Robert J. McEliece (born 1942) is a mathematician and engineering professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) best known for his work in information theory. He was the 2004 recipient of the Claude E. Shannon Award and the 2009 recipient of the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal.
Educated at Caltech (B.S. 1964, Ph.D. 1967) and Cambridge, he was one of the important contributors to the development of a decoder of long-constraint-length (K=13, K=15) convolutional codes, which were added to the Galileo spacecraft upon the redesign of its mission, following the 1986 crash of the Space Shuttle.The theory of information and coding: A mathematical framework for communication. Addison-Wesley. 1977.
A Public-Key Cryptosystem Based on Algebraic Coding Theory, JPL Deep Space Network Progress Report 42– 44 (1978), pp. 114–116.
On the Inherent Intractability of Certain Coding Problems (with E. R. Berlekamp and H. Van Tilborg), IEEE Trans. Inform. Theory IT-24 (1978), pp. 384–386.