Call For Papers – Special Issue on Biological Applications of Information Theory – Claude Shannon’s Centennial

In honor of Claude Shannon’s centennial:

We are pleased to announce a

Special issue of the IEEE Transactions on Molecular, Biological, and Multi-Scale Communications


Biological Applications of Information Theory


Submission deadline June 1, 2016


Claude Shannon, born April 30, 1916, pioneered the mathematical theory of communication in his 1948 paper in the Bell System Technical Journal.  Information theory has since provided the foundation for the digital revolution in communications technology.  In addition, it has provided a powerful framework for investigating the fundamental limitations of naturally occurring communications, particularly in biological systems. Early applications included consideration of redundancy reduction in sensory pathways (Attneave 1954, Barlow 1961), ionizing radiation and mutagenesis (Yockey 1958), efficiency of metabolic processes (Johnson and Knudsen 1965), and analysis of reliable computation in the presence of noise (Cowan and Winograd 1963).

Modern developments have accelerated in recent years as a result of advances in MEMS/NEMS and systems biology, the emergence of synthetic bacteria and lab/process-on-a-chip techniques, and collection of large data sets in both electrophysiology and cell biology.  It is now possible to design chemical “circuits”, custom organisms, micro/nanoscale swarms of devices, and a host of other new systems at small length scales, and across multiple scales (e.g., micro to macro). This success opens up a new frontier for interdisciplinary communications techniques using chemistry, biology, and other principles that have not been considered in the communications literature, as well as creating new ways of understanding the principles underlying communication in biological systems at many scales.

The special issue will celebrate Shannon’s centennial by highlighting success stories and current progress in biological and bio-inspired information theory.  In particular, we hereby solicit both invited and submitted papers in three interrelated areas:

    1.     1. Information theory and cellular/molecular biology/biochemistry (including information theory and intercellular communication);


    1.     2. Information theory and neuroscience; and


    1.     3. Information-theoretic analysis of biologically inspired communication systems (including nanonetworking and design of biologically implemented information processing networks).


Contributions from researchers beyond the IEEE’s typical audience are encouraged.


Submission Instructions

Submissions will be collected via Manuscript Central, .

In your cover letter, state: “This paper is a submission for the Shannon Centennial special issue”.  For further information, please contact the corresponding guest editor, Prof. Peter Thomas (


Special Issue Guest Editors


Prof. Alexander G. Dimitrov

Department of Mathematics and Statistics                                             

Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience

Washington State University, Vancouver, Washington, USA               


Prof. Faramarz Fekri

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USA


Prof. Aurel Lazar

Department of Electrical Engineering

Columbia University, New York, New York, USA


Prof. Stefan M. Moser

Signal and Information Processing Lab (ISI)

ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan


Prof. Peter J. Thomas*

Department of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics, and Statistics

Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Department of Biology

Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA


*corresponding guest editor