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Maxwell, Shannon, Bardeen, and Beyond

About this event

CISE Distinguished Lecture

Thursday, February 21st, 2008 at 10:00am, Rm. 110*


Maxwell, Shannon, Bardeen, and Beyond


Dr. Richard Blahut

Electrical and Computer Engineering

University of Illinois




Just as classical Egyptian civilization is remembered by the pyramids, our civilization will be remembered by future generations by the rise of communication systems, changing us and our planet in almost every way and giving our everyday lives a technology that could only be called magic to our great-grandparents.  We will describe a little of this happening, especially the "miracle" year of 1948, then talk about the deep and powerful algorithmic and information-theoretic methods that have created the modern world.




Richard E. Blahut is the Henry Magnuski Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois and the Head of that department. He also holds the title of Research Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is the recipient of the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal, the Tau Beta Pi Daniel C. Drucker Eminent Faculty Award, the IEEE Information Theory Society Claude E. Shannon Award, and an IEEE Millennium Medal.

Dr. Blahut was born on June 9, 1937 in Orange, New Jersey.  He received his B.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, M.Sc. degree in Physics from the Stevens Institute of Technology, and Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.  His interests include information theory, communication theory, signal processing, optical recording, error-control codes, cryptography, surveillance theory, and image formation.

Dr Blahut was named a Fellow of the IBM Corporation in 1980.  He was employed in the Federal Systems Division of IBM from 1964 to 1994.  At IBM, he had general responsibility for the analysis and design of coherent signal processing systems, digital communications systems, and statistical information processing systems. He was responsible for the original development of passive coherent location systems, now a major technique used in the U.S. Department of Defense.

Dr. Blahut has authored a series of advanced textbooks and monographs in error-control coding, information theory, and signal processing, consisting of ten books either published or in manuscript form.

Richard Blahut and his wife Barbara live in Champaign, Illinois, Beach Haven, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Vermont.  They have been married for 49 years, and they have four children: Gregory, Kenneth, Janice, and Jeffrey, and ten grandchildren: Diane, Jessica, Susan, Brian, Michael, Lauren, Julia, Rex, Benjamin, and Rebecca.

* If you would like to arrange a meeting with Dr. Blahut, please contact Dawn Patterson (ext. 7097).