The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood Characters

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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. During World War II, Shannon worked on secret cryptography projects for the US government. While he was working on these projects that he first 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. A bit could have one of two states, which he presented as 0 and 1. He also equated the amount of information in a message with the amount of entropy or uncertainty in the message. By reducing information to its elemental form, he opened up a new field of scientific inquiry that...

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