Communications and Signal Processing Seminar

Reliable communication over noisy channels by Guessing Random Additive Noise Decoding (GRAND)

Muriel MédardProfessorMassachusetts Institute of Technology

In 1948 Claude Shannon published "a Mathematical Theory of Communication" , which created the basis for the digital communication revolution that was to follow, and gave rise to the field of Information Theory. As part of that ground-breaking work, he identified the greatest rate at which data can be communicated over a noisy channel and also provided an algorithm for achieving it. Despite its mathematical elegance, his algorithm is impractical and much work in the intervening 70 years has focused on identifying more practical approaches that enable reliable communication at high rates. That work is ongoing and, for example, Polar Codes, first introduced by Erdal Arikan in 2009, have recently been adopted into the 5G cellular standard. We revisit communication over a noisy channel through the lens of a new universal channel decoding algorithm first introduced in 2018 called GRAND (Guessing Random Additive Noise Decoding). GRAND has surprising practical and theoretical features that set it apart from earlier approaches. Analysis of GRAND provides an alternate means of proof of Shannon's original theorem, giving rise to several new insights along the way. Ongoing work and open problems will be discussed.

The talk is based on joint work with Ken Duffy (Hamilton Institute).
Muriel Médard, Ph.D., is the Green Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at MIT. She leads the Network Coding and Reliable Communications Group at the Research Laboratory for Electronics at MIT. She has co-founded three companies to commercialize network coding. She is a fellow the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), has been editor for many publications, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. She was 2012 President of the IEEE Information Theory Society, and received its 2017 Wyner Award. She has served as technical program committee co-chair of many of the major conferences in information theory, communications and networking. She received the 2002 IEEE Kirchmayer Award, the 2009 IEEE Communication Society and Information Theory Society Joint Paper Award, the 2009 Bennett Prize, the 2016 IEEE Vehicular Technology Evans Award, the 2016 IEEE Women in Communication Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award, the 2017 IEEE Communications Society Armstrong Award, the 2018 ACM Sigcomm Test of Time Award, and several conference paper awards. She received the MIT 2004 Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award and the 2013 EECS Graduate Student Association Mentor Award. The Thomson Reuters 2014 most influential scientific minds list includes her. She is a member of the National Academy of Inventors.

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Faculty Host

Vijay Subramanian