• An Introduction to Information Theory

  • Symbols, Signals and Noise
  • By: John R. Pierce
  • Narrated by: Kyle Tait
  • Length: 10 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 transmission of photographs from the vicinity of Jupiter. Even more revolutionary progress is expected in the future.  

Beginning with the origins of this burgeoning field, Dr. Pierce follows the brilliant formulations of Claude Shannon and describes such aspects of the subject as encoding and binary digits, entropy, language and meaning, efficient encoding, and the noisy channel. He then goes beyond the strict confines of the topic to explore the ways in which information theory relates to physics, cybernetics, psychology, and art. Mathematical formulas are introduced at the appropriate points for the benefit of serious students.  

J. R. Pierce worked for many years at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he became Director of Research in Communications Principles. An Introduction to Information Theory continues to be the most impressive nontechnical account available and a fascinating introduction to the subject for lay listeners.

©2012 John R. Pierce (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about An Introduction to Information Theory

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not bad, but...

It's not clear who exactly this book is for. It boasts in requiring no prior knowledge, but it is full of math that wasn't trivial for me to follow (I'm scientist by profession). Also, the book is a little out of focus at times, and seems out of date at times. It moves from discussing encoding and error correction to information theory in art and music and then to "cybernetics", a fuzzy term that was apparently popular at the time and went out of favor. That being said, it's an interesting book and full of useful information; but I think you should not expect to get much out of it if you're not an expert. Also, it is not very well suited for an audio format. It refers to figures and long and complex equations at various points, and there's no accompanying PDF file as far as I could see.

25 people found this helpful

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difficult as an audio book

I liked the book although it is, at least for me, difficult as an audio book.

5 people found this helpful

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Not for the layman

Great material, though hard to follow. The description stated it was Information Theory for the layman, however I found that to be slightly misleading. If you are already familiar with concepts of mathematics then be all means this is a good find, if not, find another easier listen.

1 person found this helpful