Information theory

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  • Raising cryptography’s standards

    Calculating encryption schemes’ theoretical security guarantees eases comparison, improvement.

    October 30, 2014
  • New frontier in error-correcting codes

    Coding scheme for interactive communication is the first to near optimality on three classical measures.

    October 2, 2014
  • Collecting just the right data

    When you can’t collect all the data you need, a new algorithm tells you which to target.

    July 25, 2014
  • 3-D images, with only one photon per pixel

    New scheme could enable laser rangefinders to infer depth from a hundredth as much light — and to produce images from only one nine-hundredth the light.

    November 28, 2013
  • Encryption is less secure than we thought

    For 65 years, most information-theoretic analyses of cryptographic systems have made a mathematical assumption that turns out to be wrong.

    August 14, 2013
  • Beefing up public-key encryption

    MIT researchers show how to secure widely used encryption schemes against attackers who have intercepted examples of successful decryption.

    February 15, 2013
  • Explaining the origins of word order using information theory

    Researchers believe that information theory — the discipline that gave us digital communication — can explain differences between human languages.

    October 10, 2012
  • What number is halfway between 1 and 9? Is it 5 — or 3?

    A new information-theoretical model of human sensory perception and memory sheds light on some peculiarities of the nervous system.

    October 5, 2012
  • The elusive capacity of networks

    Calculating the total capacity of a data network is a notoriously difficult problem, but information theorists are beginning to make some headway.

    May 15, 2012
  • The blind codemaker

    New error-correcting codes guarantee the fastest possible rate of data transmission, even over fluctuating wireless links.

    February 10, 2012
  • Perfect communication with imperfect chips

    Error-correcting codes discovered at MIT can still guarantee reliable communication, even in cellphones with failure-prone low-power chips.

    August 4, 2011
  • Secure, synchronized, social TV

    A technique called network coding could protect users’ privacy and providers’ content while making communications networks more efficient.

    April 1, 2011
  • Prodigy of probability

    Norbert Wiener gained fame as the father of cybernetics, but his earlier work on statistical descriptions of complex systems may prove more important.

    January 19, 2011
  • How wise are crowds?

    By melding economics and engineering, researchers show that as social networks get larger, they usually get better at sorting fact from fiction.

    November 16, 2010
  • Can you find me now?

    By demonstrating fundamental limits on their accuracy, MIT researchers show how to improve wireless location-detection systems.

    September 9, 2010
  • Rethinking networking

    MIT researchers helped develop a theory that promised much more efficient data networks; then they were the first to put it into practice.

    February 12, 2010
  • The power of ‘random’

    A ‘seemingly loopy’ technique that MIT researchers helped develop could dramatically improve the efficiency of communications networks.

    February 9, 2010
  • Jack Wozencraft, information theorist at MIT, 1925-2009

    Jack Wozencraft, considered one of the pioneers of coding theory in the nascent field of information theory, died peacefully August 31, 2009.

    January 21, 2010
  • Explained: Gallager codes

    In 1993, scientists achieved the maximum rate for data transmission — only to find they’d been scooped 30 years earlier by an MIT grad student.

    January 21, 2010
  • Explained: The Shannon limit

    A 1948 paper by Claude Shannon SM ’37, PhD ’40 created the field of information theory — and set its research agenda for the next 50 years.

    January 19, 2010