MAA Writing Awards
Error-Correcting Codes and Invariant Theory: New Applications of a Nineteenth-Century Technique
Year of Award: 1979
Award: Chauvenet Prize, and also the Lester Ford Award in 1978
Publication Information: The American Mathematical Monthly, vol. 84 (1977), pp. 82-107
Summary: A nineteenth century technique, invariant theory, has recently been used to study error-correcting codes. This technique is potentially of much wider application, is very powerful, often produces startling results, and (not least) is fun to use.
About the Author: Neil J.A. Sloane received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University in 1967. After two years as an assistant professor there, he joined AT&T Bell Labs (now AT&T Shannon Labs), where he has been ever since. He is the author or coauthor of books on error-correcting codes, sphere packing, integer sequences, optics, and rock climbing. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, an AT&T Fellow and an IEEE Fellow. He has received numerous awards, including the Chauvenet Prize of the MAA, the IEEE Hamming Medal and the Shannon Award of the IEEE Information Theory Society.