Career

Coding Theorist

Coding theory is the study of the properties of codes and their fitness for a specific application.  Codes are used for data compression, cryptography, error-correction and more recently also for network coding.  Codes are studied by various scientific disciplines - such as information theory, electrical engineering, mathematics, and computer science - for the purpose of designing efficient and reliable data transmission methods.  This typically involves the removal of redundancy and the correction (or detection) of errors in the transmitted data.

One aspect to coding theory, data compression, or source encoding, attempts to compress data from a source in order to transmit it more efficiently.  This practice is found every day on the internet where the common "zip" data compression is used to reduce the network load and make files smaller.

The second aspect to coding theory, error correction, or channel coding, adds extra data bits to make the transmission of data more robust to disturbances present on the transmission channel.  A typical music CD uses the Reed-Solomon code to correct for scratches and dust.  In this application the transmission channel is the CD itself.  Cell phones also use coding techniques to correct for the fading and noise of high frequency radio transmission.  Data modems, telephone transmissions, and NASA all employ channel coding techniques to get the bits through.

Post graduate qualifications are required in this field.