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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.

Logical Machines

Shannon created the first learning machine, a maze for a mouse, called Theseus, using relays, that has not yet been recreated in same size and speed, although I invested a lot of work in a machine near to the original for the HNF and MIT museum.

A second one, even smaller, was called the Mind Reading Machine. The electrical schema was published in short article, reprinted in the Collected Works. I have analyzed in to a large extent and made a microcontroller that simulates the relay circuit, as well as some electro-mechanical test devices.

Detail will follow here; you may speed up the process if you signal interest, email is


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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