Three challenges of Claude Shannon

  • Date: 10/10/2006

Joachim Rosenthal (University of Zurich)


University of British Columbia


In 1948/1949 Claude Shannon wrote two papers~[Sha48,Sha49] which became
the foundation of modern information theory. The papers showed that
information can be compressed up to the `entropy', that data can be
transmitted error free at a rate below the capacity and that there
exist provable secure cryptographic systems. These were all fundamental
theoretical result. The challenge remained to build practical systems
which came close to the theoretical optimal systems predicted by

In this overview talk we will explain how the first two challenges
concerning coding theory have resulted in practical solutions which are
very close to optimal. Then we explain why the gap between the
practical implementation of cryptographic protocols with the
theoretical result of Shannon is largest.

The talk will be tutorial in nature and should be accessible to advanced undergraduate students.

Other Information: 

Discrete Math Seminar 2006