Is your theory in unstable balance? Change your unicycle.

In the time of Guglielmo Marconi’s discoveries, the researchers thought the communication between a transmission and reception system was due to a flow of electromagnetic waves in the space and time over a noisy transmission channel. It ‘s easier thinking of a transmitted and received signal rather than give to it an informative value. In the 1948 Claude Elwood Shannon, an american electrical engineer and mathematician, which worked as a researcher at the laboratories of “AT & T Bell telephones” in New Jersey, he published an article entitled: “Mathematical Theory of Communication” published by “Bell systems Technical Journal”.


Claude Elwood Shannon

In this article he found it was possible to evaluate and measure the produced information  by a message which was transmitted in a generic continuous and discrete communication system  (ex: radio, telephone, television in black and white, telegraph), and that the speed of every message is measurable in RATE (number bits / second). In the actual practice this theory had a strong impact in various sciences such as: psychology, linguistics, economics and biology. A very funny anecdote about Shannon tells his strange way of approaching the formulation of new theories: according to the historical record, he could find new ideas, only after having rode on his unicycle down the halls of Bell Labs, scaring the colleagues. He was always busy to add some gadgets (double-seat, engine) to his unicycle .


Shannon’s unicycle

He was so keen about the game of chess, so that he invented a computer which autonomously played chess  and a mechanical mouse which chased a coin made  of brass (“cheese”) inside a maze. He was the founder of the information theory, which gives the name of the information engineering field  and he has given a strong boost to the field of artificial intelligence.

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