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An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  424 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
"Uncommonly good...the most satisfying discussion to be found." — Scientific American.
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 permitted the rapid development of all sorts of communication, from color television to the clear transmissio
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 1st 1980 by Dover Publications (first published November 1st 1961)
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Jun 05, 2011 Evan rated it really liked it
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
Karen Chung
Jul 17, 2011 Karen Chung rated it it was amazing
A gentle yet solid introduction to information theory.
Mar 23, 2012 Michiel rated it liked it
Interesting with a lot of applications. With moments somewhat old fashioned.
Roberto Rigolin Ferreira Lopes
We are in 1980, Pierce is showing off Information Theory to layperson like myself. You may very much appreciate his introductory discourse on mathematical models and "informed ignorance" (his is humble but setting the boundaries of Shannon’s work). The text is warm and he dares to knit together language, cybernetics, psychology and art. Low entropy everywhere and exciting sometimes.
Oct 20, 2013 Aaron rated it really liked it
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
Ben Gutierrez
Dec 15, 2016 Ben Gutierrez rated it it was amazing
I meant to buy this years ago when I saw it on the shelf at Borders(!) and I regret not doing so. This is another great example of technical writing that moves seamlessly between highly mathematical and conversational tones.

Proofs aren't included here, opting instead to explore a breadth of applications. After building the foundational concepts and vocabulary, Pierce leads us into relationships between information theory and physics, psychology, and even art. I was surprised at the how well the
Jul 12, 2008 Ross rated it liked it
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
Kathleen Fredd
Jan 13, 2013 Kathleen Fredd rated it liked it
Shelves: theory
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
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.
Sungjoo Ha
Oct 02, 2015 Sungjoo Ha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful explanation of various concepts related to information theory. Instead of seeking to be technical and rigorous, the author aims to deliver a good intuition behind solid ideas. Worth reading even though some of the discussions at the end of the book is outdated.
Apr 16, 2013 Brian rated it liked it
Shelves: engineering
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.
Vincent Russo
Apr 17, 2010 Vincent Russo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: computer-science
Terrific introduction to information theory. Not only gave clear and concise examples, but provided numerous applications of which information theory is apparent.
Lorraine Weis
Apr 18, 2014 Lorraine Weis rated it liked it
An interesting introduction to information theory, with philosophical discussion of language and data.
Jonathanstray Stray
Aug 20, 2009 Jonathanstray Stray rated it really liked it
Classic intro text, recommended by Chris Willmore. I read it mostly at the kitchen table in 1998. Useful stuff!
Jun 25, 2013 J. rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
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.
Divin Mazter
Divin Mazter rated it it was amazing
Feb 18, 2015
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Mar 15, 2014
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Nov 09, 2015
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Aug 13, 2015
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Nov 29, 2015
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Nov 05, 2015
Bill White
Bill White rated it it was amazing
Feb 11, 2013
Troa rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2014
Adam Gardner
Adam Gardner rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2007
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Feb 29, 2016
A. Yormark
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Dec 15, 2015
Sam Klein
Sam Klein rated it it was ok
Aug 26, 2015
Id Davidovich
Id Davidovich rated it it was ok
Dec 22, 2010
Devansh Kumar
Devansh Kumar rated it it was ok
Mar 22, 2016
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