Claude Elwood Shannon

Claude Elwood Shannon

Claude Shannon

Father of Information Theory

Name Claude Elwood Shannon
Birth As April 30 as 1916
Petoskey, Michigan , United States
Death As February 24 as 2001
Medford, Massachusetts , United States
Cause of death Mal de Alzheimer
nationality U.S
Education University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater University of Michigan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Parents Claude Elwood Shannon, Sr., Mabel Wolf Shannon
Awards National Science Medal ( 1966 ), Kyoto Prize ( 1985 ) Claude Shannon Prize, IEEE Medal of Honor, John Fritz Medal

Claude Elwood Shannon . Outstanding American electrical engineer, mathematician, and cryptographer, considered “the father of information theory.”


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  • 1 Biographical synthesis
    • 1 Professional career
    • 2 Death
  • 2 References
  • 3 Publications
  • 4 See also
  • 5 Sources

Biographical synthesis

He was born on April 30 of 1916en Petoskey, Michigan , United States . The first years of his life were spent at Gaylord, where he graduated from high school in 1932 . From a young age, Shannon demonstrated an inclination towards mechanical things. He stood out with respect to his classmates in science subjects. His childhood hero was Edison , whom he later became quite close with in his investigations.


Career path

The first years of his life were spent at Gaylord, where he graduated from high school in 1932. In 1932 he entered the University of Michigan , following his sister Catherine, a doctor of mathematics . In 1936 he obtained the degrees of electrical engineer and mathematician. His interest in mathematics and engineering continued throughout his life.

In 1936 he accepted the position of research assistant in the department of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His situation allowed him to continue studying while working part -time for the department, where he worked in the analog computer more advanced in that era, the Differential Analyzer of Vannevar Bush .

At that time his interest in complex relay circuits arose. Trying to simplify relay switchboards, he realized that these could be used to make calculations. In addition to his love of logic and Boolean algebra, he was able to develop this idea during the summer of 1937 , which was spent at Bell Laboratories in New York City .

In his master’s thesis at MIT, he demonstrated how Boolean algebra could be used in the analysis and synthesis of switching and digital circuits. The thesis aroused considerable interest when it appeared in specialized publications in 1938 . In 1940 he was awarded the American Engineers Prize by the American Alfred Nobel Institute of America , a concession given each year to a person of no more than thirty years of age. A quarter of a century later HH Goldstine, in his book “Computers from Pascal to Von Neumann“, he cited his thesis as one of the most important in history that helped change the design of digital circuits.

During the summer of 1938 he did research at MIT and was awarded the Bolles Scholarship when he worked as a teaching assistant while pursuing a doctorate in mathematics .

In 1940 he studied a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in mathematical philosophy .

Shannon spent fifteen years at Bell Labs, a very fruitful association with many leading mathematicians and scientists such as Harry Nyquist , Walter Houser Brattain , John Bardeen, and William Bradford Shockley , inventors of the transistor ; George Stibitz , who built relay-based computers, Warren Weaver , who wrote a long and clarifying introduction to his The Mathematical Theory of Communication and many others.

During this period Shannon worked in many areas, most notably everything related to information theory, a development that was published in 1948 under the name “A Mathematical Theory of Communication”. In this work it was shown that all sources of information ( electric telegraph , telephone , radio , people who speak, television cameras , etc …) can be measured and that communication channelsthey have a similar unit of measurement. It also showed that information can be transmitted on a channel if, and only if, the magnitude of the source does not exceed the transmission capacity of the channel that conducts it, and laid the foundations for error correction, noise suppression and redundancy.

In the area of ​​computers and artificial intelligence , he published a paper in 1950 that described the programming of a computer to play chess , becoming the basis for further development. He designed a computer program to play chess, in addition to a mouse . He also applied many of his theories and precepts to Las Vegas casino games., where he used to go regularly with his wife and friends. Throughout his life he received numerous decorations and recognitions from universities and institutions around the world. Asked once by a journalist if machines could think, he replied: “Naturally! You and I are machines, and boy do we think!”



Claude Elwood Shannon passed away at the age of 84, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease .



CE Shannon, A mathematical theory of communication . Bell System Technical Journal, vol. 27, pp. 379-423 and 623-656, July and October, 1948



  • Shannon, Claude Elwood (1948). “A mathematical theory of communication”. Bell System Technical Journal 27 (379-423 and 623-656).
  • Shannon, Claude Elwood (1949). Communication theory of secrecy systems. Bell System Technical Journal 28 (656-715).


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