I attended a keynote speech by Irwin at ICASSP 2007 in Hawaii, and I kept a very good memory of him since then. I wish him well in his retirement!
As for Qualcomm, it was indeed "rapid innovation" for commercially relevant problems in Comms that pushed it to the front.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.