Bell Laboratories  
  Math. Netw. Commun. Dept.  
  Commun. & Signal Proc. Group  
Communications and Signal Processing
Research Group

Thomas L. Marzetta, Group Leader
Linda Chalet, Administrative Assistant


The Communications and Statistical Sciences Research Group was formed in January 2008. The members of the group originated from the Mathematics of Communication Research Department, the history of which follows below.

History of the Mathematics of Communication Research Department

The Mathematics of Communication Research Department's history is graced by the work of many of the early communication/information theory giants. Foremost among them is the great Claude E. Shannon. Shannon spent most of his illustrious career in our Center, and it was here that he created the subject of information theory. In the decade following the publication of his classic 1948 paper, Shannon led the world-wide development of this subject as it became an established discipline. In these early years, Shannon was joined in the Center by other pioneers including Brockway MacMillan, Richard W. Hamming, Edgar N. Gilbert, and David Slepian. McMillan made important contributions to the theory of what we now call lossless data-compression including the famous "Shannon-McMillan-Brieman" theorem. Hamming invented error-correcting codes, and Gilbert found the famous "Gilbert (lower) bound" on the size of an error-correcting code with a given minimum distance. Slepian, whom many consider second only to Shannon as a giant in the field, made many landmark contributions. In these early years he is best known for his studies of "group" error-correcting codes. Slepian was the first to use sophisticated algebraic techniques to study error-correcting codes, and is therefore arguably the father of algebraic coding theory.

Shannon left Bell Laboratories in 1956 to join the faculty of MIT, and Slepian became the leader of the Center's communication theory research and Head of the "Communication Theory Department". In the 1950's and 1960's he was joined by Henry Landau (now retired), Aaron Wyner, F.J. (Jessie) McWilliams (deceased), T.T. (Ted) Kadota (now retired) and Elwyn Berlekamp (now at UC Berkeley). Also, in 1965, the distinguished Stephen O. Rice, who was famous for his 1940's work on a mathematical treatment of electrical noise and who had worked for many years in the Bell Laboratories Systems Area, joined Slepian's department. In 1968, as part of a reorganization, Rice became the Head of the newly created "Communications Analysis Research Department". Slepian returned to full-time research and a half-time faculty position at the University of Hawaii. He retired in 1982. Rice retired in 1972, and in 1974, Wyner became the Department Head (Slepian served as an interim Head for a short period). In the 1970's and 1980's the following joined the department: James Mazo, Hans Witsenhausen (now retired), Allan Gersho (now at UCSB), Leo Flatto (now retired), Larry Ozarow (transferred to the Lucent Cellular Business Unit)), Victor Wei (now at the Chinese University of Hong Kong), James Reeds (transferred to another department in the Math Center, and now with AT&T Labs), David Thomson (now at Queens Univ.), Alon Orlitsky (now at UCSD) and Ingrid Daubechies (now at Princeton Univ.). In the 1990's, we were joined by Tom Richardson (now with Flarion), Rajiv Laroia (who then became a Dept Head in the Bell Labs Wireless Center), Emre Telatar, Emina Soljanin, Wim Sweldens, Jelena Kovacevic, Rudi Urbanke, Tom Marzetta, Bert Hochwald, Adriaan van Wijngaarden, Vivek Goyal, Babak Hassibi and Alexei Ashikhmin. In the new millennium, Gerhard Kramer and Raman Venkataramani have joined. Also, since 1968, Jacob Ziv, a faculty member of the Haifa Technion, has been a frequent visitor and substantial contributor to our department. In 1993, Wyner stepped down as Department Head, and was succeeded by Jim Mazo. After the creation of Lucent Technologies, the name of the department was changed to the Mathematics of Communications Research Department.

Our department was not alone in communication theory research in the Mathematics Center. In particular, N.J.A. Sloane, and F.J. McWilliams, and A.R. Calderbank have made enormous contributions to coding theory. They were in another department within the Center, and are now with AT&T Labs.

The following is a highly abridged list of some of the major research accomplishments of the Mathematics of Communication Research Department and its predecessors since about 1960.

Over the years we have also made substantial non-research contributions to AT&T. In particular we have had significant impact in the following areas: voice-band modems, cellular technology, secure microwave telephone transmission, undersea transmission, Bell Labs military efforts - especially underwater sound (sonar).

AWARDS: The following were awarded for work done in our department and its predecessors.

Aaron D. Wyner (last revisions by J.E. Mazo and A.J. van Wijngaarden)