Henry Pfister

Henry Pfister
  • Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics (Secondary)
External address: 140 Science Dr., 305 Gross Hall, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 90984, 315 Gross Hall, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 660-5288

Henry D. Pfister received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 2003 from the University of California, San Diego and is currently an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of Duke University with a secondary appointment in Mathematics.  Prior to that, he was a professor at Texas A&M University (2006-2014), a post-doctoral fellow at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (2005-2006), and a senior engineer at Qualcomm Corporate R&D in San Diego (2003-2004).

He received the NSF Career Award in 2008 and a Texas A&M ECE Department Outstanding Professor Award in 2010.  He is a coauthor of the 2007 IEEE COMSOC best paper in Signal Processing and Coding for Data Storage and a coauthor of a 2016 Symposium on the Theory of Computing (STOC) best paper.  He served as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2013-2016) and a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society (2015-2016).

His current research interests include information theory, communications, probabilistic graphical models, machine learning, and deep neural networks.

Education & Training
  • Ph.D., University of California at San Diego 2003

Selected Grants

CIF: Small: Capacity via Symmetry awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2020

Collaborative Research: Advanced Coding Techniques for Next-Generation Optical Communications awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

CIF:Small: Design and Analysis of Spatially-Coupled Coding Systems awarded by Texas A&M University (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Request for Support for U.S. Participants of the 2015 Workshop on Sensing and Analysis of High-Demensional Data awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2016

Charbonneau, P, Li, YC, Pfister, HD, and Yaida, S. "Cycle-expansion method for the Lyapunov exponent, susceptibility, and higher moments." Physical review. E 96.3-1 (September 18, 2017): 032129-. Full Text

Kudekar, S, Kumar, S, Mondelli, M, Pfister, HD, Sasoglu, E, and Urbanke, RL. "Reed–Muller Codes Achieve Capacity on Erasure Channels." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 63.7 (July 2017): 4298-4316. Full Text

Jian, Y-Y, Pfister, HD, and Narayanan, KR. "Approaching Capacity at High Rates with Iterative Hard-Decision Decoding." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2017): 1-1. Full Text

Häger, C, and Pfister, HD. "Miscorrection-free Decoding of Staircase Codes." CoRR abs/1709.06827 (2017).

Hamidi-Sepehr, F, Chamberland, J-F, and Pfister, HD. "On the Performance of Block Codes Over Finite-State Channels in the Rare-Transition Regime." IEEE Transactions on Communications 63.11 (November 2015): 3974-3990. Full Text

Hamidi-Sepehr, F, Pfister, HD, and Chamberland, J-F. "Delay-Sensitive Communication Over Fading Channels: Queueing Behavior and Code Parameter Selection." IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology 64.9 (September 2015): 3957-3970. Full Text

Kumar, S, Young, AJ, Macris, N, and Pfister, HD. "Threshold Saturation for Spatially Coupled LDPC and LDGM Codes on BMS Channels." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 60.12 (December 2014): 7389-7415. Full Text

Yedla, A, Jian, Y-Y, Nguyen, PS, and Pfister, HD. "A Simple Proof of Maxwell Saturation for Coupled Scalar Recursions." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 60.11 (November 2014): 6943-6965. Full Text

Jian, Y-Y, and Pfister, HD. "Convergence of Weighted Min-Sum Decoding Via Dynamic Programming on Trees." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 60.2 (February 2014): 943-963. Full Text

Kumar, S, Chamberland, J-F, and Pfister, HD. "First-Passage Time and Large-Deviation Analysis for Erasure Channels With Memory." IEEE Transactions on Information Theory 59.9 (September 2013): 5547-5565. Full Text


Kumar, S, Calderbank, R, and Pfister, HD. "Beyond double transitivity: Capacity-achieving cyclic codes on erasure channels." October 21, 2016. Full Text

Hager, C, Amat, AGI, Pfister, HD, and Brannstrom, F. "Density evolution for deterministic generalized product codes with higher-order modulation." October 17, 2016. Full Text

Hager, C, Pfister, HD, Graell I Amat, A, and Brannstrom, F. "Deterministic and ensemble-based spatially-coupled product codes." August 10, 2016. Full Text