Claude Shannon: Collected Papers

Keywords: Claude Elwood Shannon, collected papers, collected works, mathematical theory of communication, communication theory of secrecy systems, communication in presence of noise, information theory, PCM, zero error capacity, coding with a fidelity criterion, symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits, differential analyzer, programming a computer for playing chess, artificial intelligence, Throbac, reliable circuits using less reliable relays, scientific aspects of juggling, algebra for theoretical genetics, publication list, biography.

Color picture of front cover This book contains the collected papers of Claude Elwood Shannon, one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century.

He is the creator of modern information theory, and an early and important contributor to the theory of computing. His pioneering work on computer chess and on "mice" that learn the path through a maze are amomg the earliest contributions to the field of artificial intelligence.

This book contains all his published work and the majority of his unpublished work (much of formerly classified as secret but now unclassified), together with notes and comments on the papers, two biographical articles (one can be seen here) and a complete publication list.

[Claude Shannon died February 24, 2001. An obituary can be found here.]

The book was edited by Neil J. A. Sloane and the late Aaron D. Wyner (both at AT&T Bell labs at the time) and published by the IEEE Press in 1993.

The illustration to the right shows the original dust-jacket.

Ordering information

The book is now distributed by John Wiley and Sons. The book should be ordered directly from them.

Click here to order

ISBN 0-7803-0434-9, IEEE Order No. PC-03319, xliv+ 924 pp., 1993.
Published by IEEE Press, 445 Hoes Lane, PO Box 1331, Piscataway NJ 08855, USA.

Introduction to the book

The publication of Claude Shannon's collected papers is long overdue. A substantial collection of his papers was published in Russian in 1963 (see item [121] of his Bibliography), but no English edition has ever appeared. The editors were therefore commissioned by the Information Theory Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to collect and publish his papers.

Since much of Shannon's work was never published, our first task was to assemble a complete bibliography. We did this by consulting Claude and Betty Shannon, who have been extremely helpful throughout this project and supplied us with copies of a number of unpublished items; many of Claude's friends and colleagues; the Bell Laboratories Archives; the National Archives in Washington; the National Security Agency; the patent records; Mathematical Reviews; and other sources. We believe the resulting bibliography of about 127 items is reasonably complete.

The second step was to decide what to include. Our policy has been to include everything of importance. We have included all the published papers, and all the unpublished material that seemed of lasting value. Some war-time reports of very limited interest have been excluded, as well as the M.I.T. seminar notes. If an excluded paper has an abstract, we have printed it. We have made several sets of copies of the excluded material, and plan to deposit copies in the AT&T Bell Laboratories library at Murray Hill, New Jersey, the M.I.T. library, and the Library of Congress and the British Library.

The papers fall naturally into three groups: (A) communication theory, information theory and cryptography; (B) computers, circuits and games; (C) the hitherto unpublished doctoral dissertation on population genetics. Inside each group the papers are, with some exceptions, arranged in chronological order. Minor items (abstracts, book reviews, and so on) have been placed at the end of each section.

Most of the published works have been photographically reproduced from the originals, while the others have been typeset by computer at AT&T Bell Labs.

The ``Notes'' following each section give references to more recent work.

We should like to thank R. B. Blackman, P. Elias, E. N. Gilbert, R. Gnanadesikan, R. L. Graham, D. W. Hagelbarger, T. T. Kadota, H. O. Pollak, D. Slepian, E. Wolman and R. Wright for supplying us with copies of Shannon's papers. R. A. Matula, of the AT&T Bell Laboratories library staff, has been extremely helpful to us throughout this project. J. P. Buhler, J. H. Conway, J. F. Crow, R. L. Graham, D. S. Johnson, T. Nagylaki and K. Thompson kindly provided comments on some of the papers. We are very grateful to Susan Marko (sometimes assisted by Sue Pope), who expertly retyped many of Shannon's papers for us.

Table of contents of the book

Biography of Claude Elwood Shannon
Profile of Claude Shannon --- Interview by Anthony Liversidge
Bibliography of Claude Elwood Shannon

Part A: Communication Theory, Information Theory, Cryptography

[Bracketed numbers refer to the Bibliography]

Preface to Part A

[37] A mathematical theory of communication
[25] Communication theory of secrecy systems
[15] Analogue of the Vernam system for continuous time series
[22] The best detection of pulses
[40] (with B. M. Oliver and J. R. Pierce) The philosophy of PCM
[43] Communication in the presence of noise
[60] Communication theory --- exposition of fundamentals
[61] General treatment of the problem of coding
[62] The lattice theory of information
[63] Discussion of preceding three papers
[65] Recent developments in communication theory
[69] Prediction and entropy of printed English
[86] Efficient coding of a binary source with one very infrequent symbol
[100] Information theory
[109] The zero error capacity of a noisy channel
[111] Certain results in coding theory for noisy channels
[113] Some geometrical results in channel capacity
[115] A note on a partial ordering for communication channels
[116] Channels with side information at the transmitter
[117] Probability of error for optimal codes in a Gaussian channel
[118] Coding theorems for a discrete source with a fidelity criterion
[119] Two-way communication channels
[122] (with R. G. Gallager and E. R. Berlekamp) Lower bounds to error
probability for coding on discrete memoryless channels I
[123] (with R. G. Gallager and E. R. Berlekamp) Lower bounds to error
probability for coding on discrete memoryless channels II

[2] Letter to Vannevar Bush
[21] (with B. M. Oliver) Circuits for a P.C.M. transmitter and receiver
[68] Some topics in information theory
[95] Concavity of transmission rate as a function of input probabilities
[102] The rate of approach to ideal coding
[103] The bandwagon
Notes to Part A

Part B: Computers, Circuits, Games

Preface to Part B

[1] A symbolic analysis of relay and switching circuits
[6] Mathematical theory of the differential analyzer
[13] The theory and design of linear differential equation machines
[14] (With John Riordan) The number of two-terminal series-parallel networks
[42] Network rings
[44] A theorem on coloring the lines of a network
[50] The synthesis of two-terminal switching circuits
[51] (with H. W. Bode) A simplified derivation of linear least square smoothing
and prediction theory
[54] Programming a computer for playing chess
[55] A chess-playing machine
[56] Memory requirements in a telephone exchange
[57] A symmetrical notation for numbers
[67] A method of power or signal transmission to a moving vehicle
[70] Presentation of a maze solving machine
[73] A mind-reading (?) machine
[75] The potentialities of computers
[76] Throbac I
[80] (with E. F. Moore) Machine aid for switching circuit design
[82] Computers and automata
[83] Realization of all 16 switching functions of two variables requires 18 contacts
[85] (with D. W. Hagelbarger) A relay laboratory outfit for colleges
[91] (edited jointly with John McCarthy) Automata Studies (Preface, etc.)
[93] A universal Turing machine with two internal states
[94] (with Karel de Leeuw, Edward F. Moore and N. Shapiro) Computability by
probabilistic machines
[96] Some results on ideal rectifier circuits
[97] The simultaneous synthesis of $s$ switching functions of $n$ variables
[98] (with D. W. Hagelbarger) Concavity of resistance functions
[99] Game playing machines
[110] (with Peter Elias and Amiel Feinstein) A note on the maximum flow through
a network
[89] (with Edward F. Moore) Reliable circuits using less reliable relays I
[90] (with Edward F. Moore) Reliable circuits using less reliable relays II
[114] Von Neumann's contributions to automata theory
[120] Computers and automation---Progress and promise in the twentieth century
[125] Claude Shannon's no-drop juggling diorama
[126] Scientific aspects of juggling

[5] The use of the Lakatos-Hickman relay in a subscriber sender
[7] A study of the deflection mechanism and some results on rate finders
[8] Backlash in overdamped systems
[11] Some experimental results on the deflection mechanism
[30] (with C. L. Dolph) The transient behavior of a large number of four-terminal
unilateral linear networks connected in tandem
[52] Review of Transformations on Lattices and Structures of Logic
by Stephen A. Kiss
[53] Review of Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal
and the Machine
by Norbert Wiener
[64] Review of Description of a Relay Calculator, by the staff of the [Harvard]
Computation Laboratory
[74] (with E. F. Moore) The relay circuit analyzer
[84] (with E. F. Moore) The relay circuit synthesizer
Notes to Part B

Part C: Genetics

Preface to Part C

[3] An algebra for theoretical genetics
Notes to Part C

The frontispiece (reproduced below) shows Shannon at Bell Labs around 1950.

Black and white photo

Claude Elwood Shannon: Collected Papers, Supplementary Volume

Edited by N. J. A. Sloane and A. D. Wyner, 1993
Deposited in The Library of Congress, The British Library,
and the libraries of M.I.T., Cornell, Univ. Mich. and AT&T Bell Laboratories.

This volume includes all of Claude Elwood Shannon's writings that we did not include in the Collected Papers.

Title page of Supplementary Volume:


Oct. 15 2013: I have placed a copy of this book on the Internet Archive
- see

Contents pages of Supplementary Volume:

CES2.3 CES2.4 CES2.5 CES2.6

Postscript added Dec 04, 2010

Nelson H. F. Beebe (Mathematics Dept., University of Utah, Salt Lake City) wrote to me today saying:

This note is to alert you to recent additions to two bibliography
archives of BibTeX-format coverage of Claude Shannon's publications
(including some that your Web page missed), and of (almost) all
publications in the Bell System Technical Journal and its three
descendants, from the first issue in 1922 to the latest of this month
(December 2010):