Robert Calderbank

Robert Calderbank

Charles S. Sydnor Distinguished Professor of Computer Science

Professor of Computer Science

Director of the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering (Joint)

Professor of Mathematics (Joint)

Professor of Physics (Secondary)

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 (United Kingdom) 1976

  • B.S., University of Warwick (United Kingdom) 1975

Applebaum, L., et al. “Multiuser detection in asynchronous on-off random access channels using lasso.” 2010 48th Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, Allerton 2010, Dec. 2010, pp. 130–37. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ALLERTON.2010.5706898. Full Text

Bajwa, W. U., et al. “Revisiting model selection and recovery of sparse signals using one-step thresholding.” 2010 48th Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, Allerton 2010, Dec. 2010, pp. 977–84. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ALLERTON.2010.5707015. Full Text

Wu, Y., et al. “On the effect of feedback delay on limited-rate beamforming systems.” Globecom  Ieee Global Telecommunications Conference, Dec. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1109/GLOCOM.2010.5684288. Full Text

Wu, Y., et al. “Compressive blind source separation.” Proceedings  International Conference on Image Processing, Icip, Dec. 2010, pp. 89–92. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ICIP.2010.5652624. Full Text

Singh, A., et al. “Detecting weak but hierarchically-structured patterns in networks.” Journal of Machine Learning Research, vol. 9, Dec. 2010, pp. 749–56.

Nastasescu, M. M., and A. R. Calderbank. “The projective Kerdock code.” 2010 Ieee Information Theory Workshop, Itw 2010  Proceedings, Dec. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1109/CIG.2010.5592761. Full Text

Lau, C. C., et al. “Space-time processing for MIMO-OFDM using DFT-based complementary sequences.” Proceedings of Spie  the International Society for Optical Engineering, vol. 7706, Dec. 2010. Scopus, doi:10.1117/12.851020. Full Text

Calderbank, R., and S. Jafarpour. “Reed Muller sensing matrices and the LASSO (Invited paper).” Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Including Subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), vol. 6338 LNCS, Nov. 2010, pp. 442–63. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-3-642-15874-2_37. Full Text

Wu, Y., and R. Calderbank. “Circulant space-time codes for integration with beamforming.” Icassp, Ieee International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing  Proceedings, Nov. 2010, pp. 2550–53. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ICASSP.2010.5496288. Full Text

Qureshi, T. R., et al. “Target detection in mimo radar in the presence of doppler using complementary sequences.” Icassp, Ieee International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing  Proceedings, Nov. 2010, pp. 2766–69. Scopus, doi:10.1109/ICASSP.2010.5496206. Full Text