Person: Hamming, Richard Wesley
Richard Hamming was an American mathematician and computer scientist, best known for the so-called Hamming code.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In a paper published in Acta Mathematica in 1936, Trjitzinsky studied linear differential systems with two point boundary conditions of a particular type and Hamming extended this work in his thesis.
- In particular, Hamming investigated the Green's function and also the characteristic solutions for which he obtained asymptotic expressions.
- However by the time that Hamming was recruited to the project it was being undertaken at Los Alamos.
- In addition to Shannon and Tukey, some other young mathematicians had joined the Mathematical Research Department at Bell Labs just before Hamming.
- These included Donald Percy Ling (1912-1981) and Brockway McMillan (1915-) who had been at Los Alamos at the same time as Hamming.
- Hamming is best known for his work on error-detecting and error-correcting codes.
- Hamming codes, Hamming distance and Hamming metric are standard terms used today in coding theory but they are also used in many other areas of mathematics.
- How did Hamming come to do this work?
- It was in 1947 when Hamming set computers at Bell Labs to work on a particular problem over the weekend.
- Hamming thought out a way not only to determine if a single error had occurred but also, by adding extra parity checks, to detect where it had occurred.
- Work in codes is related to packing problems and the error-correcting codes discovered by Hamming led to the solution of a packing problem for matrices over finite fields.
- In 1956 Hamming worked on the early computer, the IBM 650.
- Hamming also worked on numerical analysis, integrating differential equations, and the Hamming spectral window which is much used in computation for smoothing data before Fourier analysing it.
- Hamming has received many awards for his pioneering work.
- The IEEE named a medal "The Richard W.
- In 1996, in Munich, Hamming received the prestigious $130,000 Eduard Rheim Award for Achievement in Technology for his work on error correcting codes.
- In 1997 Hamming retired from teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School and was made Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
Born 11 February 1915, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Died 7 January 1998, Monterey, California, USA.
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Thank you to the contributors under CC BY-SA 4.0!
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive