MURRAY HILL, N.J. - Lucent Technologies will mark the 50th Anniversary of Claude Shannon's development of Information Theory -- the theoretical foundation of all of today's high-speed communications systems -- with a one-day symposium May 18 at Bell Labs Arnold Auditorium in Murray Hill, N.J.
Shannon's ideas, first published 50 years ago in the Bell System Technical Journal, are still used by communications engineers in designing today's commercial gigabit- and experimental terabit-per-second communications systems.
The "Shannon Day" symposium, sponsored by the Mathematical Sciences Research Center of Bell Labs, will mark the publication of Shannon's paper, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," which founded the field of Information Theory. The symposium also will honor the late Aaron Wyner of Bell Labs, a pioneer in the field.
Symposium presenters will include information theorists Thomas Cover of Stanford University, G. David Forney of Motorola, Robert G. Gallager of MIT, Robert W. Lucky of Bellcore, James L. Massey of ETH in Zurich, Neil J.A. Sloane of AT&T Labs, Emre Telatar of Bell Labs, Andrew Viterbi of Qualcomm, Jack K. Wolf of UCSD, and Jacob Ziv of Technion.
In his original paper Shannon described what must be done to create effective and efficient communications systems. His mathematical models told engineers how much information could be transmitted over communication channels, and he outlined the mathematical principles of coding and error correction that make high-speed transmission possible today.
Shannon's theories are as relevant today as they were when he first formulated them. "It was truly visionary thinking," Arun Netravali, executive vice president of Bell Labs Research, said of Shannon's ideas. "As if assuming that inexpensive, high-speed processing would come to pass, Shannon figured out the upper limits on communication rates. First in telephone channels, then in optical communications, and now in wireless, Shannon has had the utmost value in defining the engineering limits we face."
Although signals now travel on gigabit systems and terabit systems, Netravali noted, "As clever as we are, Shannon shows us we still have a way to go to press up close to the speed limits on information."
The symposium is open to all interested in the study of Information Theory, according to the two co-chairman, Jim Mazo and Emre Telatar. For registration information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or see http://cm.bell-labs.com/shannonday .
As part of the Shannon Day celebration, Lucent Technologies has published an Information Theory web site at http://www.lucent.com/informationtheory . A sampling of current Bell Labs research projects, many of which depend on Information Theory, is available at http://www.bell-labs.com/innovate98 . Information about Aaron Wyner is available at http://www.bell-labs.com/news/1997/october/10/1.html .
Lucent Technologies, headquartered in Murray Hill, N.J., designs, builds and delivers a wide range of public and private networks, communications systems and software, data networking systems, business telephone systems and microelectronic components. Bell Labs is the research and development arm for the company. For more information on Lucent Technologies, visit the company's web site at www.lucent.com . For more information on Bell Labs, visit its web site at http://www.bell-labs.com.
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