Paul Bender, 33
The last decade has seen cell phones and wireless communication blossom from a tool for privileged executives to something close to a necessity for almost everyone. But the revolutionary impact of this wireless world will come only when more bandwidth is available to provide video, Internet and other services. One of the folks at the forefront of the search for bandwidth is Paul Bender. After completing his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego, he joined Qualcomm and started working on projects to improve the quality of wireless communications. Using a protocol called Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA),Bender developed new equipment to take maximum advantage of it, including a sophisticated processing system on a single chip that reduced the mass and cost of cell phones. He currently leads a project to develop high-speed wireless data access with only the amount of spectrum currently used for a few voice users. Movie studios could soon transmit digital versions of their films to theaters using such technologies. Qualcomm is impressed with Bender’s versatility. "What is remarkable is that he excels in four distinct areas of engineering: the design of hardware, the development of software, the creation of new and improved systems and the mathematical analyses of these systems," says Qualcomm vice chairman Andrew Viterbi.