The Institute - December 2021 - 55

THE LACK OF an engineering role
model while he was growing up didn't
hinder Broadcom cofounder Henry
Samueli from having a storied engineering
career. Samueli founded the
company in 1991 with one of his Ph.D.
students, Henry T. Nicholas, while he
was an engineering professor at the
University of California, Los Angeles.
The two conceived digital signal
processing architectures for broadband
communications chips and
designed the world's first chips for
digital interactive television. After
forming Broadcom, they built the
world's first digital cable set-top-box
modem chipset, which served as the
cable signal receiver for the digital box,
according to a 1999 profile of Samueli
in IEEE Spectrum.
Today Broadcom is one of the largest
producers of chips used in communications
and networking equipment. Based
in San Jose, Calif., the company merged
with Avago Technologies in 2016. Samueli
serves as chairman of the board.
Samueli is also a well-known
philanthropist. Forbes estimates his
worth to be more than US $6 billion,
and he and his wife, Susan [left], are
members of the Giving Pledge. The
group consists of many of the world's
leading philanthropists, who promise
to give away the majority of their
money during their lifetime.
The couple are doing that through
the Samueli Foundation, which
supports science, technology, engineering,
and math education; integrative
health; youth services; and social
justice programs, mostly in California.
" It is important for philanthropists
to find a focus for their giving, " Samueli
says. " If you gave a dollar to every
person in the world, you would have
given away $7 billion and accomplished
very little. Or you can focus and give
much larger gifts to a few programs
that will have a huge impact. "
The IEEE Fellow has received many
honors, including this year's IEEE
Founders Medal for " leadership in
research, development, and commercialization
of broadband communication
and networking technology with global
impact. " The medal is sponsored by
the IEEE Richard and Mary Jo Stanley
Memorial Fund of the IEEE Foundation.
Photo-illustration by Max-o-matic
" I'm very humbled, " Samueli says.
" It's an incredible honor for me to be
included in this remarkable group of
individuals. "
Worthwhile causes
Samueli has been generous to his
alma mater, UCLA, among other institutions.
He became an EE professor at
the university in 1985. He took a leave
of absence in 1995 to be at Broadcom
full time.
UCLA's engineering school in 2000
was named for him after he donated
$30 million. In 2019 the Samueli Foundation
donated $100 million more, the
school's largest gift ever.
Samueli doesn't give anonymously.
He and his wife believe it is
important to have their
philanthropy be visible
because, he says, " We
want to set an example
and motivate others to
get involved in philanthropy
and be proud to
show it. "
Another university
emigrated after surviving the Holocaust.
He grew up in Los Angeles and
as a teenager worked in his parents'
liquor/grocery store, where he stocked
shelves, operated the cash register, and
helped out with the bookkeeping.
A hands-on project inspired him
to become an engineer, he says. In a
seventh-grade shop class at Bancroft
Middle School, in Los Angeles, he built
an AM/FM shortwave radio using a
Heathkit DIY electronics kit.
Chairman of the
Member grade
that has benefited
from his generosity
is the University of
California, Irvine. In
2017 the Samueli Foundation
donated $200
million, the largest gift
in the university's history. The Samuelis
also provided $30 million to help
fund the construction of the newly
opened interdisciplinary science and
engineering building.
Another program close to SamuAlma
University of
Los Angeles
Leadership skills
Samueli says he and Nicholas divided
the responsibilities of Broadcom
early on. Samueli was the CTO, and
Nicholas took on the role of CEO.
They hired seasoned professionals to
do jobs they themselves
had no experience
in, such as finance,
human resources, and
" In the early days
of a startup, having
common sense and good
judgment carries you a
long way, " Samueli says.
" The most important
thing is developing good
technology and building
a customer base. It
isn't until you become
more mature and start
growing your revenues that you need
to think more about how to properly
structure the organization and add
general and administrative functions. "
eli's heart is the Samueli Academy, in
Santa Ana, an underserved community
in Orange County, Calif. The public
charter school is for middle school and
high school students, some of whom
live in foster-care homes. Samueli
says the school uses a project-based
learning approach, whereby students
collaborate to solve complex problems
using critical thinking.
" Many are pursuing STEM careers, "
he proudly says of the school's alumni.
" It's all because of this hands-on
project-based learning curriculum. "
Samueli himself came from a
humble background. His parents were
Jewish immigrants from Poland who
An essential service
Samueli joined IEEE when he was
a UCLA undergraduate, he says,
because he wanted to have access to
research of faculty and students from
around the world.
" The only way to get that access
was to subscribe to IEEE journals, "
he says. " Plus, IEEE gave tremendous
discounts to students, so it cost
almost nothing. The subscription
was critical in the early days of my
research program. "
Samueli made sure Broadcom had a
subscription to the entire IEEE Xplore
Digital Library because he says, " As an
R&D engineer you can't survive without
access to the IEEE library. "
55 and IRVINE%2C Calif. %2C,values the combined company at

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