Donald L. Bitzer received his Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1960. He was Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois from 1960 to 1989 when he retired from the University of Illinois to become a Distinguished University Research Professor in the Computer Science Department at North Carolina State University.
Dr. Bitzer’s work has involved applying signal processing and coding theory to a variety of areas from radar signals and speech processing to the development of software and hardware required for large computer networks. The large educational computer systems “PLATO” and “NovaNet” are results of this research. His research led to the intelligent modems for telephone lines and cable systems as well as the flat plasma display panel now being used for television. More recently his research has been directed toward using signal processing and coding theory to look for genomic information that controls the translation process in protein production. He has been granted numerous patents in the computer and electronic areas.
Dr. Bitzer has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1974. He is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (since 1974), a Fellow in the American Association for Advancement of Science (since 1983), a Fellow in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (since (1976), a Fellow in the Association for Development of Computer Based Instructional systems (since 1986), and a Fellow of the International Engineering Consortium (since 1984).
Dr. Bitzer has received numerous awards and recognitions. In1967 he received the Industrial Research 100 Award, and in 1973 he received the prestigious Vladimir K. Zworkin Award of the National Academy of Engineering for "outstanding achievement in the field of electronics applied in the service of mankind". Other awards include the Chester F. Carlson Award (1981) from the American Society for Engineering Education for "Innovation in Engineering Education", the Computer Science Man of the Year (1975) from the Data Processing Management Association, and the Education Award (1989) from the American Federation of Information Processing Societies. In 1982 he was named Laureate of the Lincoln Academy by the State of Illinois for contributions made "for the betterment of human endeavor". In 2002 he received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Award for Scientific Development and Technical Achievement for his invention and development of plasma displays. The College of Engineering at the University of Illinois awarded him with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2004. In 2006 he was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.