Claude Shannon- Father of Information Theory

There were many at Bell Labs and MIT who compared Shannon’s insight to Einstein’s.Others found that comparison unfair — unfair to Shannon. -William Poundstone

Claude Shannon was a mathematician and engineer known for his revolutionary work in the field of cryptography and communication. He set the benchmark for data transfer known as “the Shannon limit”. It was as revolutionary to the field of computers as the constant “c” was to physics. He worked out the mathematics of information transfer and that is a magnanimous contribution to the internet.

In his work “the mathematical theory of cryptography”, he established the basis to implement a completely secure point to point communication even in the case of a third party listening all the time. He devised methods which could be used to create unbreakable ciphers and laid the basis for the one time pad, a method used even today to provide authenticity and security.

He is known though for his next book, “ A mathematical theory of communication”, he brought together all kinds of communication under one roof as simply information transfer.He thought of messages in bits. This was another revolutionary idea. He then set the maximum speed at which one could transfer this information without data loss at a particular noise level. The Shannon limit is ridiculously difficult to reach. One more parallel it draws with the speed of light.

Shannon then went on to work on machines that could learn and work by themselves, laying the foundation for many a things in AI. He worked on building a robotic mouse that could traverse a maze by itself.

His training in mathematics and electrical engineering helped him bridge the gap between mathematics and computing to a great extent and provided a great impetus to the field of digital computing. Computing before and after Shannon’s work meant something very different.

Shannon’s work has helped make strides in varied fields from memory storage to space communication to the internet.

I just wondered how things were put together- Claude Shannon