Claude Shannon

shannonShannon was a graduate of the University of Michigan, being awarded a degree in mathematics and electrical engineering in 1936. He then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he obtained a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering and his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1940. Shannon wrote a Master’s thesis A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits on the use of Boole’s algebra to analyze and optimize relay switching circuits.

At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he also worked on the differential analyzer, an early type of mechanical computer developed by Vannevar Bush for obtaining numerical solutions to ordinary differential equations. Shannon published “Mathematical Theory of the Differential Analyzer” in 1941. In 1948 he published “A Mathematical Theory of Communication” , formulating the link between computers and communication. He coined the term bit as a fundamental unit of information, and the analysis creates several theorems on ways to encode messages so that information could be exchanged reliably. These ideas would influence electronic, computer, and communications design for decades to come.

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