|Robert Mario Fano (born
1917 as Roberto Mario Fano) is an Italian-American computer scientist,
currently professor emeritus of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Fano is known
principally for his work on information theory, inventing (with Claude
Shannon) Shannon-Fano coding. In the early 1960s, he was involved in
the development of time-sharing computers, and served as director of
MIT's Project MAC from its founding in 1963 until 1968.
Fano was born in Turin, Italy (son of Gino Fano and younger brother of
Ugo Fano), where he lived and studied engineering (as an undergraduate
at the School of Engineering of Torino) until 1939, when he emigrated
to the United States. He received his S.B. in electrical engineering
from MIT in 1941, before joining the staff of the MIT Radiation
Laboratory. After the war, he received an Sc.D., also from MIT, in
1947. His thesis, entitled "Theoretical Limitations on the Broadband
Matching of Arbitrary Impedances", was supervised by Ernst Guillemin.
He joined the MIT faculty in 1947. Between 1950 and 1953, he led the
Radar Techniques Group at Lincoln Laboratory.
Fano is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National
Academy of Engineering. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers. He received the Claude E. Shannon Award in 1976 for his
work in information theory.
In addition to his
work in information theory, Fano also published articles and books
about microwave systems, electromagnetism, network theory, and
engineering education. His book-length publications include:
George L. Ragan, ed., Microwave Transmission Circuits, vol. 9 in the
Radiation Laboratory Series (as co-author, 1948).
Electromagnetic Energy Transmission and Radiation (with Lan Jen Chu
and Richard B. Adler, 1960).
Electromagnetic Fields, Energy, and Forces (with Chu and Adler, 1960).
Transmission of Information: A Statistical Theory of Communications