# David Slepian

David Slepian | |
---|---|

Born | |

Died | November 29, 2007 | (aged 84)

Nationality | American |

Alma mater | Harvard University University of Michigan |

Known for | Algebraic coding theory |

Spouse | Jan Slepian |

Awards | IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (1981) IEEE Centennial Medal (1984) |

Scientific career | |

Fields | Mathematics |

Institutions | Bell Telephone Laboratories |

Thesis | (1949) |

**David S. Slepian** (June 30, 1923 – November 29, 2007) was an American mathematician. He is best known for his work with algebraic coding theory, probability theory, and distributed source coding. He was colleagues with Claude Shannon and Richard Hamming at Bell Labs.

## Life and work[edit]

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he gained a B.Sc. at University of Michigan before joining the US Army in World War II,
as a sonic deception officer in the Ghost army.
He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1949, writing his dissertation in physics. After post-doctoral work at the
University of Cambridge and University of Sorbonne, he worked at the Mathematics Research Center at Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he pioneered work in algebraic coding theory on group codes, first published in the paper *A Class of Binary Signaling Alphabets*. Here, he also worked along with other information theory giants such as Claude Shannon and Richard Hamming. He also proved the possibility of singular detection, a perhaps unintuitive result. He is also known for Slepian's lemma in probability theory (1962), and for discovering a fundamental result in
distributed source coding called Slepian–Wolf coding with Jack Keil Wolf (1973).

He later joined the University of Hawaiʻi. His father was Joseph Slepian, also a scientist.^{[1]} His wife is the noted children's author Jan Slepian.

## Slepians[edit]

Slepian's joint work with H.J. Landau and H.O. Pollak^{[2]}^{[3]}^{[4]}^{[5]}^{[6]} on discrete prolate spheroidal wave functions and sequences (DPSWF, DPSS) eventually led to the naming of the sequences as Slepian functions or "Slepians". The naming suggestion was provided by Bob Parker of Scripp's Institute of Oceanography, who suggested that "discrete prolate spheroidal sequences" was a "mouthful". The term "prolates" is equally in current use.

This work was fundamental to the development of the multitaper, where the discrete form are used as an integral component.

## Awards[edit]

- IEEE Fellow
- Fellow of Institute of Mathematical Statistics
- Claude E. Shannon Award from the IEEE Information Theory Group 1974, and due to this also the
*Shannon Lecturer*1974.^{[7]} - National Academy of Engineering elected member 1976
^{[8]} - National Academy of Sciences elected member 1977
^{[9]} - IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal 1981
^{[10]} - IEEE Centennial Medal 1984
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics’s John von Neumann lecture award 1982
- American Academy of Arts and Sciences elected member

## References[edit]

**^**"IEEE Global History Network - David Slepian". IEEE. Retrieved February 22, 2011.**^**"Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions, Fourier Analysis and Uncertainty -- I" (PDF). BSTJ. Retrieved June 15, 2012.**^**"Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions, Fourier Analysis and Uncertainty -- II" (PDF). BSTJ. Retrieved June 15, 2012.**^**"Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions, Fourier Analysis and Uncertainty -- III: The Dimension of the Space of Essentially Time- and Band-Limited Signals" (PDF). BSTJ. Retrieved June 15, 2012.**^**"Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions, Fourier Analysis and Uncertainty -- IV: Extensions to Many Dimensions; Generalized Prolate Spheroidal Functions" (PDF). BSTJ. Retrieved June 15, 2012.**^**"Prolate Spheroidal Wave Functions, Fourier Analysis and Uncertainty -- V: The Discrete Case" (PDF). BSTJ. Retrieved June 15, 2012.**^**"Claude E. Shannon Award". IEEE Information Theory Society. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2011.**^**"NAE Members Directory - Dr. David Slepian". United States National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved February 22, 2011.**^**"Search Deceased Member Data". United States National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved February 22, 2011.**^**"IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal Recipients" (PDF). IEEE. Retrieved February 22, 2011.

- 1923 births
- 2007 deaths
- 20th-century American mathematicians
- 21st-century American mathematicians
- Members of the United States National Academy of Sciences
- Fellows of the IEEE
- University of Michigan alumni
- Harvard University alumni
- University of Paris alumni
- University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty
- American information theorists
- Scientists at Bell Labs
- Scientists from Pittsburgh
- IEEE Centennial Medal laureates
- United States Army personnel of World War II
- United States Army officers
- American expatriates in France