Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
 Department of Mechanical Engineering
 6.050J / 2.110J     Information and Entropy     Spring 2003

General Information

This page provides miscellaneous information about MIT subject 6.050J / 2.110J Information and Entropy, offered in Spring 2003. This subject is designed for MIT freshmen. Academic credit of 6 units (half of that given by a typical MIT subject) is provided.

First Offering

Spring 2003 is the first offering of this subject. It was offered three times while being developed, under other numbers, in Spring 2000, 2001, and 2002.

This subject is offered jointly by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Students may sign up for either 2.110 or 6.050.


Lectures:  Tuesdays, 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm, Room 37-212
Recitations: Thursday, 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm, Rooms 34-302 and 34-304
Mid-term Quiz: Thursday, April 24, 2003, 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm, Room 37-212
Final Exam: at the end of the term during final examination period, May 19 - 23, 2003
Course Office: Room 38-344, MIT, 617-253-9328, 617-253-9386 [Fax]

Please note that the Spring 2003 course Web site is the source of authoritative information. It contains all notes, homework assignments, corrections, and other material. In some cases paper documents may be distributed, but it is the responsibility of all students to check the Web site from time to time.


Problem sets are distributed weekly. They are typically placed on the course Web site Monday morning (or if possible the previous Friday), and are usually due on Friday of the same week. They are related to concepts presented in the lecture Tuesday that week. Students may submit their homework solutions either electronically, or at the 6.050J / 2.110J office, Room 38-344. Official solutions are posted shortly after the problem sets are due. Late submissions do not receive any credit.


Students are expected to access resources on the World Wide Web, both from the course site and elsewhere. Although many students may prefer to use their own computers, the MIT Athena computer environment is sufficient, and is available to all students.


Laboratory exercises are part of some of the problem sets. These make use of the MatLab programming environment. Students may access MatLab either through the Athena system, or on their own computers. MatLab is a commercial product but students will not need to purchase their own copies because it is available through Athena.


6.050J / 2.110J is a six-unit subject. It is intended that the overall work required be approximately six hours per week, including two hours of lecture and recitation. Any students who find themselves spending substantially more than six hours any week should question whether they are stuck and might make more rapid progress if they asked the instructing staff for some hints or got advice from fellow students. In particular, students should avoid spending nonproductive time on the computer, either polishing a MatLab exercise unnecessarily, or surfing the Web aimlessly.

Because this is a new subject, tutoring help may not be available from established resources such as the MIT Tutorial Services.


Weak collaboration is permitted on problem sets. In this context the term "weak collaboration" means that two or more students may discuss the problems and their ways of approaching them, but that each student must fully work out the problem and present only his or her own solution. Advice can be given and received, but no part of the solution can be copied from another, nor can identical portions appear in the submissions of two or more students. Any weak collaboration must be fully disclosed as part of the problem solution, for example by a phrase like "Alice Alison and Bob Robertson collaborated in part (b) by discussions of general approach." Since weak collaboration involves discussions among two or more people, all must have compatible statements.

Help from people not taking this course is also permitted, provided that it is fully disclosed, and that the solution submitted was written in the the privacy of the submitter's own mind and body.

Strong collaboration is not permitted on problem sets. In this context the term "strong collaboration" is any collaboration in which work done by others is incorporated, with or without disclosure. Strong collaboration is normal and desirable in the work environment, where the principal purpose is to accomplish, as a team, some objective. In an academic setting, however, the purpose is to facilitate learning by all individual students, and strong collaboration does not support that goal.

It is, of course, a serious academic offense for a student to present another's work as his or her own. It is also an offense to fail to report collaboration in accordance with course policy. Such offenses will be treated seriously.


The catalog description states that a prerequisite for 6.050J / 2.110J is one of the versions of 8.01 Physics I. This prerequisite is enforced. To qualify, a student must have received credit for 8.01 either through advanced standing or by receiving a passing grade in 8.01, 8.012, 8.01L, or 8.01X.


Grades will be based on participation in class (15%), problem set solutions (30%), mid-term quiz (15%), final examination (30%), and subjective judgment of the instructing staff (10%). Assignment of grades is not an exact science, so these percentages should be regarded as approximate.

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