Taxonomy and Information
In the context of communication theory the concept of a quantity of information is defined as a function over the elements of a set S of messages. In coding these messages in some alphabet for transmission over a noise-free channel, the greatest average transmission rate is achieved if the length L i of the ith message is set equal (within the error of representation by integers) to the expected value of a random variable which has the value log k (1/p i ).k is the number of letters in the alphabet and p i is the statistical probability of the ith message, i.e. the relative frequency of its transmission.1 For simplicity in theoretical discussion one usually chooses k=2, thinking of a binary alphabet.
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- 1.C. E. Shannon, A Mathematical Theory of Communication (Monograph B-1598, Bell Telephone Systems Technical Publications ), New York 1948.Google Scholar
- 2.Aristotle, De Anima, 402b.Google Scholar
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