Henry Pfister

Henry Pfister

Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Henry D. Pfister received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from University of California, San Diego in 2003 and is currently an associate professor in the electrical and computer engineering department of Duke University.  Prior to that, he was a professor at Texas A&M University (2006-2014), a post-doc at EPFL (2005-2006), and a senior engineer at Qualcomm Corporate R&D in San Diego (2003-2004).

He received the NSF Career Award in 2008, the Texas A&M ECE Department Outstanding Professor Award in 2010, and was a coauthor of the 2007 IEEE COMSOC best paper in Signal Processing and Coding for Data Storage.  He is currently an associate editor in coding theory for the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory (2013-2016) and Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Information Theory Society (2015-2016).

His current research interests include information theory, communications, and probabilistic graphical models.  In particular, he is interested in problems related to sensing (e.g., compressed sensing), communication (e.g., coding for single and multiuser channels), storage (e.g., capacity of recording channels), and inference (e.g., collaborative filtering and learning graphical models).

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Associate Professor of Mathematics

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 140 Science Dr., 305 Gross Hall, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5288
  • Email Address: henry.pfister@duke.edu


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

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • 2015-2016 Distinguished Lecturer. IEEE Information Theory Society. 2015
  • NSF CAREER Award. National Science Foundation. 2008
  • 2007 Best Paper in Signal Processing and Coding for Data Storage. IEEE Communications Society . 2007

Courses Taught

  • COMPSCI 590: Advanced Topics in Computer Science
  • ECE 485: Digital Audio and Acoustic Signal Processing
  • ECE 590: Advanced Topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • ECE 891: Internship

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Hager, C; Pfister, HD; Graell I Amat, A; Brannstrom, F, Deterministic and ensemble-based spatially-coupled product codes, vol 2016-August (2016), pp. 2114-2118 [10.1109/ISIT.2016.7541672] [abs].
  • Kumar, S; Calderbank, R; Pfister, HD, Reed-muller codes achieve capacity on the quantum erasure channel, vol 2016-August (2016), pp. 1750-1754 [10.1109/ISIT.2016.7541599] [abs].
  • Kudekar, S; Kumar, S; Mondelli, M; Pfister, HD; Urbankez, R, Comparing the bit-MAP and block-MAP decoding thresholds of reed-muller codes on BMS channels, vol 2016-August (2016), pp. 1755-1759 [10.1109/ISIT.2016.7541600] [abs].
  • Kudekar, S; Pfister, HD; Kumar, S; Şaşoǧlu, E; Mondelli, M; Urbanke, R, Reed-Muller codes achieve capacity on erasure channels, Proceedings of the Annual ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, vol 19-21-June-2016 (2016), pp. 658-669 [10.1145/2897518.2897584] [abs].
  • Hamidi-Sepehr, F; Chamberland, J-F; Pfister, HD, On the Performance of Block Codes Over Finite-State Channels in the Rare-Transition Regime, IEEE Transactions on Communications, vol 63 no. 11 (2015), pp. 3974-3990 [10.1109/TCOMM.2015.2478794] [abs].