Thursday, June 28, 2007

Update from ISIT 2

The winner of the Claude E. Shannon Award, given by the IEEE Information Theory Society for "profound and consistent contributions to information theory", went to Sergio Verdu from Princeton. He is the youngest person to win the award (he is under 50). Apparently, all previous winners are now over 65. As the award recipient, he gave this year's Shannon lecture. His lecture went into ways he likes to teach information theory and relationships to his research. From my standpoint, he talked about various formulas and bounds and how to interpret them; with the right interpretation, the results become simple, and moreover, armed with the insight from finding the right interpretation, you are led to new results and generalizations. Another key point in this mix was the relationship between bounds for fixed length sequences and asymptotic bounds, and how the right interpretations make the connections between the two more transparent. I found it a very interesting talk, although I have to admit, my lack of facility with information-theoretic notation means I missed a lot that would have been nice to get. (The talk went over a lot, fast. I suppose I should teach information theory at some point so that I'll understand it better, and then listen to the talk again.) I highly recommend the talk, especially to those interested in coding/compression/entropy; I'm sure the slides/video will be appearing online shortly.

My student Adam Kirsch gave a talk about a paper with my former student Eleni Drinea on an information theoretic and improved approach to lower bounds on the deletion channel.

I gave a talk on upper bounds for the deletion channel.

I promise to return to the question of "interesting open questions in network coding", preferably with a guest blogger or bloggers more expert than I, in the near future.

After ISIT, I flew into London, where I'm giving a (networking) talk at UCL, hosted by Brad Karp (no relation to Dick Karp), and a group of us went out to fantastic London dinner. (I promised Brad I'd put the fantastic dinner part in the blog.)

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