Claude Elwood Shannon

Claude Elwood Shannon

Birth
Petoskey, Emmet County, Michigan, USA
Death
24 Feb 2001 (aged 84)
Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial
Gaylord, Otsego County, Michigan, USA
Memorial ID
134231330 View Source

CLAUDE SHANNON: ONE OF THE MOST IM[ORTANT
AND WELL KNOWN SCIENTIST OF THE 21ST CENTURY
BORN IN PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN

Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University said, "Shannon's thesis was "possibly the most important, and also the most famous, Master's thesis of the century. Were it not for him, we would not be sending e-mails and talking on cell phones. His theories and discoveries in the 1940s made today's telecommunications industry possible."

Claude E. Shannon was born in Petoskey, Michigan, but spent most of his first sixteen years in the neighboring community of Gaylord. It was there he grew up and attended school. His mother was principal of the high school, and his namesake, Claude E. Shannon, a Federal Judge.

His best subjects were science and mathematics. He constructed models of planes, radio-controlled boats and a telegraph system from his house to a friend's house half a mile away. Like his grandfather who invented the washing machine, and his distant relative Thomas Edison, Claude liked to assemble radios and experiment with Morse Code. Prior to graduating in 1932 from Gaylord High School, Claude delivered telegrams for Western Union.

Mr. Shannon is the first person to discover that information can be broken down into a series of 0's and 1's and transferred over a wire. In his landmark 1948 publication "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," he theorized that it was possible to reduce all communications to strings of 0s and 1s and use them to transfer messages without errors over long distances.

Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University said, "Shannon's thesis was "possibly the most important, and also the most famous, Master's thesis of the century. Were it not for him, we would not be sending e-mails and talking on cell phones. His theories and discoveries in the 1940s made today's telecommunications industry possible." All of today's communication lines are measured in bits per second, a notion he set forth in his famous "Channel Capacity" theorem. His binary code is central to the now-commonplace technology that delivers the Internet with sound and pictures to homes around the world.

In 1936 he earned a SB in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He came to MIT as a visiting professor in 1956. From 1958 to 1978, he was MIT's Donor Professor of Science. In 1978, he became a professor emeritus. Professor Emeritus Robert G. Gallager '57, who worked with him, told The New York Times. "Shannon was the person who saw that the binary digit was the fundamental element in all of communication. That was really his discovery, and from it the whole communications revolution has sprung." His Master's thesis, "A Symbolic Analysis of Real and Switching Circuits," established the theoretical foundation for digital circuits using Boolean algebra, in which problems are solved by manipulating 0s and 1s. His doctoral thesis was on theoretical genetics.

While he was a graduate student at MIT, Shannon worked with Professor Vannevar Bush on his differential analyzer, an analog computer that used a complex system of shafts, wheels, and gears to solve calculus equations. Bush reported, "Shannon was a noted cryptographer. He and his teams work on anti-aircraft directors was crucial in defending England from German rockets during Germany's blitz of England. His 1949 paper, 'Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems,' has transformed cryptography from an art to a science." Other projects were developed including a device that could solve a Rubik's Cube, a chess-playing computer, and an electronic mouse that could run a maze. His work is known throughout the world as a major contribution to the field of artificial intelligence.

In the 1950s, Shannon turned his efforts to developing what was then called "intelligent machines"--mechanisms that emulated the operations of the human mind to solve problems. Of his inventions during that time, the best known was a maze-solving mouse called Theseus, which used magnetic relays to learn how to maneuver through a metal maze.

During a visit to the United States, during the World war II, Alan Turing, a leading British mathematician spent a few months with Shannon working with Shannon. Both scientists were interested in the possibility of building a machine that could imitate the human brain. They worked together to build an encrypted voice phone that would allow Roosevelt to have a secure transatlantic conversation with Churchill.

Shannon's information theories eventually saw application in a number of disciplines in which language is a factor, including linguistics, phonetics, psychology and cryptography, which was an early love of Shannon's.

His theories also became a cornerstone of the developing field of artificial intelligence, and in 1956 he was instrumental in convening a conference at Dartmouth College that was the first major effort in organizing artificial intelligence research. He wrote a paper entitled "Programming a computer for playing chess" in 1950, and developed a chess playing computer. Many years later, in 1965, he met the world chess champion Pichail Botvinnik (also and electrical engineer), and played a match with him.

Robert G. Gallager, a professor of electrical engineering who worked with Shannon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is quoted as saying, "Shannon was the person who saw that the binary digit was the fundamental element in all of communication. That was really his discovery, and from it the whole communications revolution has sprung."

Marvin Minsky of M.I.T., who as a young theorist worked closely with Shannon, was struck by his enthusiasm and enterprise. "Whatever came up, he engaged it with joy, and he attacked it with some surprising resource--which might be some new kind of technical concept or a hammer and saw with some scraps of wood. For him, the harder a problem might seem, the better the chance to find something new. Every modem, every compressed file, every error correcting code owes something to Shannon."

Shannon was survived by his three children: Robert James, Andrew Moore, and Margarita Catherine, and by his wife Mary Elizabeth Moore.

CLAUDE SHANNON: ONE OF THE MOST IM[ORTANT
AND WELL KNOWN SCIENTIST OF THE 21ST CENTURY
BORN IN PETOSKEY, MICHIGAN

Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University said, "Shannon's thesis was "possibly the most important, and also the most famous, Master's thesis of the century. Were it not for him, we would not be sending e-mails and talking on cell phones. His theories and discoveries in the 1940s made today's telecommunications industry possible."

Claude E. Shannon was born in Petoskey, Michigan, but spent most of his first sixteen years in the neighboring community of Gaylord. It was there he grew up and attended school. His mother was principal of the high school, and his namesake, Claude E. Shannon, a Federal Judge.

His best subjects were science and mathematics. He constructed models of planes, radio-controlled boats and a telegraph system from his house to a friend's house half a mile away. Like his grandfather who invented the washing machine, and his distant relative Thomas Edison, Claude liked to assemble radios and experiment with Morse Code. Prior to graduating in 1932 from Gaylord High School, Claude delivered telegrams for Western Union.

Mr. Shannon is the first person to discover that information can be broken down into a series of 0's and 1's and transferred over a wire. In his landmark 1948 publication "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," he theorized that it was possible to reduce all communications to strings of 0s and 1s and use them to transfer messages without errors over long distances.

Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University said, "Shannon's thesis was "possibly the most important, and also the most famous, Master's thesis of the century. Were it not for him, we would not be sending e-mails and talking on cell phones. His theories and discoveries in the 1940s made today's telecommunications industry possible." All of today's communication lines are measured in bits per second, a notion he set forth in his famous "Channel Capacity" theorem. His binary code is central to the now-commonplace technology that delivers the Internet with sound and pictures to homes around the world.

In 1936 he earned a SB in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Michigan. He came to MIT as a visiting professor in 1956. From 1958 to 1978, he was MIT's Donor Professor of Science. In 1978, he became a professor emeritus. Professor Emeritus Robert G. Gallager '57, who worked with him, told The New York Times. "Shannon was the person who saw that the binary digit was the fundamental element in all of communication. That was really his discovery, and from it the whole communications revolution has sprung." His Master's thesis, "A Symbolic Analysis of Real and Switching Circuits," established the theoretical foundation for digital circuits using Boolean algebra, in which problems are solved by manipulating 0s and 1s. His doctoral thesis was on theoretical genetics.

While he was a graduate student at MIT, Shannon worked with Professor Vannevar Bush on his differential analyzer, an analog computer that used a complex system of shafts, wheels, and gears to solve calculus equations. Bush reported, "Shannon was a noted cryptographer. He and his teams work on anti-aircraft directors was crucial in defending England from German rockets during Germany's blitz of England. His 1949 paper, 'Communication Theory of Secrecy Systems,' has transformed cryptography from an art to a science." Other projects were developed including a device that could solve a Rubik's Cube, a chess-playing computer, and an electronic mouse that could run a maze. His work is known throughout the world as a major contribution to the field of artificial intelligence.

In the 1950s, Shannon turned his efforts to developing what was then called "intelligent machines"--mechanisms that emulated the operations of the human mind to solve problems. Of his inventions during that time, the best known was a maze-solving mouse called Theseus, which used magnetic relays to learn how to maneuver through a metal maze.

During a visit to the United States, during the World war II, Alan Turing, a leading British mathematician spent a few months with Shannon working with Shannon. Both scientists were interested in the possibility of building a machine that could imitate the human brain. They worked together to build an encrypted voice phone that would allow Roosevelt to have a secure transatlantic conversation with Churchill.

Shannon's information theories eventually saw application in a number of disciplines in which language is a factor, including linguistics, phonetics, psychology and cryptography, which was an early love of Shannon's.

His theories also became a cornerstone of the developing field of artificial intelligence, and in 1956 he was instrumental in convening a conference at Dartmouth College that was the first major effort in organizing artificial intelligence research. He wrote a paper entitled "Programming a computer for playing chess" in 1950, and developed a chess playing computer. Many years later, in 1965, he met the world chess champion Pichail Botvinnik (also and electrical engineer), and played a match with him.

Robert G. Gallager, a professor of electrical engineering who worked with Shannon at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is quoted as saying, "Shannon was the person who saw that the binary digit was the fundamental element in all of communication. That was really his discovery, and from it the whole communications revolution has sprung."

Marvin Minsky of M.I.T., who as a young theorist worked closely with Shannon, was struck by his enthusiasm and enterprise. "Whatever came up, he engaged it with joy, and he attacked it with some surprising resource--which might be some new kind of technical concept or a hammer and saw with some scraps of wood. For him, the harder a problem might seem, the better the chance to find something new. Every modem, every compressed file, every error correcting code owes something to Shannon."

Shannon was survived by his three children: Robert James, Andrew Moore, and Margarita Catherine, and by his wife Mary Elizabeth Moore.


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