How Claude Shannon Invented the Future

In his Quanta guest column “How Claude Shannon Invented the Future,” Stanford Professor of Engineering David Tse relates how the American mathematician’s 1948 paper “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” birthed information theory. “Shannon’s genius lay in his observation that the key to communication is uncertainty,” writes Tse. His concept of the information ‘bit’ (short for binary digit) as the “basic unit of uncertainty” introduced probabilistic data modelling and signal processing, heralding the coming of the Information Age.

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