Robert M. Fano ’41, ScD ’47
Ford Professor of Engineering, emeritus

Best known for his work on information theory and co-inventing Shannon-Fano coding, Robert Fano also helped develop time-sharing computers. A member of the MIT faculty since 1947, Professor Fano worked on microwave components and filters at the MIT Radiation Laboratory, led the Radar Techniques Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and served as director of MIT’s Project MAC (now the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, or CSAIL).

Highlights of this interview include:

  • Growing up in Italy and the influence of a close family.
  • Developing interest in information theory.
  • How working at Lincoln Laboratory is different from working on the MIT campus.
  • Developing the concept of shared computer processing alongside J.C.R. Licklider.
  • Creating MIT’s first department of computer science.