In information theory, the capacity of a channel is defined as the rate at which that channel can reliably deliver information. This talk considers the question of how a channel's capacity relates to the impact that that channel can have on a larger network. For example, we consider whether adding a small link to a larger network can vastly increase the amount of information that the network can carry. Equivalently, we ask whether failure of a small link can do massive damage to the capacity of the network in which that link was employed. While the answers to these fundamental questions remain incompletely understood, results to date demonstrate that the capacity of a channel can vastly under-predict the value of the communication that the channel enables.
Michelle Effros is the George van Osdol Professor of Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She earned her bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University. She is the recipient of a number of honors including the NSF CAREER Award, the Charles Lee Powell Foundation Award, the Richard Feynman-Hughes Fellowship, and the Communications Society and Information Theory Society Joint Paper Award. She is a fellow of the IEEE and a member of Tau Beta Pi, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi. She was cited by Technology Review as one of the world’s top 100 young innovators. Her service for the IEEE Information Theory Society includes terms as Newsletter Editor, Associate Editor, Member of the Board of Governors, and President. She was a member of the Advisory Committee and the Committee of Visitors for the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation and has served on numerous technical program committees and review boards.