Reliable Communication of Highly Distributed Information



Shannon’s theory of information [1] and subsequent generalizations to multiple users (for a survey see [2]) consider the situation of a small number of users each with an unlimited amount of information. The users communicate over a noisy channel with the goal of exchanging their information reliably. Here, we consider a complementary model. We assume a very large number of users, each with a small amount of information. We also assume that the communication takes place over a noisy channel but assume that the goal of the users is to compute a function reliably. This highly distributed information model is motivated by problems of decision making in a network. The users could be either a large number of processors, human beings, or simply the components of a logic circuit. In all cases, the noise is an inevitable physical limitation.


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  1. [1]
    C.E. Shannon, “A Mathematical Theory of Communications,” Bell Syst. Tech. J., 27, pp. 379–423 and 623–656 (July and Oct. 1948).MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    A. El Gamal and T. Cover, “Multiple User Information Theory,” Proc. IEEE, 68, No. 12, pp. 1466–1483 (Dec. 1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    R. Gallager, “Computing Parity in a Broadcast Network,” in this book.Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    A. Orlitsky and A. El Gamal, “Broadcast Complexity,” in preparation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical EngineeringStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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