Department of Electrical Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
celebrates Shannon Centenary
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

The Shannon Centenary, 2016, marks the life and influence of Claude Shannon on the hundredth anniversary of his birth on 30 April 1916. To mark the occasion a number of events are organized all around the world, aiming to make the contributions of Shannon on Information Theory widely known to the world.
As a part of the Shannon Centenary celebrations of the IEEE Information Theory Society, IIT Kanpur is celebrating Shannon Day on 19th October, 2016.
Shannon is best known for developing the mathematical foundations of communication (establishing the field of information theory) data compression, digital computers, cryptography, circuit complexity, flow networks, and juggling, as well as laying foundations of artificial intelligence and human computer interaction.

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Program Details

1. 8.30-9.00 a.m. Adrish Banerjee, IIT Kanpur Welcome Address followed by a short movie on Claude Elwood Shannon
2. 9.00-10.00 am Kannan Ramachandran, UC Berkeley, USA Shannon-Inspired Research Tales on Duality, Encryption, Sampling and Storage
3. 10.00-11.00 a.m. Emre Telatar, EPFL, Switzerland Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Communication
4. 11.00-11.30 a.m. Tea Break
5. 11.30-12.30 p.m. Daniel J. Costello, Jr., Notre Dame Shannon's Legacy: The Genesis of Coding Theory
6. 12.30 -1.00 p.m. Himanshu Tyagi, IISc Bangalore Shannon's Secret
7. 1.00-1.30 p.m. Ajit Chaturvedi, IIT Kanpur Information Theory: A Lighthouse for Understanding Modern Communication Systems
8. 1.30-2.30 p.m. Lunch Break
9. 2.30-3.30 p.m. Michelle Effros, CalTech, USA The Mysteries of Shannon's Channel and Capacity: Then and Now
10. 3.30-4.30 p.m. Thomas Schneider, NIH, USA Information Theory in Biology
11. 4.30-5.00 p.m. Tea Break
12. 5.00-5.30 p.m. Satyadev Nandkumar, IIT Kanpur Information and Computation
13. 5.30-6.00 p.m. Adrish Banerjee, IIT Kanpur Claude Elwood Shannon: A Genius of Many Talents
14. 6.00-6.15 p.m. Adrish Banerjee, IIT Kanpur Vote of Thanks

Shannon-Inspired Research Tales on Duality, Encryption, Sampling and Storage

Speaker: Kannan Ramachandran, University of California, Berkeley, USA

In this talk, we will highlight some snippets from our research journey, both recent and past, that share the common attribute of being unmistakably Shannon-inspired. There will be four short stories dedicated to this theme and unified by the Shannon spirit: (i) Duality between source coding and channel coding; (ii) Compression and Encryption done in the wrong order; (iii) Sampling theory meets Coding theory; and (iv) Network codes for the modern age of large-scale distributed storage systems.


Shannon's Mathematical Theory of Communication

Speaker: Emre Telatar, EPFL, Switzerland

Shannon's 1948 paper "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" put telecommunications on a sound scientific footing by identifying the elements of a communication system and defining its operational concepts, creating the entire discipline of information theory in one extraordinary stroke. The talk will walk through the paper and attempt to highlight various vistas we encounter.


Shannon's Legacy: The Genesis of Coding Theory

Speaker: Daniel J. Costello, Jr., University of Notre Dame, USA

This talk gives an historical overview of the field of channel coding dating back to the work of Shannon in 1948. The major advances in coding theory since 1948 are viewed from a common perspective: the power and bandwidth efficiencies needed to achieve a targeted level of performance. The most important contributions in coding over the last 60 plus years are highlighted, including Hamming codes, Reed-Muller codes, Reed-Solomon codes, convolutional codes, soft decision decoding, trellis coded modulation, multilevel coding, concatenated codes, turbo codes, low-density parity-check codes, spatially coupled codes, polar codes, and iterative decoding. Finally, areas of potential future research in channel coding are briefly discussed.


Shannon's Secret

Speaker: Himanshu Tyagi, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

Shannon formalized the mathematical definition of a "secret" and ushered in the era of modern cryptography. In this talk, we shall review Shannon's notion of information theoretic secrecy and track its evolution into the modern avatar of semantic security due to Goldwasser and Micali. Along the way, we shall review some major breakthroughs in information theoretic security and cryptography.


Information Theory: A Lighthouse for Understanding Modern Communication Systems

Speaker: Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

At the undergraduate level, and often at the postgraduate level also, information theory and practical communication systems are taught in different courses and it is not easy for the student to decipher the relation between the two. The talk will start by pointing out some connections between fundamental limits provided by information theory and practical communication systems. A physical layer centric perspective on information theory will be presented. In the second half of the talk, some examples and interesting scenarios from wireless communications, including standards, will be discussed to bring out how various results from information theory, like capacity of channels, not only influence but often act as a guide in designing modern communication systems.


The Mysteries of Shannon's Channel and Capacity: Then and Now

Speaker: Michelle Effros, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA

Claude Shannon changed the world. By demonstrating the possibility of substantial and reliable communication even in the presence of noise, he sparked a communication revolution. While the impact of Shannon's solutions can be seen in the devices that shape our every day lives, the impact of his questions is, perhaps, even more profound. This talk will explore Shannon's question of reliable communication and some of the questions that it continues to inspire to this day.


Information Theory in Biology

Speaker: Thomas Schneider, National Institute of Health, USA

In this talk I will sweep across the major ideas I have developed using information theory to understand biology (see ). We will begin with measuring the information of protein or RNA binding sites on DNA or RNA (Rsequence, bits per site) using Claude Shannon's information theory. The resulting information curve can be displayed by the now-popular graphical method of sequence logos which we invented. The total information of binding sites (area under a logo) is predicted by the genome size and number of sites (Rfrequency, bits per site), and this leads to a model for the evolution of binding sites which you can run ( I will then introduce how to apply the same theory to individual binding sites, sequence walkers. An important question is the relationship between binding site information and the binding energy. This lead to my discovery that many molecular systems are 70% efficient. Surprisingly, the mathematics that explains 70% efficiency applies to all biological systems that have distinct states.


Information and Computation

Speaker: Satyadev Nandkumar, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

Shannon's pathbreaking work in laying the foundations information theory inspired Kolmogorov to tackle the seemingly paradoxical problem of defining which individual finite strings are random. Kolmogorov was able to achieve this without assuming an underlying probablity space, by using the theory of algorithms. The notion of information thus introduced, Kolmogorov complexity, is formally analogous to Shannon Entropy. We survey the formal analogies between the theory of Kolmogorov complexity of finite strings and Shannon's entropy, as established by Solomonoff, Kolmogorov, Martin-Lof, Levin, C.-P. Schnorr, P. Gacs and G. Chaitin. We describe a mechanical way to convert many inequalities in Shannon theory to their corresponding versions in Kolmogorov complexity, and indicate some open areas of research in the relationship between Shannon Information and Kolmogorov Complexity.


Claude Elwood Shannon: A Genius of Many Talents

Speaker: Adrish Banerjee, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur

In this talk we will explore some of Shannon's exploits outside of his academic pursuits. In particular, we will talk about his work on juggling, on solving Tower of Hanoi puzzle, his mind reading machine for playing game of matching pennies, and on chess playing machine. Finally, we will conclude our talk with a poem written by Shannon on Rubik's Cube.



Kannan Ramchandran

Kannan Ramchandran (Ph.D.: Columbia University, 1993) is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley, where he has been since 1999. He was on the faculty at UIUC from 1993 to 1999, and with AT&T Bell Labs from 1984 to 1990. Prof. Ramchandran is a Fellow of the IEEE. He has published extensively in his field, holds over a dozen patents, and has received several awards for his research and teaching including an IEEE Information Theory Society and Communication Society Joint Best Paper award for 2012, an IEEE Communication Society Data Storage Best Paper award in 2010, two Best Paper awards from the IEEE Signal Processing Society in 1993 and 1999, an Okawa Foundation Prize for outstanding research at Berkeley in 2001, and an Outstanding Teaching Award at Berkeley in 2009, and a Hank Magnuski Scholar award at Illinois in 1998. His research interests are broadly in the area of distributed systems theory and algorithms intersecting the fields of signal processing, communications, coding and information theory, and networking. His current systems focus is on large-scale distributed storage, large-scale collaborative video content delivery, and biological systems, with research challenges including latency, privacy and security, remote synchronization, sparse sampling, and shotgun genome sequencing.
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Emre Telatar

Emre Telatar received the B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, in 1986. He received the S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, in 1988 and 1992 respectively. In 1992, he joined the Communications Analysis Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories (later Lucent Technologies), Murray Hill, NJ. He has been at the EPFL since 2000. Emre Telatar was the recipient of the IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award in 2001. He was the program co-chair for the IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory in 2002, and associate editor for Shannon Theory for the IEEE Information Theory Transactions from 2001 to 2004. He was awarded the EPFL Agepoly teaching prize in 2005. Emre Telatar's research interests are in communication and information theories.
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Daniel Costello

Daniel J. Costello, Jr., is the Leonard Bettex Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. He has been a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) since 1969 and was elected Fellow in 1985. In 2000, he received an IEEE Third Millennium Medal, in 2009 he was co-recipient of the IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award, in 2012 he was co-recipient of the joint IEEE Information Theory Society/Communications Society Prize Paper Award, and in 2013 he received the Aaron D. Wyner Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Information Theory Society. In 2014 he received the Vice President's Recognition Award from the Educational Activities Board (EAB) of the IEEE. He is also the recipient of the 2015 Leon K. Kirchmayer Graduate Teaching Award by the IEEE. Dr. Costello's research interests are in the area of digital communications, wireless communications, and networking, with special emphasis on error control coding, iterative information processing, and coded modulation. He has more than 400 technical publications in his field, and in 1983 he coauthored a textbook entitled "Error Control Coding: Fundamentals and Applications", the 2nd edition of which was published in 2004.
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Himanshu Tyagi

Himanshu Tyagi received his PhD from the University of Maryland in 2013, and before that, he was at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. His research interest broadly lies in information theoretic analysis of emerging problems in computer science, communication theory, and control. A general goal is to provide concrete formulations for various components of complex engineering problems, leading to a unification of various known techniques under theoretical principles as well as new insights. In particular, he has focussed on application of information theory to security, interactive communication, and statistical learning. Lately, he has been interested in practical data exchange protocols, compression of interactive communication, secure computing, distributed inference, and distributed algortihms for communication over MANETs.
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Ajit Chaturvedi

Ajit received his Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D. degrees from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is a recipient of Distinguished Teacher's award from IIT Kanpur and Tan Chin Tuan fellowship from Nanyang Technical University, Singapore. His research interests are in the areas of communications theory and systems, mobile communications, and spread spectrum systems. He has over ten years of experience teaching courses on wireless communications and has published extensively in reputed journals and conferences.
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Michelle Effros

Michelle Effros received the B.S. degree with distinction in 1989, the M.S. degree in 1990, and the Ph.D. degree in 1994, all in electrical engineering from Stanford University. During the summers of 1988 and 1989 she worked at Hughes Aircraft Company, researching modulation schemes, real-time implementations of fast data rate error-correction schemes, and future applications for fiber optics in space technology. She is currently Professor of Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology; from 1994 - 2000 she was Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering; and from 2000 - 2005, Associate Professor. Her research interests include information theory, data compression, communications, pattern recognition, speech recognition, and image processing. Professor Effros received Stanford's Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award (for excellence in engineering) in 1989, the Hughes Masters Full-Study Fellowship in 1989, the National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in 1990, the AT&T Ph.D. Scholarship in 1993, the NSF CAREER Award in 1995, the Charles Lee Powell Foundation Award in 1997, and the Richard Feynman-Hughes Fellowship in 1997. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and IEEE Information Theory, Signal Processing, and Communications societies. She served as the Editor of the IEEE Information Theory Society Newsletter from 1995-1998, as Co-Chair of the NSF Sponsored Workshop on Joint Source-Channel Coding in 1999, and has been a Member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Information Theory Society since 1998.
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Thomas D. Schneider

Thomas Schneider has always been interested in all fields of science. In high school he developed a model of life forms in a computer, now called artificial life, and for this was a winner in the Science Talent Search. He studied biology, mathematics and computers at MIT and then went to the University of Colorado to get a PhD in molecular biology. There he applied Claude Shannon's information theory to DNA binding sites. He came to the USA National Institutes of Health where he is a tenured researcher continuing to working on the theory of biological states.
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Satyadev Nandkumar

Satyadev Nandakumar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Kanpur. He finished his doctoral studies from Iowa State University in 2009. His research interests include algorithmic information theory, computability theory, symbolic dynamical systems, normal numbers, and continued fractions.
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Adrish Banerjee

Adrish received his Bachelors degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and Masters and Ph.D. degree from University of Notre Dame, Indiana. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He is a recipient of Microsoft Research India young faculty award, Institute of Engineers India young engineer award, and IETE Prof. K. Sreenivasan memorial award. His research interests are in the physical layer aspects of wireless communications, particularly green communications, error control coding, and cognitive radio.
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    Shannon was born and grew up in Michigan, USA. His father was a businessman and mother was a language teacher. He grew up idolizing Thomas Edison, who was also a distant relative. While growing up, Shannon had an inclination towards building mechanical and electrical systems. He built a wireless telegraph, radio controlled boats, and model planes of various designs. He later learned to fly, after special permission from MIT's president, who feared losing his genius.

    Shannon did his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, earning degrees in both electrical engineering and mathematics. He then worked as Vannevar Bush's assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, operating an analog computer. His 1940 master's thesis, often said to be the most important thesis of the previous century, pushed computing into the digital realm, by connecting the mathematics of Boolean algebra with the technology of switching circuits. His doctoral research, completed in one summer at Cold Spring Harbor, NY would provide a similar algebra for genetics. Working further in computing, Shannon helped found the field of artificial intelligence by co-organizing the 1956 Dartmouth Conference, taking inspiration from computers he had built for playing chess and for solving mazes. He also built some of the earliest wearable computers, with applications in prediction and gambling.

    Shannon's interests outside academics such as juggling also betrayed an active mind. He wound up building robots that could juggle and even proved a mathematical theorem on the fundamental limits of juggling. He also invented many devices, such as rocket-powered flying discs, a motorized pogo stick, and a flame-throwing trumpet. During a trip to Russia, he used his entire honorarium to purchase musical instruments, and during a stay in England he invented a device that would make it easy for Americans to drive on the left side of the road.

    During WWII, Shannon was a main contributor in building the System X that allowed Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to securely communicate over the Atlantic about war strategy. Securing the communication of the Allies was a key counterpoint to breaking Axis codes. In fact, Shannon came up with an encryption strategy (the one-time pad) that is provably unbreakable, no matter how much computational effort and ingenuity is brought to bear in trying to break it. That is, neither Alan Turing at the time nor modern intelligence agencies can break the code. This is perfect secrecy.

    Shannon's classical work, "A Mathematical Theory of Communications", appeared in two parts in the July and October 1948 issues of the Bell System Technical Journal. Some said the work "came as a bomb, and something of a delayed action bomb" in that it was extremely novel. The work laid the foundations for the information age, and its effects are felt till the present day. This paper founded the field of information theory, which studies the fundamental limits of reliable communication in the presence of noise. Shannon developed much of his theory at home on nights and weekends during the 1940-1945, and only after much urging from his supervisor, Hendrik Bode, and colleagues did Shannon finally publish his work. In a paper that stemmed from his initial work on information theory, Shannon characterized the information rate of English text. Experiments were done by playing a hangman-like guessing game with his wife Betty (a computer scientist at Bell Labs) and his friend Barney Oliver. This was initially presented at a Macy Conference on Cybernetics, where biologists, psychologists, anthropologists, economists and engineers all came together to discuss the nature of information.

    Shannon developed Alzheimer's disease, and he spent last few years of his life in a Massachusetts nursing home

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Outreach Auditorium,
Old SAC,
IIT Kanpur,
Kanpur 208 016,
Uttar Pradesh, India.

How to reach IIT Kanpur

Kanpur is connected by rail and road with the major cities in India. IIT Kanpur is located at a distance of about 16 kilometers from the Kanpur Central Railway Station, in the vicinity of Kalyanpur, Kanpur. Taxis are available from the Cantonment side of the Kanpur Central Railway Station (from Platform number 1 side). The city taxis may be old-fashioned. There is a pre-paid auto and taxi booth. The rates are about Rs. 200/- to 250/- for an auto-rickshaw and Rs. 400/- to 450/- for a taxi (including parking and taxes). Sometimes you may be able to negotiate a few rupees less with the driver, if you don't go to the pre-paid booth. For taxi services you can also call the following taxi agencies located at IIT Kanpur.

Om Sai Travels (Dinesh Kumar) 08795002288/09838927293/07570011888
Gaurav Travels (Sonu) 09451512925/09936601535
Surendra Yadav Taxi Services 0512-2595094
Amit Travels 0512-2595096

Please make sure that you get down only at your destination and not at the IIT gate. In case of difficulty in reaching Visitors' Hostel one may call on phone numbers of Visitors' Hostel: 0512-2597209 and 0512-2597202.

Air connectivity

Visitors coming over to Kanpur have to get down at Lucknow Airport, Lucknow, the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. One can avail the taxis at the airport taxi-stand, but they can ask for any arbitrary amount. You can use the taxi service numbers listed above to book a taxi in advance. Depending on the type of vehicle, these taxis will charge between Rs 2100/- and Rs. 2500/-


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Write to us at:

Adrish Banerjee
Department of Electrical Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Kanpur 208016
UP, India
Ph: 0512-2597991