Muriel is the Cecil H. Green Professor in the electrical engineering and computer science department at MIT, where she teaches such classes as “Engineering the Internet.”
Her focus is on communications and networking, both the information theory side and the implementation side of the field.
“I find that having the theoretical background really helps in making novel designs, and at the same time, having the application and understanding of the context makes for much better theoretical problems,” she explains.
THE STUDY OF TECHNOLOGY Her theoretical mindset started when she chose to study engineering in college.
“I liked the rigor of math and the creative aspects of literature, and engineering has both,” Muriel points out. “It’s almost a myth that they’re really a divergent set of skills.
I don’t find that in my experience.” Case in point: In addition to bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering and a doctorate in electric engineering, she also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Russian literature!
As for the implementation side of her work, Muriel leads the Network Coding and Reliable Communications Group at MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics.
And outside of the university, she is the co-founder of three companies working to commercialize network coding.
Code On provides consultancy, technical services and intellectual property rights related to random linear network coding; Steinwurf focuses on fast implementation of codes for reliable communication;
THE STUDY OF TECHNOLOGY and Chocolate Cloud is devoted to flexible, reliable and fast cloud storage technologies.
“[Starting a business] is a whole different skill, especially because it wasn’t a very standard business format of ‘here’s a product,’” she says. “For most people, this is a little more opaque.”
Muriel provides some helpful analogies when it comes to understanding network coding and her business
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