The mp3 team

mp3 is the result of many years of team work. Numerous individuals and research organizations supported the team at Fraunhofer IIS in the development of mp3.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Brandenburg

Karlheinz Brandenburg, Director of Fraunhofer IDMT

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Brandenburg studied electrical engineering and mathematics at Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen. In 1989 he received his Ph.D. from the faculty of engineering for his work on digital audio coding and perceptual measurement techniques. The research results of his dissertation are the basis of mp3 and most other modern audio compression schemes. He continued to work on audio coding and was a delegate to the MPEG-Audio group during the definition of MPEG Layer-3 and AAC. From 1993 to 2000, he was head of the Audio/Multimedia department at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen. During this time, he was responsible for the development and successful marketing of audio coding technologies. Today, Karlheinz Brandenburg is the director of Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau. In 2000, together with Harald Popp and Bernhard Grill, both representatives of the team at Fraunhofer IIS, Brandenburg was honored with the »Deutscher Zukunftspreis« for their invention of mp3. In 2007, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) elected Karlheinz Brandenburg, Dieter Seitzer and Heinz Gerhäuser representing a team of Fraunhofer researchers, into the CE Hall of Fame for their work on mp3. Since 2014, Brandenburg is also a member of the Internet Hall of Fame.

Dipl.-Ing. Ernst Eberlein

Ernst Eberlein

Dipl.-Ing. Ernst Eberlein graduated as Engineer from the University in Erlangen and joined Fraunhofer IIS in 1985. From 1987 until 1994 he supported the audio and multimedia department of Fraunhofer IIS. As group leader he was involved in the development of the audio coding scheme mp3. Hardware and software implementations of mp3 were also within his scope of work. In 1992 he received the »Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Award« together with Bernhard Grill and Jürgen Herre for their contributions to the mp3 technology. In 1995, Ernst Eberlein started working on the physical layer of digital communication systems. He was heavily involved in the design and implementation of satellite-based digital radio systems for mobile reception. In 2002, the results of his work were elected to the Space Technology Hall of Fame. After 28 years at Fraunhofer IIS, he now works as freelance consultant.

Prof. Dr. Heinz Gerhäuser

Heinz Gerhäuser, director of the Fraunhofer Institute IIS from 1993-2011, © Fraunhofer IIS/Glasow

Prof. Dr. Heinz Gerhäuser studied Electrical Engineering at the Ohm-Polytechnikum Nuremberg and at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. His main field of research was audio coding and its hardware implementation. In 1980 he developed a digital signal processor, which was capable to code audio in real-time. He was directly involved in the development of real-time implementations of mp3 predecessors. In 1985 he was chosen to be the deputy head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. From 1993 until 2011, he was the institute's director. In 2001 he was awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit for his achievements. As representatives of a team of Fraunhofer researchers, Heinz Gerhäuser, Karlheinz Brandenburg and Dieter Seitzer were elected into the CE Hall of Fame for their work on mp3 in 2007 by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Grill

Bernhard Grill, Head of Audio & Multimedia, © Fraunhofer IIS/Frank Boxler

Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Grill studied Electrical Engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. From 1988 till 1995, he engaged in the development and implementation of audio coding algorithms at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen. For their contributions to the mp3 technology Grill as well as Jürgen Herre and Ernst Eberlein received the »Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Award« in 1992. In 2000, Bernhard Grill took over as head of the Audio department at Fraunhofer IIS. Together with Harald Popp and Karlheinz Brandenburg, he was honored with the »Deutscher Zukunftspreis« of the year 2000 for the invention of mp3. Today, Grill is the director of Fraunhofer IIS, with focus on the Audio and Media Technologies division, which he also leads. He is now responsible for the successful development and commercial application of new audio coding algorithms and associated technologies.

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Herre

Jürgen Herre, Chief Executive Scientist at Audio & Multimedia, © Fraunhofer IIS/Michael Eckstein

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Herre studied Electrical Engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg. In 1989, he started his research career at Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS where he was – and still is – responsible for the development of audio coding algorithms, including mp3 and its numerous successors. For their contributions to the mp3 technology, Herre, as well as Bernhard Grill and Ernst Eberlein, received the » Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Award« in 1992. In 1995 Jürgen Herre received the PhD degree and joined »Bell Laboratories« for a term working on MPEG-2 Advanced Audio Coding. Since 2000, he has been the Audio & Media Technologies division's Chief Executive Scientist at Fraunhofer IIS, heading the development activities on MPEG-4 und MPEG-7 Audio, mp3 Surround, MPEG Surround and MPEG Spatial Audio Object Coding (SAOC). In September 2010, Prof. Herre was called to start a professorship at "International Audio Laboratories Erlangen", a joint institution of Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg and Fraunhofer IIS, on the topic of audio coding.

Dipl.-Ing. Harald Popp

Harald Popp, Head of Business at Audio & Multimedia, © Fraunhofer IIS/Michael Eckstein

Dipl.-Ing. Harald Popp finished his studies of Electrical Engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg in 1981. Since 1985, he was with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. In the late 1980s, he was responsible for the development of multi-DSP-based real-time systems for audio coding. The reliable high-performance hardware was the key to the successful use of the new audio coding algorithms in first commercial applications, e.g. in professional studio equipment (»ASPEC 91«) for high quality audio transport via ISDN lines. From 1990 to 1997, Harald Popp was head of the hardware group within the Audio and Multimedia department; from 1998 to 2003, he was head of the studio department. His contribution to the worldwide marketing and licensing of the audio formats mp3 and AAC was substantial. Together with Bernhard Grill and Karlheinz Brandenburg, he was honored with the »Deutscher Zukunftspreis« in 2000 for the invention of mp3. Until his retirement in 2018, Harald Popp led the Business department of the Audio and Media Technologies division at Fraunhofer IIS. Together with Bernhard Grill, he was responsible for the successful development and commercial application of new audio coding algorithms and associated technologies.

Supporting team at Fraunhofer IIS

Rainer Buchta, Martin Dietz, Wolfgang Fiesel, Johannes Hilpert, Michael Keyhl, Stefan Krägeloh, Christian Scherl, Hartmut Schott, Dieter Seitzer, Martin Sieler, Thomas Sporer, Anton Thimet, Jürgen Zeller, Gerhard Zimmer

Further contributions

Like many other technology developments, mp3 was based on previous research and scientific findings. Other organizations also did research on audio coding. During the mp3 standardization, many individuals outside Fraunhofer provided important contributions, including: Steve Church, James D. Johnston, Bernd Edler, Schuyler Quackenbush, Dagfinn Bach, Detlef Krahe, Ernst F. Schroeder, Walter Voessing, Jens Spille, Hans-Georg Musmann, Peter Noll and other members of the MPEG audio group from 1989 to 1991.