Claude Elwood Shannon

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Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916February 24, 2001), an American electrical engineer and mathematician, has been called "the father of information theory", and was the founder of practical digital circuit design theory.


  • My greatest concern was what to call it. I thought of calling it 'information,' but the word was overly used, so I decided to call it 'uncertainty.' When I discussed it with John von Neumann, he had a better idea. Von Neumann told me, 'You should call it entropy, for two reasons. In the first place your uncertainty function has been used in statistical mechanics under that name, so it already has a name. In the second place, and more important, no one really knows what entropy really is, so in a debate you will always have the advantage.'
    • Scientific American 1971 , volume 225 , page 180
    • Explaining why he named his uncertainty function "entropy".
  • I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans. And I am rooting for the machines.
    • Omni Magazine 1987


  • Shannon's maxim: "The enemy knows the system."
    • Reformulation of Kerckhoffs' principle

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