Gerhard studied information theory during his doctoral studies at ETH Zurich from 1992-1998. After a stint as a consultant in Basel, he joined the Math Center at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ, in 2000. He joined the University of Southern California (USC) in 2009 and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2010. Since 2019, he has been TUM's Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation.
Gerhard served ITSoc in several roles, starting as Publications Editor in 2004-2005 and Associate Editor for Shannon Theory in 2006-2008. In 2008 he co-founded the Schools of Information Theory which grew to annual Schools in Australia, East Asia, Europe, India, and North America. He was elected to the ITSoc Board of Governors in 2009 and became its President in 2013. As president, he expanded the Schools program and established the James L. Massey Research & Teaching Award for Young Scholars. He has chaired, or is chairing, several of the Society’s flagship events, including ISITs in Toronto (2008 TPC Chair), Honolulu (2014 TPC Chair), Aachen (2017) and Taipei (2023), and ITW in Kaohsiung (2017). He has organized numerous local workshops on information theory and related topics.
Gerhard's research has focussed on Shannon Theory, but he has also contributed to coded modulation, DSL channel estimation, and optical fiber capacity. He received the 2005 Stephen O. Rice Prize Paper Award, the 2011 Vodafone Innovations Prize, a 2012 Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award, and a 2014 EURASIP Paper Award. He was elected to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 2015.