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

Pfister, HD, Sason, I, and Urbanke, RL. "Capacity-achieving ensembles for the binary erasure channel with bounded complexity." IEEE Trans. Information Theory 51 (2005): 2352-2379. Full Text

Soriaga, JB, Pfister, HD, and Siegel, PH. "On the low-rate Shannon limit for binary intersymbol interference channels." IEEE Trans. Communications 51 (2003): 1962-1964. Full Text


Hager, C, Amat, AGI, Pfister, HD, Alvarado, A, Brannstrom, F, and Agrell, E. "On parameter optimization for staircase codes." January 1, 2015.

Häger, C, i Amat, AG, Pfister, HD, Alvarado, A, Brännström, F, and Agrell, E. "On parameter optimization for staircase codes." January 1, 2015.

Vem, A, Huang, YC, Narayanan, KR, and Pfister, HD. "Multilevel lattices based on spatially-coupled LDPC codes with applications." January 1, 2014. Full Text

Kumar, S, Vem, A, Narayanan, K, and Pfister, HD. "Spatially-coupled codes for side-information problems." January 1, 2014. Full Text

Pfister, HD, and Narayanan, KR. "An introduction to spatially-coupled codes via practical examples." January 1, 2014. Full Text

Jian, YY, Pfister, HD, Narayanan, KR, Rao, R, and Mazahreh, R. "Iterative hard-decision decoding of braided BCH codes for high-speed optical communication." January 1, 2013. Full Text

Yedla, A, Jian, YY, Nguyen, PS, and Pfister, HD. "A simple proof of threshold saturation for coupled scalar recursions." December 14, 2012. Full Text