Events Spring 2015

Open Lecture — Modern Coding Theory — Many Ideas, One Goal

May 4, 2015 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm 

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Rüdiger Urbanke (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)

Error correcting codes are ubiquitous. Every time we make a call, connect to WiFi, download a movie, or store a file, they help us get things right.

Over the years, the way we construct these codes has changed significantly. Initially, algebra brought structure to a previously intractable problem. Then lattices helped convey continuous-valued signals. Over the past twenty years deterministic codes made way for random sparse graphs with low-complexity message-passing decoding. More recently, Polar codes used the chain rule of mutual information to achieve capacity. And the latest contenders are spatially-coupled codes that exploit the physical mechanism that makes crystals grow to simultaneously achieve the capacity of a large family of communication channels.

I will describe how ideas from such diverse areas as abstract algebra, number theory, probability, information theory, and physics slowly made it from the blackboard into products, and outline the main challenges that we face today.

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture at 3:30 p.m.