The Department of Mathematics, the Office of the VPR, and PIMS-SFU present

Afternoon on the Mathematics of Data and Information

Location: Irmacs Theatre

Date: October 6, 2016

Time: 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm


2:00pm Robert Calderbank (Duke University)

Title: Remembering Shannon

Abstract:  The foundation of our Information Age is the transformation of speech, audio, images and video into digital content, and the man who started the digital revolution was Claude Shannon. He arrived at the revolutionary idea of digital representation by sampling the information source at an appropriate rate, and converting the samples to a bit stream. He then characterized the source by a single number, the entropy, which quantifies the information content of the source, and he created coding theory, by introducing redundancy into the digital representation to protect against corruption.

Shannon started from the grand challenges of his day, he developed models that captured what made them so difficult, translated these challenges into mathematical terms and then developed fundamental limits. This talk will review some of what Shannon did, and it will speculate about what he might have done if he were among us today.

3:00pm Coffee/Tea

3:30pm Ingrid Daubechies (Duke University)

Title: Of Heartbeats, Bones and Brushstrokes


About the speakers:

Robert Calderbank is Director of the Information Initiative at Duke University, where he is Professor of Mathematics and Electrical Engineering. Prior to joining Duke as Dean of Natural Sciences in 2010, he directed the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics at Princeton University. Prior to joining Princeton in 2004 he was Vice President for Research at AT&T, in charge of what may have been the first industrial research lab where the primary focus was Big Data.

Professor Calderbank is well known for contributions to voiceband modem technology, to quantum information theory, and for co-invention of space-time codes for wireless communication. His research papers have been extensively cited and his inventions are found in billions of consumer devices. Professor Calderbank was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005 and has received a number of awards, including the 2013 IEEE Hamming Medal for his contributions to information transmission, and the 2015 Claude E. Shannon Award.

Ingrid Daubechies is James B Duke Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Computer engineering at Duke University. Before that she was the William R. Kenan Jr Professor in mathematics and applied mathematics at Princeton University. She was president of the International Mathematical Union for the period 2011-2014.

Professor Daubechies is well known for her seminal work on wavelets, an essential mathematical tool for data processing and analysis. For instance, the wavelet used in the JPEG 2000 image compression standard carries her name. Recently, she was granted a prestigious Math + X Investigator award by the Simons Foundation, supporting her research into building machine learning tools to extract meaningful data from ECG tracings, high-resolution scans of fossils, paintings and other complex digital data.