ISIT-2014: On The Mathematics of Distinguishable Difference

2014 Shannon Lecture:  On The Mathematics of Distinguishable Difference.
By János Körner,  "Sapienza" University of Rome

Shannon Lecture

We explore the interplay of Shannon theory with extremal combinatorics.
In the early eighties the author came to the conclusion that the problem of separate encoding of two correlated binary sources for the recovery of their binary sum is a true stumbling block in multi-user information theory and began a quest for new combinatorial tools to face this challenge. Although the problem of the binary sum remains unsolved in the case of general joint distributions, many intriguing problems in combinatorics could be solved using information-theoretic methods and the hope remains that the construction of a bridge between these two fields will eventually bring returns to mainstream information theory.


János Körner has been a Professor in Computer Science at "Sapienza" University of Rome since 1993. He obtained his Degree in Mathematics from Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest in 1970. From 1970 to 1992 he worked at the Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. During these years he had two periods of leave: from 1981 to 1983 working at Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, and for the academic year 1987-88 working at ENST, Paris, France. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory. In 2010 he was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as an External Member. His research interests are in information Theory, in Extremal Combinatorics and their interplay.