From an interview of Claude Shannon with Robert Price…

**Price: **And for a long time I was under the misapprehension that you had been a student of Wiener’s [Norbert Wiener] before the war but that was never the case. You were in the same department together, right, and you must have seen each other, but you were never a student?

**Shannon: **I was a student in one class. I took a course in Fourier analysis.

**Price:** I see, and where were you?

**Shannon:** I didn’t have him as a doctoral student.

**Price:** No, I see. I was under that misapprehension for a while. Fortunately, I corrected that. But then where did you get the idea that information could be modeled, I mean when did you get it? You got it from Wiener, I believe,

**Shannon: **No, I didn’t.

**Price:** … that information could be modeled as a random process?

**Shannon:** No.

**Price: **Where did that come from then? Did it come out of cryptography?

**Shannon:** No.

**Price: **Because he’s generally attributed — you know, he generally has the attribution for that, he has the credit for that modeling of information as a random process,

**Shannon:** Well, I don’t believe his model.

**Price: **Noise is a random process, but the idea that information would be a random process . . .

**Shannon:** Well, I don’t know. I hadn’t even heard about the statement that you just made.

**Price: **That he generally gets the credit for modeling information as a random process?

**Shannon:** No.

**Price:** Well, you actually have that as a footnote [on pp. 52-53] in your, 1948 publication A Mathematical Theory of Communication, it may have been a . . .

**Shannon:** What does it say?

**Price:** OK, let me just — I have that here because I want to get that autographed too. I thought that . . . that that did come from Wiener, but that he had never carried it very far. It was just a philosophical notion of his, I thought. Of course . . .

**Shannon:** Well, this doesn’t say anything about information at all.

**Price:** No, no, it certainly doesn’t

**Shannon:** This is the Ergodic Theorem which has to do with averaging over space as contrasted with averaging in time.

**Price: **OK, I didn’t remember that too accurately. Of course in the early 1930s he did the Generalized Harmonic Analysis for stochastic functions. But he didn’t at that time say, I guess, that a stochastic function could be a model of an information process.

**Shannon: **I don’t think he ever did.

**Price:** Did he never say it before the book *Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine*?

**Shannon:** Well, not that I know of. Not that I know of.

**Price:** I see, well would you be suggesting that maybe it was the other way around?

**Shannon:** Oh, I think so. I do indeed.

**Price:** Oh, well, it’s very important to have this on tape then. So now, it wasn’t given to you even by cryptography? I mean when did it occur to you that information could be modeled as a random process?

—

*Yarden Katz** is a fellow in the Dept. of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School.*

This reads like an Ali G. interview.