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"The Bit Player" Film Screening

image of Claude Shannon
Feature Film about Claude Shannon
Friday, August 2, 2019 - 6:30pm
Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA
Mark Levinson (Film Director)
Abstract / Description: 

6:30PM - Check-in
7:00PM - Film Screening Begins
8:40PM - Discussion Begins
9:15PM - Program Ends

From Computer History Museum Events: In a blockbuster paper in 1948, Claude Shannon introduced the notion of a "bit" and laid the foundation for the Information Age. His ideas ripple through such diverse fields as communication, linguistics, genetics, computing, cryptography, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and cosmology. In later years, he constructed a mathematical theory of juggling, rode unicycles, wrote the first paper on computer chess and built a flaming trumpet!

Join us for a screening of The Bit Player, a film that combines interviews with leading scientists, archival film, inventive animation and compelling commentary from Shannon himself to tell the story of an overlooked genius who revolutionized the world but never lost his childlike curiosity. After the film, there will be a Q & A with the director Mark Levinson (Particle Fever).

Watch the film trailer here.


Mark Levinson, Film Director, The Bit Player
Before embarking on his film career, Mark Levinson earned a doctoral degree in particle physics from the University of California at Berkeley. In the film world, he became a specialist in the post-production writing and recording of dialogue known as ADR. He has worked closely with such directors as Anthony Minghella, Francis Coppola, Tom Tykwer, Milos Forman and David Fincher. He is the writer/producer/director of the narrative feature film Prisoner of Time, which examined the lives of former Russian dissident artists after the collapse of the Soviet Union and had an acclaimed premiere at the Moscow International Film Festival. Most recently, he directed and produced the award-winning documentary feature Particle Fever about the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider experiment outside of Geneva. He is currently adapting Richard Powers's acclaimed novel, The Gold Bug Variations for the screen."

source: Claude Elwood Shannon (April 30, 1916 – February 24, 2001) was an American mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as "the father of information theory". Shannon is noted for having founded information theory with a landmark paper, A Mathematical Theory of Communication, that he published in 1948.

He is also well known for founding digital circuit design theory in 1937, when—as a 21-year-old master's degree student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)—he wrote his thesis demonstrating that electrical applications of Boolean algebra could construct any logical numerical relationship. Shannon contributed to the field of cryptanalysis for national defense during World War II, including his fundamental work on codebreaking and secure telecommunications.