The Bit Player
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Location: Redstone Theater
With Mark Levinson and Robert Gallager in person
Presented in collaboration with the World Science Festival
The Bit Player. Dir. Mark Levinson. 2019, 90 minutes. World Premiere. With John Hutton and Kaliswa Brewster. In a blockbuster paper in 1948, Claude Shannon introduced the notion of a “bit” and laid the foundation for the information age. His ideas ripple through such diverse fields as communication, linguistics, genetics, computing, cryptography, neuroscience, artificial intelligence and cosmology. In later years, he constructed a mathematical theory of juggling, rode unicycles, wrote the first paper on computer chess and built a flaming trumpet. The Bit Player tells the story of an overlooked genius who revolutionized the world. The world premiere of this film will be followed by a conversation discussing Shannon’s legacy and the impact of his work. View trailer.
This program is supported by the IEEE Information Theory Society
About the speakers:
Robert Gallager has been a professor at MIT since his ScD thesis in 1960 where he invented LDPC codes, which have evolved to be a major error-correction technique in the oncoming 5th generation wireless telecommunication standard. He worked with Claude Shannon and in 1968 wrote an Information Theory textbook that remained the standard in the field for 25 years. He wrote four other textbooks, all still in print, in related fields. He was active in the founding of Codex Corporation, and his fundamental work on quadrature amplitude modulation helped lead to its commercial success. He has won many awards, including the 1990 Medal of Honor from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the 1999 Harvey Prize from Technion, and the 2003 Marconi Fellowship. He is most proud, however, of his many graduate students who have become leaders in the communication and related fields.
Mark Levinson is a filmmaker best known for his award-winning documentary Particle Fever. Before embarking on his film career, Levinson earned a doctoral degree in particle physics from the University of California at Berkeley. In the film world, he became a specialist in the post-production writing and recording of dialogue known as ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement). He has worked closely with such directors as Anthony Minghella, Francis Coppola, Tom Tykwer, Milos Forman, and David Fincher. He is the writer, producer, and director of the narrative feature film Prisoner of Time, which examined the lives of former Russian dissident artists after the collapse of the Soviet Union and had an acclaimed premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival. Particle Fever screened at the Museum of the Moving Image as part of the World Science Festival in 2014.