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Future Directions in Information Theory: A Vision and Recommendations. Jeff Andrews, UT Austin Alex Dimakis , UT Austin Lara Dolecek , UCLA Michelle Effros , Caltech Olgica Milenkovic , UIUC Muriel Medard , MIT Andrea Montanari , Stanford Sriram Vishwanath , UT Austin

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future directions in information theory a vision and recommendations

FutureDirections in Information Theory: A Vision and Recommendations

Jeff Andrews, UT Austin

Alex Dimakis, UT Austin

Lara Dolecek, UCLA

Michelle Effros, Caltech

OlgicaMilenkovic, UIUC

Muriel Medard, MIT

Andrea Montanari, Stanford

SriramVishwanath, UT Austin

Edmund Yeh, Northeastern

ITA BOG Meeting, Jan. 2014

background
Background
  • IEEE has asked its societies to come up with a document detailing “Future Directions” (technical directions)
    • This will make its way into a high-level IEEE level report
    • Gerhard asked me to lead this effort in Spring 2014
  • More importantly, seemed a great opportunity to:
    • Take stock of recent developments/trends in information theory
    • Consider where things likely to go in next 10-20 years
    • Articulate a compelling rationale for increased funding and hiring of information theory researchers
    • Consider actions the ITSoc BOG could take to amplify the long-term vibrancy of our area and to meet future needs
  • I formed the committee, aiming for diversity of research areas, blend of young and established scholars, “out of the box” thinkers
    • ISIT BOG action item: consult and include “outside experts”
the report
The Report
  • We developed a concise 14 page report that is on the BOG website
  • Philosophy:
    • Most growth and funding opportunities will be in areas of intersection with other disciplines; articulate those
    • Exciting things happening in other fields that are enabled by or closely related to information theory; raise awareness of those
    • Keep it simple and short, avoid buzzwords, stick to fundamentals
  • This was a pretty daunting task
    • We have gone through 20 rounds of revision in last 9 months
    • Could use further improvement, and always will
    • We therefore ask the BOG for a motion and vote to approve the report, with suggested revisions
outline of report
Outline of Report
  • Communications (JA)
    • Fine block length coding and capacity
    • Massive MIMO
    • Iterative R&D with industry
  • Networking (JA, ME, LD)
    • Fundamental properties of large (general) networks and graphs, inc. network coding and multiuser IT
    • Nano-circuit design and distributed data storage
  • Control theory (SV)
    • Capacity of feedback systems
    • Cognitive radios/dynamic spectrum access
    • Humans-in-the-loop and brain machine interfaces
  • Signal Processing (JA)
    • Full duplex communication
    • Implementation of capacity achieving techniques such as interference alignment, MUD, DPC-like precoding
    • Human information acquisition
    • Compressed sensing and sampling limits*
  • Statistics and Machine Learning (AD)
    • Application to massive data sets; computational efficiency
    • High-dimensional statistics, PCA
  • Genetics and Molecular Biology (MM, OM, JA)
    • Limits of DNA processing and compression
    • Adapting IT Tools to Genomics; Bio-inspired algorithms for IT
    • Evolutionary biology
  • Theoretical Computer Science (AD)
    • Seen as a major area of blurring with us (list decoding, security, etc.)
    • Computation as a constraint?
  • Physics (AM)
    • Statistical physics, entropy
    • Quantum information theory
  • Economics and Finance (EY)
    • Value of information in economic decisions
    • Optimal pricing with limited information
    • Information economics
  • Neuroscience was removed, unfortunately
committee recommendation 1 for bog discussion
Committee Recommendation 1(for BOG discussion)
  • Consider launching a new journal to promote these intersections/special topics
    • “IEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Information Theory”
    • About 4-6 special issues a year; very selective
    • Set very high bar for guest editor team (requiring experts outside of IT if a cross-cutting topic)
    • Could be overseen by BOG while incubating
    • Could relieve some pressure on Trans. IT, give more people a chance to serve as Editors
    • Provide an alternative for IT-focused special topics to JSAC or rare (but very popular) Trans IT special issues
    • Could provide new revenue stream to ITSoc(especially if electronic only), this is secondary however
committee recommendations 2 and 3 for bog discussion
Committee Recommendations 2 and 3(for BOG discussion)
  • Make special efforts to recognize novel, meritorious and higher risk papers outside the IT mainstream
    • Doing a fairly good job at this already, e.g. recent ITSoc best paper awards on Raptor codes (Shokrollahi), LDPC decoding (Luby et al), and compressed sensing (Candes et al, Donoho).
    • Could establish a new award for highly creative applications of IT to other disciplines, analagous to IT/ComSoc award
  • Promote IT intersections at ITSoc-sponsored conferences
    • ITA doing a great job of this, e.g. with keynotes
    • Could encourage ISIT and ITW’s to do so as well, and ensure CFPs encourage submissions on these topics
committee recommendations 4 and 5 for bog discussion
Committee Recommendations 4 and 5(for BOG discussion)
  • Encourage and promote broad-minded and accessible instruction of information theory at universities
    • Cover did this very successfully at Stanford
    • How to give such encouragement? ITSoc Teaching award?
  • Publish much of this report, recommendations, upon BOG approval in ITSoc newsletter
    • Comparable to the IT/ComSoc paper award but for the complement of communications

We are open to other ideas! In particular how to influence funding agencies in/outside US