From: John Conover <john@email.johncon.com>

Subject: Death of Claude Shannon

Date: 28 Feb 2001 06:51:55 -0000

On a sad note, Claude Shannon passed away February 24, 2001. He was 84. The kind gentleman will be missed. Few realize it, but he was the father of the digital revolution, too. His masters thesis, "Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits", in 1941, established the isomorphism between electronic switches and the Boolean algebra. It made switching theory a science, and defined digital electronics. It was, singularly, the most important masters thesis of the millennia. His book, "The Mathematical Theory of Communication", 1949, laid the foundation for information theory-for which he is regarded as the father of a new science. Since then, information theory has revolutionized mathematics itself, and is the cornerstone of modern economic theory. Many, including G. J Chaitin, ("Information-Theoretic Incompleteness", 1992,) and the logicians Rudy Rucker and Raymond Smullyan, consider information theory to be the foundation of thinking in the 21'st century; it has become the tool of preference in the science of complexity theory-the study of social systems, economic systems and the like, and is intimately linked to fractal and nonlinear dynamical system theory. Shannon was a shy, unassuming, and retiring individual, (with a large antique bicycle collection,) that always had time for people. He will be missed. John BTW, the Internet would not exist without his information theory. Its the way that it adapts to the service demands that are placed on it throughout the day-its a gigantic, world wide, adaptive control system. And it does it all automatically, (well, almost.) So the story goes, Shannon was the first to realize that the stock market operated by entropic, (information has entropy, or randomness, like the Boltzman's gases, or Heisenberg's uncertainty of physics-both of which are regarded as information-theoretic phenomena today,) principles, and, allegedly became quite wealthy in the 50's using information theory for the first time to optimize/maximize portfolio growth. We call it the CAPM today, and it is based on the random walk fractal model of equity prices. But he always had time to kibitz with the students at the IEEE Information Theory conferences, and was a gifted and interesting speaker, on many topics. But outside of his domain, he was quite and retiring. For further information: http://www.eet.com/story/OEG20010227S0045 For more details about Shannon's unique contributions: http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/ms/what/shannonday/work.html The first application of information theory to speculative markets/endevors, J. L. Kelly, 1956: http://www.bjmath.com/bjmath/kelly/kelly.pdf "A New Interpretation of Information Rate", which defined the relation between a binary symmetric channel's capacity and optimal portfolio strategies. -- John Conover, john@email.johncon.com, http://www.johncon.com/

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