Browse Definitions :
Definition

Claude Shannon

Contributor(s): Jan Tangring

Claude Elwood Shannon, a mathematician born in Gaylord, Michigan (U.S.) in 1916, is credited with two important contributions to information technology: the application of Boolean theory to electronic switching, thus laying the groundwork for the digital computer, and developing the new field called information theory . It is difficult to overstate the impact which Claude Shannon has had on the 20th century and the way we live and work in it, yet he remains practically unknown to the general public. Shannon spent the bulk of his career, a span of over 30 years from 1941 to 1972, at Bell Labs where he worked as a mathematician dedicated to research.

While a graduate student at MIT in the late 1930s, Shannon worked for Vannevar Bush who was at that time building a mechanical computer, the Differential Analyser. Shannon had the insight to apply the two-valued Boolean logic to electrical circuits (which could be in either of two states - on or off). This syncretism of two hitherto distinct fields earned Shannon his MS in 1937 and his doctorate in 1940.

Not content with laying the logical foundations of both the modern telephone switch and the digital computer, Shannon went on to invent the discipline of information theory and revolutionize the field of communications. He developed the concept of entropy in communication systems, the idea that information is based on uncertainty. This concept says that the more uncertainty in a communication channel, the more information that can be transmitted and vice versa. Shannon used mathematics to define the capacity of any communications channel to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio . He envisioned the possibility of error-free communications for telecommunications, the Internet, and satellite systems.

A Mathematical Theory Of Communication , published in the Bell Systems Technical Journal in 1948, outlines the principles of his information theory. Information Theory also has important ramifications for the field of cryptography as explained in his 1949 paper Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems - in a nutshell, the more entropy a cryptographic system has, the harder the resulting encryption is to break.

Shannon's varied retirement interests included inventing unicycles, motorized pogo sticks, and chess-playing robots as well as juggling - he developed an equation describing the relationship between the position of the balls and the action of the hands. Claude Shannon died on February 24, 2001.

This was last updated in September 2005

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

  • Health IT (health information technology)

    Health IT (health information technology) is the area of IT involving the design, development, creation, use and maintenance of ...

  • fee-for-service (FFS)

    Fee-for-service (FFS) is a payment model in which doctors, hospitals, and medical practices charge separately for each service ...

  • biomedical informatics

    Biomedical informatics is the branch of health informatics that uses data to help clinicians, researchers and scientists improve ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • risk mitigation

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a data center.

  • ransomware recovery

    Ransomware recovery is the process of resuming options following a cyberattack that demands payment in exchange for unlocking ...

  • natural disaster recovery

    Natural disaster recovery is the process of recovering data and resuming business operations following a natural disaster.

SearchStorage

  • RAID 5

    RAID 5 is a redundant array of independent disks configuration that uses disk striping with parity.

  • non-volatile storage (NVS)

    Non-volatile storage (NVS) is a broad collection of technologies and devices that do not require a continuous power supply to ...

  • petabyte

    A petabyte is a measure of memory or data storage capacity that is equal to 2 to the 50th power of bytes.

Close