David A. Huffman

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David A. Huffman
Born (1925-08-09)August 9, 1925
Died October 7, 1999(1999-10-07) (aged 74)
Santa Cruz, California
Residence USA
Fields Information theory, Coding theory
Alma mater Ohio State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thesis The Synthesis of Sequential Switching Circuits (1953)
Doctoral advisor Samuel H. Caldwell
Known for Huffman coding
Notable awards IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (1999)

David Albert Huffman (August 9, 1925 – October 7, 1999) was a pioneer in computer science, known for his Huffman coding.[1][2] He was also one of the pioneers in the field of mathematical origami.[3] David Huffman died at the age of 74, ten months after being diagnosed with cancer.


Huffman earned in 1944 his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State University, then served two years as an officer in the United States Navy. He returned to Ohio State to earn in 1949 his master's degree in electrical engineering. In 1953, he collected his Doctor of Science in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with the thesis The Synthesis of Sequential Switching Circuits, advised by Samuel H. Caldwell.[1][2][4]


Huffman joined the faculty at MIT in 1953. In 1967, he joined the faculty of University of California, Santa Cruz and helped found its Computer Science Department, where he served as chair from 1970 to 1973. He retired in 1994.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]


  1. ^ a b Gary Stix (September 1991). "Profile: Information Theorist David A. Huffman". Scientific American. Vol. 265 no. 3. Nature Publishing Group. pp. 54–58. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Stephens, Tim; Burns, Jim (October 11, 1999). "Eminent UCSC computer scientist David Huffman dies at age 74". Currents Online. University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ Lang, Robert. "Origami Science Links". 
  4. ^ a b David Albert Huffman at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ "IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Golden Jubilee Awards for Technological Innovation". IEEE Information Theory Society. Retrieved July 14, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Computer Pioneer Charter Recipients". IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Past recipients for W. Wallace McDowell Award". IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved July 13, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database - Louis E. Levy Medal Laureates". Franklin Institute. Retrieved July 12, 2011. 

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