An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise
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An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  149 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Behind the familiar surfaces of the telephone, radio, and television lies a sophisticated and intriguing body of knowledge known as information theory. This is the theory that has permeated the rapid development of all sorts of communication, from color television to the clear transmission of photographs from the vicinity of Jupiter. Even more revolutionary progress is exp...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 1st 1980 by Dover Publications
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An excellent introduction to the new and complicated science of communication. It explores topics of entropy, information as bits, noisy channels and other technical issues with plenty of examples, elaboration and analogy.

Negatives: Though the math and equations never get beyond basic algebra and physics, some of the equations and the relationships between them lack clarity. Furthermore, due to the age of the text and despite some recent updates to particular chapters, one is never sure how out...more
Interesting with a lot of applications. With moments somewhat old fashioned.
Karen Chung
A gentle yet solid introduction to information theory.
What exactly is an introduction? At what point do you say that a book is far too technical and the material is better fit for people with intermediate experience? Of course, it all depends. With that said, I think this book does still qualify as an introduction to information theory, but it really pushes the limit. Perhaps another way to say it is that this book is better fit for students in a college course, not casual readers with a passing interest in information theory. I definitely found it...more
Muhammad al-Khwarizmi
An interesting, witty, mostly clear, albeit now somewhat dated look at this topic.
Kathleen Fredd
I learned a bit and enjoyed the read. Another reviewer said it was a 'gentle thorough' introduction to the topic. I can't speak to the thorough, not my field, but it was gentle. Pierce has a sense of humor, and by golly, I believed that I could do the math if I took a real course in information theory.

What made it truly interesting to me was the date of revision, 1980, before the big revolution in IT. In 1990 I still had to create a program in order to use a program. Reading this book was a bit...more
This was an okay book but it could have been a lot shorter. I was trying to review my information theory stuff but what I got here was too little review and too much "speculation" outside information theory proper. I *did* get all the basics from the book, and some of the "speculation" was somewhat interesting. But the book didn't meet my goals. Might of course be my fault for picking it in the first place. Meh.
Good recap from my RF engineering days where Nyquist and Shannon's work were often applied to sat-com ...I was hoping for a bit more on the metaphysical front but that was probably unrealistic given the chapters listed in the TOC.
Maybe more of a 3.5. A solid not-very-technical introduction, which also explores the relation between Information Theory and other disciplines. Well-explained and easy to read.
Vincent Russo
Terrific introduction to information theory. Not only gave clear and concise examples, but provided numerous applications of which information theory is apparent.
Jonathanstray Stray
Classic intro text, recommended by Chris Willmore. I read it mostly at the kitchen table in 1998. Useful stuff!
Lorraine Weis
An interesting introduction to information theory, with philosophical discussion of language and data.
Oct 14, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: math
A gentle, but someone dated (1961) introduction to information theory.
May 23, 2012 Nik rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: telecom
A good intro to IT. Recommended as a first.
In my opinion, this text's greatest strength and weakness are the same: it is mathematically very non-rigorous. This allows for the material to be very introductory and accessible, but it also tends to several holes and hand waving arguments (as well as a good deal of extremely simplistic background information that can be tedious if you are familiar with mathematics or science). Pierce's writing style is extremely conversational and the text is extremely clear and easy to follow. I actually fou...more
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