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Claude Shannon Documentary Coming from IEEE

Claude Shannon

By Hatti Hamlin

Communications Theory pioneer Claude Shannon won the first Marconi Society Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. 2016 is Shannon’s centennial year and the IEEE Information Theory Society is producing a TV documentary on his life and legacy. The Marconi Society is glad to see the recognition and encourages you to support their effort. That’s the IEEE page Claude Shannon’s 100th Birthday Celebration Fund.

Many Marconi Fellows were inspired by Shannon’s work. 2006 Fellow Claude Berrou developed Turbo Codes, which allowed communication close to the limits of Shannon’s Law.

2014 Fellow Arogyaswami Paulraj’s MIMO delivers wireless signals that carry more data in a given amount of spectrum than Shannon’s Law would seem to allow. MIMO uses spatial division multiplexing to send multiple signals, each of which are limited by Shannon’s Law. Marconi Board member and Stanford Professor Andrea Goldsmith has identified extending Shannon’s Law to multiple signals as a crucial problem and has contributed to that effort. 2012 Fellow Henry Samueli in a Marconi webinar predicted that sending 50 signals in the same frequency would soon be possible.

Here is a profile written for the Marconi Society on Shannon’s death in 2001.
The Foundation in the fall of 2000 honored Dr. Claude Shannon for his lifetime achievement in information theory. Much of his general theory was conceived by Shannon a few years after the death in the late ‘thirties of Guglielmo Marconi. Shannon’s discoveries, like Marconi’s, are among the significant intellectual accomplishments of the twentieth century.

As a young graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Claude Shannon was stimulated by his then professor, Vannevar Bush, to develop the Differential Analyzer, which he did in part by turning to electrical circuits instead of mechanical parts. Early on, he measured information by binary digits, with their yes/no concepts, and conceived the term “bit”. By the time he was 21, in 1937, he was imaginatively using Boolean algebraic principles for his scientific and technical propositions. Soon, some of his discoveries were utilized for telephone systems. His master’s thesis was “A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits”. His brilliant research career at Bell Labs started in 1941.

Shannon’s concepts underlie the information society in which we live. His book, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, has been proclaimed the Magna Carta of the information age, and was and still is instrumental in fields as varied as computer science, genetics, linguistics and neuroanatomy.

An engineer with a philosophical bent, his analysis of information (and his sense of the distinction between information and meaning) range across communications media, including radio, television, telephone, computers, cryptography and servomechanisms. His findings provide a key knowledge base for the discipline of communication engineering, and his insights into coding and error-correction shaped the work of a generation of scientists, engineers and designers of information systems. His 1949 essay, “Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems” helped transform cryptography into a science.

On the M.I.T. faculty, Shannon became the distinguished Donner Professor of Science, and given his breadth, he steadily outlined experimental horizons for future analysis. He divided his career years between M.I.T. and Bell Labs (itself a unique research center), where his brilliance and insights set standards for his colleagues, and standards which persist. His numerous awards include the National Medal of Science and the Kyoto Prize in Basic Science. Claude Shannon is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Engineering and in London, a Fellow of the Royal Society. In recent days, a statue of Shannon was erected in his home state of Michigan, where his first degrees came from the University of Michigan. A casting of that statue has also been placed at Bell Labs.

In May 1998, Lucent Technologies’ Bell Laboratories marked the importance of Shannon’s work and the 50th anniversary of Information Theory with a special symposium. About half of the participants who spoke there were recipients over the years of the Marconi Foundation’s research Fellowships.

This Foundation, recognizing that very many of its Fellows and others associated with it were mentored by him, and convinced that Shannon’s information theories provided bases for communications in many areas of activity, bestowed upon him the distinction of the Lifetime Achievement Award. This was the first award of this kind ever conferred by the Marconi Foundation.

The Foundation in the fall of 2000 honored Dr. Claude Shannon for his lifetime achievement in information theory. Much of his general theory was conceived by Shannon a few years after the death in the late ‘thirties of Guglielmo Marconi. Shannon’s discoveries, like Marconi’s, are among the significant intellectual accomplishments of the twentieth century.

As a young graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Claude Shannon was stimulated by his then professor, Vannevar Bush, to develop the Differential Analyzer, which he did in part by turning to electrical circuits instead of mechanical parts. Early on, he measured information by binary digits, with their yes/no concepts, and conceived the term “bit”. By the time he was 21, in 1937, he was imaginatively using Boolean algebraic principles for his scientific and technical propositions. Soon, some of his discoveries were utilized for telephone systems. His master’s thesis was “A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits”. His brilliant research career at Bell Labs started in 1941.

Shannon’s concepts underlie the information society in which we live. His book, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, has been proclaimed the Magna Carta of the information age, and was and still is instrumental in fields as varied as computer science, genetics, linguistics and neuroanatomy.

An engineer with a philosophical bent, his analysis of information (and his sense of the distinction between information and meaning) range across communications media, including radio, television, telephone, computers, cryptography and servomechanisms. His findings provide a key knowledge base for the discipline of communication engineering, and his insights into coding and error-correction shaped the work of a generation of scientists, engineers and designers of information systems. His 1949 essay, “Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems” helped transform cryptography into a science.

On the M.I.T. faculty, Shannon became the distinguished Donner Professor of Science, and given his breadth, he steadily outlined experimental horizons for future analysis. He divided his career years between M.I.T. and Bell Labs (itself a unique research center), where his brilliance and insights set standards for his colleagues, and standards which persist. His numerous awards include the National Medal of Science and the Kyoto Prize in Basic Science. Claude Shannon is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Engineering-and in London, a Fellow of the Royal Society. In recent days, a statue of Shannon was erected in his home state of Michigan, where his first degrees came from the University of Michigan. A casting of that statue has also been placed at Bell Labs.

In May 1998, Lucent Technologies’ Bell Laboratories marked the importance of Shannon’s work and the 50th anniversary of Information Theory with a special symposium. About half of the participants who spoke there were recipients over the years of the Marconi Foundation’s research Fellowships.

This Foundation, recognizing that very many of its Fellows and others associated with it were mentored by him, and convinced that Shannon’s information theories provided bases for communications in many areas of activity, bestowed upon him the distinction of the Lifetime Achievement Award. This was the first award of this kind ever conferred by the Marconi Foundation.