Skip to main content

The Genesis of Coding Theory

Daniel Costello


This talk gives an historical overview of the field of channel coding dating back to the work of Shannon in 1948. The major advances in each decade since 1948 are viewed from a common perspective: the power and bandwidth efficiencies needed to achieve a targeted level of performance. The most important contributions in coding over the last 60 years are highlighted, including Hamming codes, Reed-Muller codes, Reed-Solomon codes, convolutional codes, soft decision decoding, trellis coded modulation, multilevel coding, multistage decoding, concatenated codes, turbo codes, low-density parity-check codes, spatially coupled codes, polar codes, and iterative decoding. Finally, areas of potential future research in channel coding are briefly discussed.


Daniel J. Costello, Jr. was born in Seattle, WA, on August 9, 1942. He received the B.S.E.E. degree from Seattle University, Seattle, WA, in 1964, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, in 1966 and 1969, respectively.

Dr. Costello joined the faculty of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL, in 1969 as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1973, and to Full Professor in 1980. In 1985 he became Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, and from 1989 to 1998 served as Chair of the Department of Electrical Engineering. In 1991, he was selected as one of 100 Seattle University alumni to receive the Centennial Alumni Award in recognition of alumni who have displayed outstanding service to others, exceptional leadership, or uncommon achievement. In 1999, he received a Humboldt Research Prize from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Germany. In 2000, he was named the Leonard Bettex Professor of Electrical Engineering at Notre Dame.

Dr. Costello has been a member of IEEE since 1969 and was elected Fellow in 1985. Since 1983, he has been a member of the Information Theory Society Board of Governors, and in 1986 he served as President of the BOG. He has also served as Associate Editor for Communication Theory for the IEEE Transactions on Communications, Associate Editor for Coding Techniques for the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, and Co-Chair of the IEEE International Symposia on Information Theory in Kobe, Japan (1988), Ulm, Germany (1997), and Chicago, IL (2004). In 2000, the IEEE Information Theory Society selected him as a recipient of a Third-Millennium Medal. He was co-recipient of the 2009 IEEE Donald G. Fink Prize Paper Award, which recognizes an outstanding survey, review, or tutorial paper in any IEEE publication issued during the previous calendar year.

Dr. Costello’s research interests are in the area of digitalcommunications, with special emphasis on error control coding and coded modulation. He has numerous technical publications in his field, and in 1983 he co-authored a textbook entitled “Error Control Coding: Fundamentals and Applications”, the 2nd edition of which was published in 2004.

Daniel Costello Headshot
Daniel Costello
University of Notre Dame
EEB 105
1 Nov 2011, 10:30am until 11:30am