Profile of Robert J. McEliece

2007 Viterbi Lecture

Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering


“Learning to Teach the Viterbi Algorithm”


Robert J. McEliece
Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering
Professor Emeritus
California Institute of Technology



One of Andrew Viterbi’s most important contributions to modern technology is the celebrated Viterbi Algorithm, which is the cornerstone of modern coding theory. I have taught the Viterbi Algorithm to many generations of Caltech students using a variety of pedagogical devices, including string models, multilevel transparencies, and computer animations. In this talk I will discuss these methods as well as others, and what I have learned by teaching the Viterbi Algorithm.

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Robert J. McEliece  is a renowned information theorist who is the Allen E. Puckett Professor of Electrical Engineering at Caltech and the 2004 Shannon Lecturer of the IEEE. He has done novel mathematical work relating to the reliable storage and faster transmission of information. At Caltech he won five teaching awards and advised 30 Ph. D. students. From 1978 until his retirement, McEliece consulted with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on error-correcting coding schemes. Beginning in 1997, he consulted with SONY in Tokyo.



Published on June 26th, 2017

Last updated on August 2nd, 2023