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Developed by Claude Shannon and Norbert Wiener in the late 1940s, information theory, or statistical communication theory, deals with the theoretical underpinnings of a wide range of communication devices: radio, television, radar, computers, telegraphy, and more. This book is an excellent introduction to the mathematics underlying the theory.
Designed for upper-level undergraduates and first-year graduate students, the book treats three major areas: analysis of channel models and proof of coding theorems (chapters 3, 7, and 8); study of specific coding systems (chapters 2, 4, and 5); and study of statistical properties of information sources (chapter 6). Among the topics covered are noiseless coding, the discrete memoryless channel, effort correcting codes, information sources, channels with memory, and continuous channels.
The author has tried to keep the prerequisites to a minimum. However, students should have a knowledge of basic probability theory. Some measure and Hilbert space theory is helpful as well for the last two sections of chapter 8, which treat time-continuous channels. An appendix summarizes the Hilbert space background and the results from the theory of stochastic processes necessary for these sections. The appendix is not self-contained but will serve to pinpoint some of the specific equipment needed for the analysis of time-continuous channels.
In addition to historic notes at the end of each chapter indicating the origin of some of the results, the author has also included 60 problems with detailed solutions, making the book especially valuable for independent study.
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Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Illinois, Robert Ash is the author of three other Dover books: Basic Abstract Algebra, Basic Probability Theory, and Complex Variables and Information Theory.
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