Peter Elias

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Peter Elias
Born(1923-11-23)November 23, 1923
DiedDecember 7, 2001(2001-12-07) (aged 78)[1]
Alma materMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Harvard University
Known forBinary erasure channel
Convolutional code
List decoding
Arithmetic coding
Error exponent
Universal code (data compression)
Differential pulse-code modulation
Scientific career
FieldsInformation theory, Coding theory

Peter Elias (November 23, 1923 – December 7, 2001[1]) was a pioneer in the field of information theory. Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he was a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty from 1953 to 1991. In 1955, Elias introduced convolutional codes as an alternative to block codes. He also established the binary erasure channel and proposed list decoding of error-correcting codes as an alternative to unique decoding.


Peter Elias was a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty from 1953 to 1991. From 1957 until 1966, he served as one of three founding editors of Information and Control.


Elias received the Claude E. Shannon Award of the IEEE Information Theory Society (1977);[2] the Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation of the IEEE Information Theory Society (1998);[3] and the IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal (2002).[4]

Family background[edit]

Peter Elias was born on November 23, 1923, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. His mother Anna Elias (née Wahrhaftig) was born on April 19, 1897, in New York City.[5] His father Nathaniel Mendel Elias,[6] born on February 21, 1895,[7] worked for Thomas Edison in his Edison, New Jersey, laboratory after graduating from Columbia University with a degree in chemical engineering. His paternal grandparents were Emil Elias[8] and Pepi Pauline Cypres (daughter of Peretz Hacohen Cypres and Lea Breindel Cypres[9]) who married in 1889 in Kraków, Poland.[10]


Elias died (at age 78) on December 7, 2001, of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Sales, Robert J. (December 10, 2001). "MIT Professor Peter Elias dies at 78; Was computer science pioneer". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  2. ^ "Claude E. Shannon Award Recipients". IEEE Information Theory Society. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
  3. ^ "Golden Jubilee Awards for Technological Innovation". IEEE Information Theory Society. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved May 29, 2011.
  5. ^ "Anna Elias". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  6. ^ "Barbara Elias Wrote Poetry, Was Independent Thinker". The Vineyard Gazette - Martha's Vineyard News. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  7. ^ "Nathanial Mandel Elias". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  8. ^ "Emil Elias". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  9. ^ "Pepi Pauline Elias". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 2017-06-22.
  10. ^ "Elliott Feiden Family Collection". Retrieved 2017-06-22.

External links[edit]