Robert Calderbank

Robert Calderbank

Charles S. Sydnor Professor of Computer Science

Office Location: 
140 Science Drive, 317 Gross Hall, Durham, NC 27708
Front Office Address: 
Campus Box 90984, 140 Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 613-7874


Robert Calderbank is Director of the Information Initiative at Duke University, where he is Professor of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics. He joined Duke in 2010, completed a 3 year term as Dean of Natural Sciences in August 2013, and also served as Interim Director of the Duke Initiative in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in 2012. Before joining Duke he was Professor of Electrical Engineering and Mathematics at Princeton University where he also directed the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics.


Before joining Princeton University Dr. Calderbank was Vice President for Research at AT&T. As Vice President for Research he managed AT&T intellectual property, and he was responsible for licensing revenue. AT&T Labs was the first of a new type of research lab where masses of data generated by network services became a giant sandbox in which fundamental discoveries in information science became a source of commercial advantage


At Duke, Dr. Calderbank works with researchers from the Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development, developing information technology that is able to capture a full spectrum of behavior in very young children. By supporting more consistent and cost-effective early diagnosis, the team is increasing the opportunity for early interventions that have proven very effective.


At the start of his career at Bell Labs, Dr. Calderbank developed voiceband modem technology that was widely licensed and incorporated in over a billion devices. Voiceband means the signals are audible so these modems burped and squeaked as they connected to the internet. One of these products was the AT&T COMSPHERE® modem which was the fastest modem in the world in 1994 – at 33.6kb/s!   


Together with Peter Shor and colleagues at AT&T Labs Dr. Calderbank developed the group theoretic framework for quantum error correction. This framework changed the way physicists view quantum entanglement, and provided the foundation for fault tolerant quantum computation.


Dr. Calderbank has also developed technology that improves the speed and reliability of wireless communication by correlating signals across several transmit antennas. Invented in 1996, this space-time coding technology has been incorporated in a broad range of 3G, 4G and 5G wireless standards. He served on the Technical Advisory Board of Flarion Technologies a wireless infrastructure company founded by Rajiv Laroia and acquired by Qualcomm for $1B in 2008.


Dr. Calderbank is an IEEE Fellow and an AT&T Fellow, and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005. He received the 2013 IEEE Hamming Medal for contributions to coding theory and communications and the 2015 Shannon Award.


Education & Training

  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology 1980

  • M.S., Oxford University (U.K.) 1976

  • B.S., University of Warwick (England) 1975

Selected Grants

IUCRC Proposal Phase 1 Duke: Center for Alternative Sustainable and Intelligent Computing (ASIC) awarded by National Science Foundation (Participating Faculty Member). 2018 to 2023

CIF:Small:High Performance Memories that Integrate Coding and Computer Architecture awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020

Modern Tools for Classification and Clustering awarded by Princeton University (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020

Oak Ridge National Lab GO Program awarded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2019

Planning IUCRC Duke University: Center for Alternative Sustainable and Intelligent Computing awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

SHF:Small:Using Coding Theory to Optimize the Representation of Information in Computer Architecture awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Wide-Area Persistent Energy-Efficient Maritime Sensing awarded by Office of Naval Research (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

Discovery of Empirical Components by Information Theory, Random Matrix Theory, and Computational Topology awarded by Princeton University (Co-Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

X-Ray Scatter and Phase Imaging for Explosive Detection awarded by US Department of Homeland Security (Co-Principal Investigator). 2011 to 2015


Preface. January 1, 2017.

Preface. January 1, 2015.

Calderbank, R, and Jafarpour, S. "Finding needles in compressed haystacks." Compressed Sensing.: Cambridge University Press.. 439-484. Full Text

Wang, L, Chen, M, Rodrigues, M, Wilcox, D, Calderbank, R, and Carin, L. "Information-Theoretic Compressive Measurement Design." IEEE transactions on pattern analysis and machine intelligence 39.6 (June 2017): 1150-1164. Full Text

Campbell, K, Carpenter, KLH, Espinosa, S, Hashemi, J, Qiu, Q, Tepper, M, Calderbank, R, Sapiro, G, Egger, HL, Baker, JP, and Dawson, G. "Use of a Digital Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers - Revised with Follow-up to Improve Quality of Screening for Autism." The Journal of Pediatrics 183 (April 2017): 133-139.e1. Full Text

Thompson, A, Robles, FE, Wilson, JW, Deb, S, Calderbank, R, and Warren, WS. "Dual-wavelength pump-probe microscopy analysis of melanin composition." Scientific Reports 6 (November 11, 2016): 36871-null. Full Text

Vahid, A, and Calderbank, R. "Two-User Erasure Interference Channels With Local Delayed CSIT." Ieee Transactions on Information Theory 62.9 (September 2016): 4910-4923. Full Text

Sokolic, J, Renna, F, Calderbank, R, and Rodrigues, MRD. "Mismatch in the Classification of Linear Subspaces: Sufficient Conditions for Reliable Classification." Ieee Transactions on Signal Processing 64.12 (June 2016): 3035-3050. Full Text

Qiu, Q, Thompson, A, Calderbank, R, and Sapiro, G. "Data Representation Using the Weyl Transform." Ieee Transactions on Signal Processing 64.7 (April 2016): 1844-1853. Full Text

Huang, J, Qiu, Q, and Calderbank, R. "The Role of Principal Angles in Subspace Classification." Ieee Transactions on Signal Processing 64.8 (April 2016): 1933-1945. Full Text

Carpenter, KLH, Sprechmann, P, Calderbank, R, Sapiro, G, and Egger, HL. "Quantifying Risk for Anxiety Disorders in Preschool Children: A Machine Learning Approach." PloS one 11.11 (January 2016): e0165524-. Full Text

Bajwa, WU, Duarte, MF, and Calderbank, R. "Conditioning of Random Block Subdictionaries With Applications to Block-Sparse Recovery and Regression." Ieee Transactions on Information Theory 61.7 (July 2015): 4060-4079. Full Text

Nokleby, M, Rodrigues, M, and Calderbank, R. "Discrimination on the Grassmann Manifold: Fundamental Limits of Subspace Classifiers." Ieee Transactions on Information Theory 61.4 (April 2015): 2133-2147. Full Text


Thompson, A, and Calderbank, R. "Sparse near-equiangular tight frames with applications in full duplex wireless communication." 2017 IEEE Global Conference on Signal and Information Processing (GlobalSIP). November 14, 2017 - November 16, 2017.: IEEE, November 2017. Full Text

Mappouras, G, Vahid, A, Calderbank, R, Hower, DR, and Sorin, DJ. "Jenga: Efficient Fault Tolerance for Stacked DRAM." 2017 IEEE 35th International Conference on Computer Design (ICCD). November 5, 2017 - November 8, 2017.: IEEE, November 2017. Full Text

Kadhe, S, and Calderbank, R. "Rate optimal binary linear locally repairable codes with small availability." 2017 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT). June 25, 2017 - June 30, 2017.: IEEE, June 2017. Full Text

Michelusi, N, Nokleby, M, Mitra, U, and Calderbank, R. "Multi-scale spectrum sensing in small-cell mm-wave cognitive wireless networks." ICC 2017 - 2017 IEEE International Conference on Communications. May 21, 2017 - May 25, 2017.: IEEE, May 2017. Full Text

Cnaan-On, I, Harms, A, Krolik, JL, and Calderbank, AR. "Run-length limited codes for backscatter communication." 2017 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP). March 5, 2017 - March 9, 2017.: IEEE, March 2017. Full Text

Hadani, R, Rakib, S, Tsatsanis, M, Monk, A, Goldsmith, AJ, Molisch, AF, and Calderbank, R. "Orthogonal Time Frequency Space Modulation." 2017 IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC). March 19, 2017 - March 22, 2017.: IEEE, March 2017. Full Text

Reboredo, H, Renna, F, Calderbank, R, and Rodrigues, MRD. "Bounds on the Number of Measurements for Reliable Compressive Classification.": Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), November 15, 2016. Full Text

Renna, F, Wang, L, Yuan, X, Yang, J, Reeves, G, Calderbank, R, Carin, L, and Rodrigues, MRD. "Classification and Reconstruction of High-Dimensional Signals From Low-Dimensional Features in the Presence of Side Information.": Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), November 2016. Full Text

Thompson, A, and Calderbank, R. "Compressive imaging using fast transform coding." SPIE Security + Defence.: SPIE, October 25, 2016. Full Text

Kumar, S, Calderbank, R, and Pfister, HD. "Beyond double transitivity: Capacity-achieving cyclic codes on erasure channels." 2016 IEEE Information Theory Workshop (ITW). September 11, 2016 - September 14, 2016.: IEEE, September 2016. Full Text