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Notes related to Claude E. Shannon

Find here some notes and information related to Claude E. Shannon (1916 - 2001) (see also Wikipedia).

The (Rockefeller) Differential Analyzer

After his graduation, C.E. Shannon worked for Vannevar Bush in the MIT for a mechanical analog computer, called Differential Analyzer. Most sources show pictures of the well-known, pure mechanical version, while there was a second, more advanced machine which was electromechanically controlled, called the Rockefeller Differential Analyzer; a picture is available from the MIT museum. It was presumably the most powerful computer at that time and kept secret during the war. Details are in my note with the title Claude Shannon and "the" Differential Analyzer.

Learning Machines

Shannon created a first learning machine, a maze for a mouse, called Theseus, using relays, that has not yet been recreated in the same technology and speed. The HNF (Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum) has, however, created two functional replicas (HNF's Theseus replica) which internally use modern technology, yet behave exacly like the original according to Shannon's film. The replicas are shown in the HNF in Paderborn and the MIT Museum in Cambridge, MA.

A second one, even smaller, was developed as a portable variant of Hagelbarger's SEER, A SEquence Extrapolating Robot and coined the Mind Reading Machine in his publication, more: Shannon's Mind Reading Machine


More Information can be found in the following books (more to add):

- N.J.A. Sloane, Aaron D. Wyner (Ed): “Claude Elwood Shannon – Collected Papers.” IEEE, Wiley New York (1993)

- Axel Roch: “Claude E. Shannon: Spielzeug, Leben und die geheime Geschichte seiner Theorie der Information.” Gegenstalt Verlag, Berlin (2009)

- Jimmy Soni, Rob Goodman: “A Mind At Play.” Simon & Schuster, New York (2017)

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