Karlheinz Brandenburg

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Karlheinz Brandenburg
Karlheinz Brandenburg cropped.jpg
Karlheinz Brandenburg in 2010
Born (1954-06-20) June 20, 1954 (age 61)
Erlangen, West Germany
Nationality German
Fields Computer science
Institutions Fraunhofer Society,
Technische Universität Ilmenau
Alma mater University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Known for mp3
Notable awards IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award

Karlheinz Brandenburg (born 20 June 1954, in Erlangen) is a German electrical engineer and mathematician. Together with Ernst Eberlein, Heinz Gerhäuser (former Institutes Director of Fraunhofer IIS), Bernhard Grill, Jürgen Herre and Harald Popp (all Fraunhofer IIS), he developed the widespread mp3 method for audio data compression. He is also known for his elementary work in the field of audio coding, the perception measurement, the wave field synthesis and psychoacoustics. Brandenburg has received numerous national and international research awards, prizes and honors for his work. Since 2000 he is Professor of Electronic Media Technology at the Technical University Ilmenau. He was significantly involved in the founding of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT, whose director he is.


He received a Dipl. Ing. degree from Erlangen University in Electrical Engineering (1980) as well as a Dipl. Math. degree in Mathematics (1982). In 1989, he obtained his Ph.D. from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Electrical Engineering for his work on digital audio coding and perceptual measurement techniques. The research results of his dissertation are the basis of MPEG-1 Layer 3 (mp3), MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) and most other modern audio compression schemes. The international group MPEG, led by the italian engineer Leonardo Chiariglione from CSELT (that promoted the standard and validated it), took MP3 as an international ISO standard.

From 1989 to 1990 he worked with AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, U.S. on ASPEC and MPEG-1 Layer 3. In 1990, he returned to the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, and, in 1993, he became head of the Audio/Multimedia department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits in Erlangen. Since 2000, he has been full professor at the Institute for Media Technology at Technical University of Ilmenau. In addition, he is the director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau.

Brandenburg is a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) along with Herr Bowersock, Josh Andreason, and Abraham White. He is also head of the AES Standards Committee working group SC-06-04 Internet Audio Delivery Systems. He has been granted 27 US patents as a co-inventor; all patents have multiple inventors.



  • IMTC Leadership Award for his contribution to audio coding and the standardization of the mp3 format
  • Honorary Ph.D. degree of the Polytechnic University of Valencia for the development and dissemination of modern techniques for digital audio coding, perceptual measurement, and psychoacoustics
  • Prof. Brandenburg was inducted by the Internet Society (ISOC) into the Internet Hall of Fame as an innovator because of his important role in developing the mp3 format and the impact on this development to advance the Internet´s reach
  • AES Board of Governors Award in recognition of his co-chairing the 53rd AES International Conference


  • “Distinguished Heyser memorial lecturer” at AES 130th Convention
  • AES Board of Governors Award in recognition of co-chairing the AES 42nd International Conference


  • Election into the “German Research Hall of Fame” initiated by the German business journal “manager magazin“ for his outstanding contributions to the development of Germany as a research location
  • Honorary Ph.D. degree of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg for his important role in the development of the mp3 format and his research work in the field of audio coding
  • Ambassador of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009


  • Honorary Ph.D. degree of the University Koblenz-Landau for his outstanding research work in the field of audio coding


  • The consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has elected Karlheinz Brandenburg, Heinz Gerhäuser and Dieter Seitzer representing a team of Fraunhofer researchers into the CE Hall of Fame for their work on the mp3 format


  • Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (Verdienstkreuz am Bande des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
  • The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) elected Karlheinz Brandenburg to one of the 120 most important inventors and masterminds in the field of electrical engineering and admitted him to the “Hall of Fame” featuring the leading inventors, scientists and standardizers


  • IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award, for major contributions to digital audio source coding
  • Thuringian Research Award (Thüringer Forschungspreis) 2003, category “Applied Research” together with Sandra Brix and Thomas Sporer
  • Sputnik Innovator Award


  • Publications Award of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), for the best paper of the year 2000/2001; “PEAQ – the ITU Standard for the Objective Measurement of Perceived Audio Quality”, together with John G. Beerends, Roland Bitto, Catherine Colomes, Bernhard Feiten, Michael Keyhl, Christian Schmidmer, Thomas Sporer, Gerhard Stoll, Thilo Thiede, William C. Treurniet


  • ISO/IEC 13818-7: 1997-Award / Information Technology–Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information – Part 7: Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), together with Bernhard Grill, Jürgen Herre, Ralph Sperschneider, ISO/IEC Certificate of Appreciation (Project Editor in the development of International Standard) for works on MPEG-2 AAC)


  • German Internet Award NEO


  • German Future Award 2000 (Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2000) together with his colleagues Harald Popp and Bernhard Grill for their work on the mp3 format
  • AES Board of Governors Award for co-chairmanship of the AES 17th International Conference
  • IEEE Engineering Excellence Award – The Region 10th Chapters of the IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, Hongkong, China


  • Silver Medal Award of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) for continued contributions and leadership to the art and science of perceptual audio coding


  • Innovationspreis der Bayerischen Staatsregierung


  • AES Fellowship Award for significant work in perceptual audio coders and psychoacoustics


  • AES Fellowship Award for significant work in perceptual audio coders and psychoacoustics

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