In 1977, he joined and hold a Professorship at the University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany. In 1988, he received together with Imre Csiszar the Best Paper Award of the IEEE Information Theory Society for work in the area of the hypothesis testing as well as in 1990 together with Gunter Dueck for a new theory of message identification. He has been awarded this prize twice. As an emeritus of Bielefeld University, Ahlswede received the Claude Elwood Shannon Award 2006 of the IEEE information Theory Society. The prize is designated after Claude Elwood Shannon and since 1974 for outstanding achievements in the area of the information theory. The prize went only five times to scientists from outside the USA. In 2000, Rudolf Ahlswede, Ning Cai, Shuo-Yen Robert Li,and R. W. Yeung published a paper "Network Information Flow" in IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, VOL. 46, NO. 4, JULY 2000, this is the beginning of a new theory known as Network coding.
Rudolf Ahlswede died on December 18, 2010, at the age of 72.
R. Ahlswede and I. Wegener, Suchprobleme, Teubner Verlag, Stuttgart, 1979.
R. Ahlswede and I. Wegener, Search Problems, English Edition of "Suchprobleme" with Supplement of recent Literature,
R.L. Graham, J.K. Leenstra, and R.E. Tarjan (Eds.), Wiley-Interscience Series in Discrete Mathematics and Optimization, 1987.
I. Althöfer, N. Cai, G. Dueck, L. Khachatrian, M.S. Pinsker, A. Sárkozy, I. Wegener and Z. Zhang (Eds.),Numbers, Information and Complexity, 50 articles in honour of Rudolf Ahlswede, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 2000.
R. Ahlswede, L. Bäumer, N. Cai, H. Aydinian, V. Blinovsky, C. Deppe, and H. Mashurian (Eds.), General Theory of Information Transfer and Combinatorics, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer-Verlag, Vol. 4123, 2006.