Have you met Shannon? (with Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman) (Ep. 81)

In this episode I have the opportunity to “meet Claude Shannon” during an amazing conversation with Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman, authors of “A mind at play”. The book they wrote is entirely dedicated to the life and achievements of Claude Shannon. Certainly, Claude Shannon does not need any introduction. However, for those who need a refresh, Shannon is the inventor of the information age.

I would have been so eager to meet Claude Shannon if he were still alive.

Who is Claude Shannon?

Have you heard of binary code? Entropy in information theory? Data compression theory? In other words, all the stuff behind mp3, mpg, zip. Error correcting codes? Hence, the stuff that makes your computer memory work well?
And more, for those working in Natural Language Processing. Do n-grams sound familiar? How about block ciphers? To the statisticians and data scientists, have you heard of the beta distribution? How about the uncertainty coefficient? Apparently, all that and even more has been invented by Claude Shannon in the ’50s.

Biography of a great mind

Two authors, Jimmy Soni and Rob Goodman, have done an amazing job at collecting as many anecdotes about Shannon as they could. First of all they have read most of his inventions. In addition, they have interviewed some of his family members. As a result, they have written the most complete biography of such a great mind. I asked them about some of the reasons behind Shannon’s inventions. Why did he have so many ideas? Is it because he truly was a genius or he just couldn’t focus on one subject at a time? How many hours per day did he work? Above all, was he funny?

In this episode Jimmy and Rob tell stories about Shannon in such a natural way that it really looks like they are giving you the chance to meet Shannon in person. Above all, Shannon is the father of many of the concepts and theories that data scientists use every day. It certainly is of absolute importance to get to know what such a great mind has given us.

Listen to the full episode and meet Claude Shannon. Join the discussion on our Discord server

References

Articles 

https://medium.com/the-mission/10-000-hours-with-claude-shannon-12-lessons-on-life-and-learning-from-a-genius-e8b9297bee8f https://medium.com/the-mission/on-claude-shannons-103rd-birthday-here-are-103-memorable-claude-shannon-quotes-maxims-and-843de4c716cf?source=your_stories_page

How information got reinvented http://nautil.us/issue/50/emergence/claude-shannon-the-las-vegas-cheat

Claude Shannon’s papers

https://medium.com/the-mission/a-genius-explains-how-to-be-creative-claude-shannons-long-lost-1952-speech-fbbcb2ebe07f http://www.math.harvard.edu/~ctm/home/text/others/shannon/entropy/entropy.pdf

A mathematical theory of communication

A mind at play (book links)

http://amzn.to/2pasLMz — Hardcover

https://amzn.to/2oCfVL0 — Audio


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