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.

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