Rüdiger Urbanke


Biography and current work


Rüdiger L. Urbanke obtained his Dipl. Ing. degree from the Vienna University of Technology, Austria in 1990 and the M.Sc. and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, MO, in 1992 and 1995, respectively.

He held a position at the Mathematics of Communications Department at Bell Labs from 1995 till 1999 before becoming a faculty member at the School of Computer & Communication Sciences (I&C) of EPFL. He is a member of the Information Processing Group.

He is principally interested in the analysis and design of iterative coding schemes, which allow reliable transmission close to theoretical limits at low complexities. Such schemes are part of most modern communications standards, including wireless transmission, optical communication and hard disk storage. More broadly, his research focuses on the analysis of graphical models and the application of methods from statistical physics to problems in communications.

From 2000-2004 he was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory and he is currently on the board of the series "Foundations and Trends in Communications and Information Theory." In 2017 he was President of the Information Theory Society. From 2009 till 2012 he was the head of the I&C doctoral school, in 2013 he served as Dean a. i. of I&C, and since 2016 he is the Associated Dean for teaching of I&C. He is a co-author of the book "Modern Coding Theory" published by Cambridge University Press.

2016 STOC Best Paper Award
2014 La Polysphere Teaching Award
2014 IEEE Hamming Medal
2013 IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award
2011 MASCO Best Paper Award
2011 IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award
2009 La Polysphere Teaching Award
2002 IEEE Information Theory Society Paper Award
Fulbright Scholarship

My students have won the following awards:
M. Mondelli, EPFL Doctorate Award 2018
M. Mondelli, Patrick Denantes Award, 2017
M. Mondelli, IEEE IT Society Student Paper Award at ISIT, 2015
M. Mondelli, Dan David Prize Scholarship, 2015
H. Hassani, Inaugural Thomas Cover Dissertation Award, 2014
S. Kudekar, 2013 IEEE Information Theory Paper Award
A. Karbasi, Patrick Denantes Award, 2013
V. Venkatesan, Best Paper Award at MASCOTS, 2011
A. Karbasi, Best Student Paper Award at ICASSP, 2011 (with R. Parhizkar)
A. Karbasi, Best Student Paper Award at ACM SIGMETRICS, 2010 (with S. Oh)
S. Korada, ABB Dissertation Award, 2010
S. Korada, IEEE IT Society Student Paper Award at ISIT, 2009 (with E. Sasoglu)
S. Korada, IEEE IT Society Student Paper Award at ISIT, 2008



Muriel Bardet
Building INR 137
Station 14
CH-1015 Lausanne

Tel. + 41 21 693 76 95




Many interesting problems in communications and computer science can be phrased as inference problems on sparse graphical models.

I am studying the behavior of such systems as a function of underlying parameters (phase transitions) as well as trying to find efficient algorithms to solve fundamental tasks related to such systems. Message-passing algorithms as well as methods from statistical physics play an important role in my research.

Rüdiger Urbanke's research is sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the NCCR/MICS (National Center of Competence in Research / Mobile Information & Communication Systems) as well as the CTI.

Fields of Expertise

  • coding, communications, information theory, graphical models, methods of statistical physics applied to problems in communications and computer science