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Claude Shannon was an American mathematician and engineer who made fundamental contributions to computing. He was born in Michigan in 1916, and his primary degree was in mathematics and electrical engineering at the University of Michigan in 1936. He was awarded a PhD in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1940.
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Victor Shestakov at Moscow State University also proposed a theory of electric switches based on Boolean algebra around the same time as Shannon. However, his results were published in Russian in 1941, whereas Shannon’s were published in 1937.
Vannevar Bush was discussed in an earlier chapter.
W stands for the speed of transmission of information; m is the number of voltage levels to choose from at each step; and k is a constant.
The system designer may also place a device called an encoder between the source and the channel and a device called a decoder between the output of the channel and the destination.
The channel capacity C is the limiting information rate (i.e. the least upper bound) that can be achieved with an arbitrarily small error probability. It is measured in bits per second.
The concept of entropy is borrowed from the field of thermodynamics.
Nyquist, H.: Certain Factors affecting telegraph speed. Bell Syst. Tech. J. 3, 324–346 (1924)
Shannon, C.: A symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits. Masters Thesis. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1937)
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