A well-known researcher and educator in digital communications and networks, Robert Gallager has been a professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., since 1997. Dr. Gallager’s career at MIT started as a research assistant in 1956, followed by the ranks of assistant, associate, full, and Fujitsu professor in 1960, 1964, 1967, and 1988. Before entering MIT, he was at the Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1953 to 1954, and in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956.
In parallel with his MIT career, Dr. Gallager made important consulting contributions to Codex Corporation, Lincoln Laboratories, and other institutions. He was also a chair of the advisory committee of the National Science Foundation Division on Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure, a chair of the advisory committee in the electrical engineering department of The Technion in Haifa, Israel, and a member of several other academic advisory committees.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Pennsylvania in 1953, his Master of Science and Doctor of Science came from MIT in 1957 and 1960, respectively. He invented the LDPC coding technique, now at the heart of modern cellphones, in his doctoral thesis. The Information Theory Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) was home to much of his research and service, and awarded him the 1983 Claude Shannon Award. The IEEE itself awarded him the Baker Prize Paper Award in 1966 and the Medal of Honor in 1990. The National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences all elected him to membership.
A major focus of Dr. Gallager’s career is writing textbooks for graduate students, including “Stochastic Processes: Theory for Applications,” 2013, “Principles of Digital Communication,” 2008, “Information Theory and Reliable Communication,” 1968, and, with co-author Dimitri Bertsekas, “Data Networks,” 1987 and 1981. Dr. Gallager and Marie Gallager, his wife since 1981, jointly have seven children and 17 grandchildren. When not visiting family and traveling, he now enjoys playing with mathematics, playing the piano, and learning psychology.
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