MATC Mathematics Club
Lecture #128

Madison Area Technical College
Madison, Wisconsin

Fall 2013 Presentation #128 (September 20, 2013)

Professor Nigel Boston, UW-Madison

"The Mathematics of Information"

Previous Lectures: (Cryptography and the Benefits of Ignorance, Congruent Numbers, Invariant-Based Face Recognition)

Abstract: Increasingly in the modern world we deal with information. How do we measure information? How can we compress the information in a file and recover it later? Are there limits on how much we can compress by? How can we transmit information over noisy channels and get photographs from distant spacecraft? Are 3-dimensional crosswords possible? How about n-dimensional crosswords? These questions are answered by a theory introduced by Claude Shannon back in 1948 and heavily developed since.


Professor Nigel Boston grew up in England and attended Cambridge and Harvard. His postdoctoral work in Paris and Berkeley was followed by 12 years at the University of Illinois, except for six months as Rosenbaum Fellow at the Newton Institute in Cambridge, UK, when he witnessed Wiles's announcement of a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem. Nigel subsequently produced a survey article and a book on the proof. In recent years he moved towards engineering, becoming founding director of the Illinois Center for Cryptography and Information Protection. In 2002, he was hired by the University of Wisconsin - Madison as part of the computational sciences cluster, with joint appointments in Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering. He spent 2006-7 as Hedberg Chair at the University of South Carolina and 2008-9 as Stokes Professor of Pure and Applied Algebra at University College Dublin, Ireland.

This will be his third presentation to our math club. The previous presentations are:

"Congruent Numbers"

"Invariant-Based Face Recognition"



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