Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei presents the “Father of Polar Code” with an award.

It’s back to technology for Huawei as they presented Professor Erdal Arikan with an award recognising his achievements as “Father of Polar Code”.

Out with the random American claims and Trump’s trade war and tariffs; closing in on Apple, in the realm of smartphones is already history (that was last week’s news). Today, Huawei have presented Professor Arikan with an award recognizing his amazing contribution to the technology behind correct data transfers for 5G.

Since we are talking serious technology here, “polar” will have nothing to do with funny penguins or cuddly (while still potentially deadly) bears. We are entering a realm of data and coding which, while not open to all, can (and will) impact us all as users of technology.


What are we talking about?


Let’s look back to 1948. The father of information theory, Claude Shannon, determined a limit for the speed at which we can transmit data, error-free. The faster you send data, the more errors you might have. For anybody out there, try to picture yourself doing any task a lot faster than you should…. You usually miss a step or lose something along the way.

In 2008, Professor Arikan invented polar codes, which were an entirely new approach to correcting transmission errors.

Polar coding was believed to be the first coding scheme to approach channel capacity as defined by Claude Shannon with a theoretically proven guarantee and resolved the challenge that had plagued the field of information theory for nearly 60 years.

Starting in 2010, Huawei began working with Dr. Arikan to take polar codes from theory to practical application. Now polar codes are a 5G standard (decided by 3GPP).

And polar codes bring us right up to the edge of Shannon’s limit.


Why does it matter?


In a word, 5G.

Basic research is key to industry development. Theoretical breakthroughs, often made after decades of focused scientific effort, help set the direction of technological progress. LDPC codes (which are used to correct errors during information transfer) were first introduced by US professor Robert Gallager in 1963. Decades later in 2008, a Turkish professor at Bilkent University, Erdan Arikan, proposed an improvement to LDPCs known as polar codes.

5G will support 100 billion connected cellular devices, a number much larger than what a 2G, 3G, or 4G network can support. With a larger market, holders of 5G standard-essential patents are able to get reasonable returns from their R&D investment.


What is Huawei’s contribution?


Huawei is presenting an award to Professor Arikan in “recognition of his work as an outstanding scientist, and in tribute to his practical spirit and dedication”.

Turkish professor Dr. Erdal Arikan, from Bilkent University, visited Huawei’s global headquarters in Shenzhen yesterday and met with Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

Quite importantly, in the current environment, Huawei reiterated, on this occasion, that they follow the “FRAND” principle for 5G standard-essential patents.

Huawei is a major 5G standards contributor and patent holder which gives them a leading position on the worldwide stage. They have, however, committed to following the FRAND principle – Fair, Reasonable, and Non-discriminatory – “as they have always done in the past”.

The future of 5G will be with Huawei or not be. From an external observer point of view, one can but notice that the discourse has not changed. For the past few years, through the growth stages and through adversity, Huawei tends to stick to the principles of Mr Ren and work towards bettering the world through collaboration.

And recognizing others’ contribution. Here is to you, Professor Arikan!



As a KOL (Key Opinion Leader) for Huawei, I can be invited to take part in various corporate events both produced by Huawei, as well as any other corporation. While Huawei, partners or other corporations may cover my travel expenses to these events, I’m not a paid spokesperson for Huawei or any other company; as such, nothing I say or write about is in any way required, nor forced by Huawei. My opinions whether related to products or companies, both positive and negative, are mine; and mine alone.

Also published on Medium.