Signal Processing and Communications Laboratory

Department of Engineering

Jossy Sayir Jossy Sayir

Background - Research - Talks - Publications - Teaching

Position: Associate Teaching Professor

Office location: BN3-06

Telephone: (+44-1223) 3 32709

Email: jossy.sayir [at]


I received my engineering diploma (Dipl. El. Ing. ETH) in 1991 and doctorate (Dr. Sc. Techn.) in 1999, both from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland (ETHZ). From 1991 until 1993, I worked as a development engineer for Motorola Communications in Tel Aviv, Israel, on the design and quality assurance of a digital mobile radio system. From 1993 until 1999, I worked as a research and teaching assistant under the supervision of Prof. James L. Massey while writing my dissertation "On Coding by Probability Transformation". From 2000 until 2009, I was a senior researcher at the Telecommunications Research Center in Vienna, Austria (ftw.) and managed part of the centre's strategic research activities from 2002 until 2008. Since June 2009, I have been with the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge on an Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship that lasted until November 2011. In September 2011, I was appointed as a fixed-term lecturer in Communications and am now an affiliated lecturer at the department, a Fellow of Robinson College, and a senior member and Director of Studies at Newnham College. From 2015 to 2018, I worked partially at the European Bioinformatics Institute in a project aiming to store data on DNA. I have served on the organization and technical committees of several international conferences and workshops, notably as Technical Program co-Chair of the 2013 IEEE Symposium on Information Theory, and General co-Chair of the 2016 IEEE Information Theory Workshop in Cambridge.


  • "Codes for efficient data storage on DNA molecules" - ( slides, video) Talk at Information, Inference and Entropy Symposium in honour of David MacKay 14/3/2016
  • "How heavy is 1 kg of information?" - Masterclass talk 14/11/2015 for 12th formers intending to study engineering in Cambridge (this is a low-res copy please email me if you want the original full-res presentation)

Research Interests

  • Information Theory
  • Iterative Decoders and receiver structures
  • SUDOKU and other non-linear local constraints for coding and decoding
  • Data storage on DNA

Selected Publications

[GSQG15] J. Guo, J. Sayir, Minghai Qin, Albert Guillén i Fàbregas, " An alternative proof of channel polarization for channels with arbitrary input alphabets", 53rd Annual Allerton Conference on Communication, Control, and Computing, September 2015.

[AHLMS15] E. Arıkan, N. ul Hassan, M. Lentmaier, G. Montorsi and J. Sayir, " Challenges and some new directions in channel coding", Journal of Communications and Networks, 30 August 2015, Vol. 17, No. 4.

[SS15] J. Sayir, J. Sarwar, " An investigation of SUDOKU-inspired non-linear codes with local constraints", in Proc. 2015 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT 2015), Hong Kong, June 14-19, 2015.

[S14b] J. Sayir, " Non-binary LDPC Decoding Using Truncated Messages in the Walsh-Hadamard Domain", in Proc. International Symposium on Information Theory and its Applications (ISITA 2014), Melbourne, Australia, October 26-29, 2014.

[AS14] C. Atkins, J. Sayir, " Density Evolution for SUDOKU Codes on the Erasure Channel", in Proc. 8th International Symposium on Turbo Codes and Iterative Processing (ISTC 2014), Bremen, Germany, August 18-22, 2014.

[S14a] J. Sayir, " The Role Model Estimator Revisited", in Proc. 2014 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT 2014), Honolulu, HI, USA, June 29 - July 4, 2014.

[GGS13] J. Guo, A. Guillén i Fàbregas, J. Sayir, " Fixed Threshold Polar Codes", 2013 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT 2013), Istanbul, Turkey, July 7-12, 2013.

[S08] J. Sayir, " What makes a good role model", submitted to the IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, pre-print available on

[SLG08] J. Sayir, I. Land and A. Grant, " Information Indivisibility Results", 20th biennial International Zurich Seminar on Communications, March 12-14, 2008, Zurich, Switzerland.

[LSL06] G. Lechner, J. Sayir, I. Land , " Optimization of LDPC Codes for Receiver Frontends", 2006 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT 2006), Seattle, USA, July 9-14, 2006.

[GTSM05b] G. Gupta, S. Toumpis, J. Sayir, R. Müller, " On the Transport Capacity of Gaussian Multiple Access and Broadcast Channels", Wireless Networks, Springer, July 2005.

[LS04] G. Lechner, J. Sayir, " Improved sum-min decoding of LDPC codes", International Symposium on Information Theory and its Applications, October 10-13 2004, Parma, Italy.

[Sa03] J. Sayir, " Why Turbo Codes Cannot Achieve Capacity", Proc. International Symposium on Turbo Codes and Related Topics, Sep. 1-5 2003, Brest, France.

[Sa02] J. Sayir, " Uncoded Transmission of Markov Sources over Noisy Channels", 2002 IEEE Information Theory Workshop, 10-2002, Bangalore, India.

[SPhD] J. Sayir, " On Coding by Probability Transformation", ETH Dissertation Nr. 13099, ISBN 3-89649-444-9.

A full list of publications is available on my personal webpage.


Follow the links below for lecture notes and examples papers. From 2014, all course documentation is on the University of Cambridge Moodle site (virtual learning environment) accessible only to students. I am nevertheless happy to distribute the teaching material I produced myself and this is included below. For lectures where I used material adapted from other lecturers please email me if you wish to view our notes (an exception is made for material re-used from my PhD supervisor Jim Massey's lecture notes, for which I had his explicit consent to re-distribute as I please).

Here are the latest versions of the lecture notes for which I hold the full copyright:

Please email me if you find any typos or mistakes.

In 2015/16, I taught:

Past courses I've taught:

Before joining Cambridge: