Information Theory and Machine Learning

Research activity report, 1999 - David MacKay

Error-correcting codes

My big paper on low-density parity-check codes was published in the IEEE transactions on information theory. An earlier paper with Bob McEliece and J.--F. Cheng won the Communications Society Leonard G. Abraham Prize Paper Award in the Field of Communications Systems. I have discussed our work with Seagate and Nortel in the hope of raising industrial funding but without success.

Matthew Davey won the Cambridge University Hamilton Prize for his essay on his record-breaking low-density parity-check codes. He expects to complete his thesis on time (3 years). His thesis topics include the problem of communicating over a channel with synchronization errors.

Simon Wilson is working for Goldmann-Sachs and says he will finish his thesis (on error correcting codes and other inference problems) before the his 4 years are up.

Empirical Modelling of non-linear relationships

Latent variable models

James Miskin continues to work on Blind signal separation, including deblurring of images. He is using recently developed computational techniques including ensemble learning and slice sampling (software supplied by John Skilling).

Human-computer interfaces

Industrial support, in the form of an eye-tracker, has been obtained (on loan), and David Ward is working on combining an adaptive language model with the eye-tracker so as to allow the user efficiently to convey text or commands to a computer.

Teaching Physics

Sanjoy Mahajan joined our group in August. His output includes a textbook on order--of--magnitude physics, a paper containing observations on Physics teaching for the Cavendish Teaching Committee, and contributions of mathematics material to give to physics IA students.

New topics

Quantum computing
I hope to have a student working on quantum error-correction in October.
Natural selection and information acquisition
I'm working on models of evolution and recombination.

David MacKay <>
Last modified: Thu Jun 3 16:55:27 1999