Claude Shannon – The knight of Information Technology
Today we all use the internet, listen to the music, watch movies in digital formats and the space required to store it is so small that it would wa unimaginable in the past.
There is a constant exchange of information between people , on the networks and on the internet. This excange seems so obvious that we never think of what goes at the back of it to make it happen. This all seems to be an integral part of our lives now. All this exchange of information is due to the contribution of a single personality who established a relationship between mathematics and digital logic and laid down the algorithms and rules which dictate the terms which define the amount off space required to strore certain amount of information in the digital format and its tranfer limitation across the networks.
The information theory by Claude E. Shannon is comparable to the theory of relativity by Einstein but only it has the practicle proofs too. Shannon was also among the ones who helped in the devepoment of cryptography in digital form since the very days of its inception and was also a pioneer in the just started field of the Artificial intelligence.
The most inportant of his inventions was the ability to stroe in information in digital format which made the tranfer of information from one point to the other not only easy but much more reliable and less expensive. [The analog transmissions required amplifiers to boost the signals at regular intervals and the mjor disadvantage with that was that it also boosted the noise so the signal to noise ratio kept on increasing which remainds almost constant in the digital transmission.]
Shannon’s innovation helped boost the call quality and the distances it could reach and vrought down the price which took AT&T and Bell many steps forward at that time. He also proposed the idea of adding some redundant data to the actual data which allows for the reconstruction of the data if there is some loss of data at the recieving end. This is how we get flawless music and videos even fron the scratched discs.
Shannon had laid down these rules more thab 50 years back and it took such long time for the engineers and programmmers to implement these concepts. And as the time is passing by newer and better inplementations are coming into the picture.
Shannon also served his country very well by devicing methods to shoot down the German bombers as he developed algorithms for anti aircraft guns so that they cluld calculate the trajectory and shoot the bombers down.
Shannon was a fun loving personality. He was very much fascinated by juggling and some of his works includes the research on the Dynamics on keeping multiple objects in air simultaneously. He also helped NASA’s JEt propulsion lab in deep space communication. He also authored a book “Beat the Dealer” which made the casinos in Las Vegas change the rules for the game Blackjack. Shannon had many gadjets in his room which he himself stated as being useless.
Shannon did remarkable work in the field of mathematics and digital electronics but was never awarded the nobel prize the reason being that there was no nobel prize for mathematics. He however was awarded the Kyoto prize by Japanese constituted in late 1980′s which is considedred the nobel prize for mathematics.
Shannon suffered from Alzhimer in the last decade of his life and he finally lost his life to the ailment and left us all in February 2001. Shannon indeed was a knight in shining armor for the AT&T and BELL labs and many other communication giants like Qualcomm because of his work. Shannon is a legacy and if he would not have made the history then we still would have been living in history