The Joint Information Theory and Communications Society Paper Award is given annually to the author(s) of outstanding papers, relevant to both societies, published in any publication of the IEEE Communications Society or the IEEE Information Theory Society during the previous three calendar years. The recipients of the 2009 award are Tracey Ho, Muriel Medard, Ralf Koetter, David R. Karger, Michelle Effros, Jun Shi and Ben Leong, for the paper "A Random Linear Network Coding Approach to Multicast" published in the October 2006 edition of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (vol. 52, no. 10, pages 4413-4430).
This frequently cited paper sets out a distributed random linear network coding approach for transmission and compression of information in general multi-source multicast networks. The authors prove that the performance of a network code induced by independent and local linear coding operations achieves, with high probability as the field size grows, the same performance as the best globally designed network code. This paper has had a large impact on applications of network coding: virtually all practical protocols that have been proposed (for example, for peer-to-peer systems or wireless networks) use the randomized network coding approach introduced in this paper.
On learning of this this recognition, Prof. Medard reported: "This is very much a MIT-centric team. Tracey Ho, now a faculty at Caltech, was my doctoral student. David Karger is of course one of our faculty. Ralf Koetter and Michelle Effros were both visitingfaculty here when they spent their sabbaticals with me. Ben Leong, now at NUS, was a student of Barbara Liskov."
Congratulations to this team!