Polyanskiy is selected for NSF Career Award

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Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:15am

Yury Polyanskiy is recipient of National Science Foundation Career AwardYury Polyanskiy, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science in the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department (since July 2011) and principal investigator in the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems  (LIDS) at MIT, has been granted a CAREER award by the National Science Foundation.  His work titled "Information Theory Beyond Capacity" will advance the state-of-the-art in the fundamental limits of delay-constrained wireless communication, as well as develop abstract topics in information theory on complex graphs, with potential applications in communication and other data processing systems such as fault-tolerant chips and noise-resistant circuits.

Prof. Polyanskiy received the MS degree in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in 2005 and the PhD degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 2010.  His thesis work initiated a systematic approach to studying impact of finite delay constraint on information theoretic fundamental limits. The accompanying journal paper won the 2011 Best Paper Award from the IEEE Information Theory Society. Previously, Prof. Polyanskiy was a recipient of the Best Student Paper Awards at the 2008 and 2010 IEEE International Symposiums on Information Theory (ISIT). In 2012 he was selected to hold the Robert J. Shillman (1974) Career Development Professorship in EECS.Information. 

Theory Beyond Capacity

Unprecedented technological progress in the last decades makes information theory an ever more exciting and important discipline. The modern world is swarming with information streams pervading the radio, wires, fiber optic cables, and on-chip networks. Yet we are unable to answer the most basic questions such as the impact of delay on the capacity of multiple-antenna wireless channels, or the fundamental principles of protecting computation networks from local process variation in silicon chip fabrication. As such, the main purpose of this project is to advance the state-of-the-art in the fundamental limits of delay-constrained wireless communication. Computation of the impact of delay constraint in wireless communication will allow assessments of the degree of suboptimality of currently employed systems and industry standards, and likewise shed light on novel and higher-performing wireless systems.

The progress on non-asymptotic information theory is inseparable from understanding of non-Shannon information measures and their data-processing properties on general (non-linear) graphs. The progress on this topic is expected to provide the theoretical tools required for exploration of complex information processing systems including non-communication ones, such as fault-tolerant chips and noise-resistant circuits. Advanced converse techniques and graph-based data-processing will open information theory to new fields and is expected to reinvigorate the progress in the converse bounds for multi-terminal (network) problems.

The curriculum will be broadly disseminated through online resources. The analysis of real-world communication systems also presents a rich field for undergraduate research opportunities (UROPs). Popularizing finite blocklength results is likewise expected to have industrial impact, especially in areas related to wireless and time-critical communication. The compiled performance charts and delay-constrained analysis will guide the design of next-generation mobile standards and help in fair assessment of intellectual property.