The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Who was Claude Shannon?

Claude Shannon was a mathematician and engineer who worked at Bell Labs in the mid 20th century. He was born in 1916 in Michigan and studied electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, followed by electrical engineering and mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2. While Shannon worked on secret cryptography projects for the US government during World War II, what theory about information did he conceive?

Shannon conceived of a way to describe information as an entity separate from the meaning of a message. He developed the idea of the bit, the smallest particle of information.

3. What were the two stages of a "bit" as conceived by Claude Shannon?

A bit could have one of two states, which he presented as 0 and 1.

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