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Claude E. Shannon: Communications as a Statistical Process, 1955

Communications as a Statistical Science

The Franklin Institute presented Shannon with the Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1955. Shannon was selected for this award, "In consideration of his recognition of communication as essentially a statistical process, his identification of the elements of the communication systems with the appropriate statistical functions, and his welding of the powerful methods of mathematical statistics into a comprehensive theory of communication which permits precise and rapid evaluation of proposed new communication systems, and points the way for significant new developments."

Shannon's many publications and accolades attest to the acute nature of his intelligence, and his application of statistical functions to the field of communications was published in a complex paper entitled, "The Mathematical Theory of Communication." In a broad sense, Shannon was able to represent various forms of communication (the human voice, musical sounds, etc) mathematically. To achieve this representation, Shannon used statistical formulas which take into account probability and change: two measures important for representing forms of communication.

You can read the remarks made about Shannon and his achievements at the 1955 Medal Day ceremonies by clicking on the thumbnails at right.