An Indian American electrical engineer and his team of post-doctoral students are among the finalists named by the European Patent Office for the 2016 European Inventor Award.

Arogyaswami Paulraj, a 72-year-old teacher at Stanford University, along with his support team of David Gesbert and Robert Heath, were chosen as one of three finalists in the award’s non-European countries category.

The European Inventor Award, in its 11th year, honors individuals or teams of inventors whose pioneering inventions provide answers to some of the biggest challenges of the current times, according to the EPO.

Broken up into five categories — industry, small and medium size enterprises, research, non-European countries and lifetime achievement — winners are chosen by an independent jury of international authorities within the fields of business, politics, science, academia and research.

The Paulraj team was chosen for its faster wireless connectivity.

“The European Inventor Award showcases a diverse group of inventors — men and women from a wide range of countries and disciplines, whose innovations have had a positive effect on millions of lives," said EPO president Benoît Battistelli in a statement. "European patent protection helps foster this innovative diversity by maintaining conditions for inventors from around the world to realize their creativity, and ensuring that innovators, investors and entrepreneurs are able to benefit from their efforts."

EPO said of Paulraj in its release, “The success of fast mobile broadband relies on the contributions of many inventors, but few have had played such an integral role as Paulraj and his team at Stanford University.”

Paulraj, who emigrated to the U.S. in 1991 to teach at Stanford University, was formerly an Indian Naval Commodore. He created a multiplexing technique that became known as MIMO, which splits radio signals into smaller parts that are transmitted and received by multiple antennae, the EPO said.

MIMO opened the door for sending large amounts of data over frequencies with limited bandwidth, it added.

“Once you have a two-by-two system (four antennae) you get twice the throughput,” Paulraj told EPO. “A four-by-four system creates four times the throughput. In cellular communications or in Wi-Fi, where spectrum is very, very limited, if you have multiple antennae you can increase the speed of the link.”

Added Battistelli of Paulraj’s feats, “The technology developed by Arogyaswami Paulraj and his team has contributed significantly to faster wireless data transmission, one of the cornerstones of the digital era. In doing so they have helped us all connect faster.”

Today, MIMO is a core technology used in all modern wireless networks. Without it, high-speed Internet connections embodied in 4G LTE cellular and the latest Wi-Fi networks would not be possible, the EPO release noted.

The 15 finalists for the award, hailing from 13 countries, were pared down from 400. EPO will announce the winners of the European Inventor Award categories June 9 in Lisbon, Portugal.

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