Claude Berrou was born in Penmarc'h, France, in 1951. In 1978, he joined the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications (ENST) de Bretagne, now Télécom Bretagne, where he is currently a Professor in the Electronics Department. In the early 80's, he started up the training and research activities in VLSI technology and design, to meet the growing demand from industry for microelectronics engineers. Some years later, Prof. Berrou took an active interest in the field of algorithm/silicon interaction for digital communications. In collaboration with Prof. Alain Glavieux, he introduced the concept of probabilistic feedback into error correcting decoders and developed a new family of quasi-optimal error correction codes, that he nicknamed turbo codes. He also pioneered the extension of the turbo principle to joint detection and decoding processing, known today as turbo-detection and turbo-equalization.
His current research topics, besides algorithm/silicon interaction, are electronics and digital communications at large, error correction codes, turbo codes and iterative processing, soft-in/soft-out (probabilistic) decoders and computational neurosciences (since 2008). Prof. Berrou is the author or co-author of 12 registered patents and about 100 publications in the field of digital communications and electronics. He has received several distinctions, amongst which the 1997 SEE Médaille Ampère, the 1998 IEEE (Information Theory) Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation, the 2003 IEEE Richard W. Hamming medal, the 2003 French Grand Prix France Télécom de l'Académie des sciences and the 2005 Marconi Prize. He was also nominated for the European inventor of the year award in 2006. Prof. Berrou was elected a member of the French Academy of sciences in 2007 and an IEEE Fellow in 2008.
In 2011, Prof. Berrou was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant to allow him to work on the links between information theory (in particular distributed error correction coding) and the brain. This research project is called NEUCOD (Neural coding, specification, design and test of message passing neural machines). The "mental information theory" that Prof. Berrou has developed with Dr. Vincent Gripon is also at the root of a project carried out in Labex CominLabs, in collaboration with INSERM Lab LTSI (Rennes).