed the Fraunhofer German-Sino Lab for Mobile Communications since 2003, and took on the joint directorship of the HHI together with Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Grallert in 2005. The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize The grant committee of the German Research Foundation DFG has chosen three female and eight male scientists to receive the accolade of the most prestigious research-funding prize in Germany. Leibniz prizewinners receive a grant of up to €2.5 million, which they can use flexibly according to the requirements of their research projects, over a period of up to seven years. The aim of the Leibniz program, which was set up in 1985, is to improve the working conditions of outstanding scientists, extend their opportunities to engage in research, relieve them of administrative tasks, and make it easier for them to take on particularly well-qualified junior scientists.

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