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I've told you a bit about information.

Bits. Labels. Probabilities.

I is equal to minus the sum over i of
P sub i, log to the base 2 of P sub i

The fundamental formula of
information theory

I told you about mutual information

which is if I have two variables,

such as the input and output to a channel.

The mutual information tells you... is

equal to the amount of information that is

shared in common between input and output.

It is the information

that passes through

or gets through the channel.

And in fact, from Claude Shannon,

it's actually equal to

the practical channel capacity.

Or if I take the input probabilities, or

frequencies that maximize the mutual

information, that mutual information is the

rate at which information can be sent

reliably down this channel. You cannot

send information at a higher rate, and

you can send information at that rate.

This is a tremendously practical

application of information theory. Because

it tells us that if we have noisy channels

or lossy channels, channels where we're

using sound, channels where we're using light,

chanels if we're using electromagnetic

radiation, channels where we send information

through the mail, any such channel has

a capacity, and Shannon's theorem tells us

what that capacity is, it tells us that we

can't surpass it, and it tells us how to

achieve it. And this is at the basis of

the application of information theory to

practical communications, for instance via

fiberoptic cables.

So, there are some fun examples of this.

A nice way to look at this picture is that

here we have this channel. We have x in...

we have P of x sub i. Here we have

the output. We have P of y sub j,
y out, given x sub i in.

And then we have the associated mutual
information.

So here we have I(x), this is the
information in.
¶

Here we have I(y), this is the
information that comes out.

The information that goes through

the channel like this is the mutual

information between the input and

the output. We can also look at

some things that I'm going to call "loss,"

and another thing that I'm going to call

"noise." So, what is loss? Loss is

information that goes into the channel,

but does not come out. Like the roaches

going into a roach motel. So, what is that?

It's information that we don't know about

the input, given that we know the output.

So, if we know the output, this is

residual stuff that went in, bits that

went in, that never came out. Similiarly,

the noise is information that came out

that didn't go in. So noise is stuff where

if we know exactly what went in, it's

residual bits of information that came

out that had no explanation in terms of

what went in. So we have a nice picture

in terms of the whole set of processes

that are going on in information. We have

the information going in, we have the

information going out. We have the loss,

which is information that goes in that

doesn't come out. We have noise, which is

informaiton that came from nowhere

that didn't go in  of course, it actually

comes from physical processes. And finally

we have the mutual information, which is

the information that actually goes through

the channel and that represents the

channel capacity.

So, I also talked a bit about computation.

So, if you have a digital computer. Here is

what digital computers looked like when

I was a kid... You had, like, a tape thing,

you had a bunch of little lights on the

front and switches, and then you

read the tape, and then it spewed out some

output, maybe on some paper tape 
you could even

put some input on paper tape  it would

have some memory like this. All a digital

computer is doing is

breaks up information

into bits which are the smallest chunks of

information, typically called 0 and 1, or

true and false, in a digital computer.

And then flips those bits

in a systematic fashion.

So for all their power and

all their stupidity, all that these

digital computers that we have, including

things like our smart phones, as well as

our desktops and supercomputers, all

they're doing is registering and storing

information as bits and then flipping

those bits in a systematic fashion.

And let me just remind you about this

fundamental theorem about computation

which is that any digital computation

can be written in some kind of
circuit diagram.

Here's x, here's y, here's z. Here's

something where I make a copy of x,

I take an OR gate... This is "OR",
you will recall.

Here's a copy of X, here's X here.

This is X or Y.

Also known as X or Y.

And here i can say

for example, take an AND gate, and

I can here send this through a NOT gate

And then I can combine them in another

AND gate, And in the end, I think that

what I have is NOT X AND Z AND
(X OR Y).

So, when I have a digital computer,

what happens is that it takes bits of

information, it performs simple AND, OR,
NOT, and copy operations, and

by doing these sequentially, in whatever

order you wanted to do it, you end uo

evaluating arbitrary logical expressions...

NOT X and Z AND X or Y... whatever

that means, I have no idea what it means.

But it is what it is, it means what it is.

So, if we talk about digital computation,

all digital computers are is taking

information and processing it.

And if we put together computation

and communication,

and probabilities,

what we find is that taking together

the idea of information, processing
information as computation,

sending information reliably from

one place to another is communication

this information refers at bottom to the

probabilities of events... being sunny,

being rainy. Probability that a photon

going into a channel makes it out the

other side. Probability of 0,

probability of 1, probability of heads,

probability of tails... but when we put
together these three pieces

interlocking, what we get is the theory

of information.

And I hope that in the course

of these brief lectures here, I've been

able to convince you that these remarkable

processes that are going on all

around us, the fault, or result of the

information processing revolution that began

in the midtwentieth century and continues

in fact, continues at an accelerating rate

to this day, can be understood with

a simple set of mathematical ideas that

are interlinked with each other, and give

a set of ideas of very profound richness

and impact on human society with

implications for... I don't know what!

Thank you for your attention,
Do well on the homework,

Exam will be multiple choice, I am sure

you will all do well.