KNOWPIA
WELCOME TO KNOWPIA

* A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits* is the title of a master's thesis written by computer science pioneer Claude E. Shannon while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1937,

Author | Claude E. Shannon |
---|---|

Language | English |

Subject | Switching circuit theory |

Publication date | 1938 |

Publication place | United States |

The utilization of the binary properties of electrical switches to perform logic functions is the basic concept that underlies all electronic digital computer designs. Shannon's thesis became the foundation of practical digital circuit design when it became widely known among the electrical engineering community during and after World War II. At the time, the methods employed to design logic circuits (for example, contemporary Konrad Zuse's Z1) were *ad hoc* in nature and lacked the theoretical discipline that Shannon's paper supplied to later projects.

Shannon's work also differered significantly in its approach and theoretical framework compared to the work of Akira Nakashima. Whereas Shannon's approach and framework was abstract and based on mathematics, Nakashima tried to extend the existent circuit theory of the time to deal with relay circuits, and was reluctant to accept the mathematical and abstract model, favoring a grounded approach.^{[4]} Shannon's ideas broke new ground, with his abstract and modern approach dominating modern-day electrical engineering.^{[4]}

The paper is commonly regarded as the most important master's thesis ever due to its insights and influence.^{[5]}^{[6]}^{[7]}^{[8]} Pioneering computer scientist Herman Goldstine described Shannon's thesis as "surely ... one of the most important master's theses ever written ... It helped to change digital circuit design from an art to a science."^{[9]} In 1985, psychologist Howard Gardner called his thesis "possibly the most important, and also the most famous, master's thesis of the century".^{[10]} The paper won the 1939 Alfred Noble Prize.

A version of the paper was published in the 1938 issue of the *Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.*^{[11]}

**^**Agarwal, Ravi P; Sen, Syamal K (2014).*Creators of Mathematical and Computational Sciences*. Cham: Springer International Publishing. p. 425. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-10870-4. ISBN 978-3-319-10869-8.**^**Fox, Charles (2024).*Computer Architecture: From the Stone Age to the Quantum Age*. San Francisco: No Starch Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-7185-0286-4.**^**Caldwell, Samuel H. (1965) [1958].*Switching Circuits and Logical Design, Sixth Printing*. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 34. ISBN 978-0471129691.[Shannon] constructed a calculus based on a set of postulates which described basic switching ideas; e.g., an open circuit in series with an open circuit is an open circuit. Then he showed that his calculus was equivalent to certain elementary parts of the calculus of propositions, which in turn was derived from the algebra of logic developed by George Boole.

- ^
^{a}^{b}Kawanishi, Toma (2019). "Prehistory of Switching Theory in Japan: Akira Nakashima and His Relay-circuit Theory".*Historia Scientiarum*. Second Series.**29**(1): 136–162. doi:10.34336/historiascientiarum.29.1_136. **^**Norman, Jeremy M. (2005).*From Gutenberg to the Internet: A Sourcebook on the History of Information Technology*. Novato, Calif: Historyofscience.com. p. 749. ISBN 978-0-930405-87-8. OCLC 57124414.**^**Aleksander, Igor; Morton, Helen (2012).*Aristotle's Laptop: The Discovery of our Informational Mind*. Series on Machine Consciousness. Vol. 1. World Scientific Publishing. p. 22. doi:10.1142/8113. ISBN 978-981-4343-49-7.**^**Matthews, Suzanne J.; Newhall, Tia; Webb, Kevin C. (2022).*Dive Into Systems: A Gentle Introduction to Computer Systems*. San Francisco: No Starch Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-1-7185-0136-2.**^**Domingos, Pedro [@pmddomingos] (2023-12-20). "The most important master's thesis of all time" (Tweet). Retrieved 2024-11-05 – via Twitter.**^**Goldstine, Herman A. (1972).*The Computer: From Pascal to von Neumann*. p. 119-20.**^**Smith, Nancy Duvergne (2011-08-15). "Claude Shannon: Digital Pioneer's Work Still Reverberates".*alum.mit.edu*. Retrieved 2024-01-11.**^**Shannon, C. E. (1938). "A Symbolic Analysis of Relay and Switching Circuits" (PDF).*Trans. AIEE*.**57**(12): 713–723. doi:10.1109/T-AIEE.1938.5057767. hdl:1721.1/11173. S2CID 51638483.

- Full text at MIT