100 years of Shannon -- the man, his work and his legacy

A talk from EMF 2016 by Matthew Ireland

On Sunday August 7, 2016 at in Stage A

Claude Elwood Shannon was a pioneering mathematician and engineer, of paramount importance in our digital revolution. 2016 sees the centenary of his birth. Whilst he is most widely known as the "father of information theory", the extent of his influence across computer science, physics and engineering is incredible. This talk aims to mark his centenary with an exploration of the man, his work and his legacy. In the spirit of his practical, "hands-on" nature, our discussion will be filled with examples, experiments and demonstrations.

The talk will start by explaining his unifying theory of the transmission of information, which provides the basis for all modern communication: without his work we would have no Internet, no mobile telephones, and no theoretical understanding of the limits of data compression. We'll move on to briefly examine his formulation of digital logic circuits in Boolean algebra and present his design of a 4-bit adder circuit in relay logic. Finally, we'll conclude by exploring some of his lesser-known inventions: the first computerised learning device, the first chess-playing computer program, the first wearable computer, a juggling robot, and the "ultimate machine".