Thursday, December 19, 2013

[Updated] Doing the media rounds

My paper on molecular communication came out last night on PLOS ONE:

N. Farsad, W. Guo, and A. W. Eckford, "Tabletop Molecular Communication: Text Messages through Chemical Signals," PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 12, December 18, 2013.

Here I am giving an interview to CTV News Channel.

Here's coverage in the National Post.

I also did a radio interview, and a few other outlets picked up the story. I'll update with more links as I get them.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Verdù interviews Fano

You must check out Sergio Verdù's amazing interview with Robert Fano in this month's IT Society newsletter. A giant of information theory, Fano was the third recipient of the Shannon award, and is probably best known in our community for the Fano inequality.

The sweep of Fano's career is incredible. He coined the term mutual information. At MIT in 1950, he gave what was likely the first course anywhere on information theory; it was in this class that David Huffman famously invented the Huffman code in a term paper.  But by the sixties, Fano was already out of information theory -- he wrote a book on electromagnetism, then got interested in computer science, becoming the founding director of the centre that would become CSAIL. Now 95 years old, he still keeps an office at MIT.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

[Updated] Molecular Communication book: Radio interview on CKNW, Vancouver

I did a radio interview on The Shift with Mike Eckford, on CKNW in Vancouver, about my new book. Here it is on SoundCloud.

UPDATE: Here's an embedded version.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

New book: Molecular Communication

How does it feel to (co-)write a book and hold the finished product in your hands? About like this:

Many, many thanks to my excellent co-authors, Tadashi Nakano and Tokuko Haraguchi, for their hard work; thanks to Cambridge for accepting this project and managing it well; and thanks to Satoshi Hiyama for writing a nice blurb.

Here's the back-cover text:
This comprehensive guide, by pioneers in the field, brings together, for the first time, everything a new researcher, graduate student or industry practitioner needs to get started in molecular communication. Written with accessibility in mind, it requires little background knowledge, and provides a detailed introduction to the relevant aspects of biology and information theory, as well as coverage of practical systems. The authors start by describing biological nanomachines, the basics of biological molecular communication and the microorganisms that use it. They then proceed to engineered molecular communication and the molecular communication paradigm, with mathematical models of various types of molecular communication and a description of the information and communication theory of molecular communication. Finally, the practical aspects of designing molecular communication systems are presented, including a review of the key applications. Ideal for engineers and biologists looking to get up to speed on the current practice in this growing field.
The book will be released on October 31 in North America. You can pre-order it on Amazon.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy trails, Voyager
Here's Voyager 2 looking back at Neptune and its moon Triton, possibly the most poignant of the amazing pictures it returned on its voyage of discovery. Its sister ship, Voyager 1, is now in the interstellar medium. [Image source.]

The issues of National Geographic with the Voyager pictures were probably the most dog-eared of my parents' collection. Back in undergrad, in the early days of the web, I remember realizing, "Hey, JPL has a website? You mean I can see the Voyager pictures whenever I want?!?!?!" Yes, I have always been a huge space nerd.

Voyager 1 is expected to keep transmitting for another ten years or so. Happy trails.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

How close is the ISIT venue to the Istanbul protests?

Very likely it will all blow over by next month ... but if you're curious how close the ISIT 2013 venue is to the Istanbul protests in Taksim Square (about the possible development of Gezi Park), here's a quick graphic.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Indefinite hiatus

I may as well admit that the blog is on hiatus for the foreseeable future. I've got plenty of things to write about, but no time. Sabbaticals, they are busy! Expect this situation to continue until at least the fall.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book on molecular communication

For the last 18 months, I've been working on a book on molecular communication. The final complete draft was just sent off for production. It should be printed later this year.

Many thanks to my excellent co-authors, Tadashi Nakano (Osaka University) and Tokuko Haraguchi (NICT); Tadashi in particular for doing most of the work, and for hosting my trips to Japan to hammer out the manuscript. Also many thanks to our contacts at Cambridge University Press for their help and support.

You can read a chapter here. Comments are welcome. (From: T. Nakano, A. W. Eckford, T. Haraguchi, Molecular Communication, Cambridge University Press.)

Monday, January 14, 2013

On Notation

I've spent the last week (and counting) trying to fix the notation in a long document that I've been writing, off and on, over the last 18 months. Since I wrote in fits and starts, I wasn't generally consistent with the notation, always thinking I could just fix it at the end. So when the end came, the results were predictably disastrous.

But I've had a long time to think/swear about notation, and I made some observations:

(Sorry for the image, it's much easier than trying to put LaTeX into Blogger.)

I used to think that there should be a notation stylebook, one notation to rule them all. Or that I would, once and for all, teach my graduate students the "right" notation. But now I don't think that's possible: there simply aren't enough degrees of freedom in a concise, readable notation to make it also rigorous and universally consistent. And you have to favor readability over universality, or what is a notation for?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy new year, happy new information theory blog

Via this month's IT Society newsletter, here's the Princeton-Stanford Information Theory b-log. Sergio Verdu is one of the authors.

I've already learned something useful, namely that I should have stopped using eqnarray years ago.