Books on information theory tend to fall into one of two extreme categories. There are large academic textbooks that cover the subject with great depth and rigor. Probably the best known of these is the book by Cover and Thomas. At the other extreme are the popular books such as the ones by Pierce and Gleick. They provide a very superficial introduction to the subject, enough to engage in cocktail party conversation but little else. This book attempts to bridge these two extremes.
This book is written for someone who is at least semi-mathematically literate and wants a concise introduction to some of the major concepts in information theory. The level of mathematics needed is very elementary. A rudimentary grasp of logarithms, probability, and basic algebra is all that is required. Two chapters at the end of the book provide a review of everything the reader needs to know about logarithms and discrete probability to get the most out of the book. Very little attention is given to mathematical proof. Instead the results are presented in a way that makes them almost obvious or at least plausible.The book will appeal to anyone looking for a fast introduction to most of the major topics in information theory. An introduction that is concise but not superficial.
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