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


Unit 5: Communications


Lecture Tuesday, Mar 11, 2003, 12:00 PM Room 37-212
Recitation Thursday, Mar 13, 2003, 12:00 PM Room 37-212
Problem Set Posted Monday, Mar 10, 2003 Due Friday, Mar 14, 2003
Solutions Posted Friday, Mar 14, 2003  

Lecture Handouts

Students who for any reason did not receive these items can pick up a copy in Room 38-344. Most of this material is also available on the 6.050J/2.110J Web site

Reading Assignment



  • Claude E. Shannon, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," Bell System Technical Journal, vol. 27, pp. 379-423 (Part I), 623-656 (Part II); July and October, 1948. These seminal papers are available in several forms (see bibliographic notes)
    • PDF version of original papers, with corrections but without Shannon's 1949 modifications
    • Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver, "The Mathematical Theory of Communication," University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL; 1949, with later editions 1963 and 1998 (incorporating a number of modifications and corrections by Shannon)
    • Claude E. Shannon, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication," 50th Anniversary Edition, printed for the 1998 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, MIT, Cambridge, MA; August 16-21, 1998 (based on 1949 book, with corrections)
    • Reprinted in D. Slepian, editor, Key Papers in the Development of Information Theory, IEEE Press, New York; 1974
    • Reprinted in N. J. A. Sloane and A. D. Wyner, editors, Claude Elwood Shannon: Collected Papers, IEEE Press, New York; 1993
  • ISO/OSI Network Model
  • Charles L. Hedrick, Introduction to the Internet Protocols
  • IP version 6, and related specifications


General Technical Books

There are many excellent texts on communications, most of which assume a familiarity with mathematics beyond introductory calculus. Almost all cover Shannon's work, and some also discuss feedback error control techniques.

  • Thomas M. Cover and Joy A. Thomas, "Elements of Information Theory," John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY; 1991. Aimed at university seniors and first-year graduate students. One of several excellent books of that era. Professor Cover, at Stanford University, is one of the leaders in Information Theory
  • Allan R. Hambley, "An Introduction to Communication Systems," Computer Science Press; 1990. Discussion of various types of error control coding, including FEC (Forward Error Correction) and ARQ (Automatic Repeat Query) techniques, pp. 427 - 479.
  • Robert G. Gallager, "Information Theory and Reliable Communications," John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, NY; 1968. One of the early textbooks, designed for first-year graduate students, by one of the pioneers in communications, an MIT faculty member, later awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor, its most prestigious award
  • Simon Haykin, "Communication Systems," 4th edition, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 2001.
  • John R. Pierce, "An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals, and Noise," Dover Publications, Inc., New York, NY; 1961, 1980 (Second Edition). Mostly nonmathematical, by one of the nation's great scientific contributors at AT&T Bell Laboratories, who was also interested in reaching a general audience. He was later on the faculty at Caltech. One of his interesting sideline activities was writing science fiction stories under the pen name J. J. Coupling. He died April 2, 2002 at the age of 92

Help Wanted

6.050J/2.110J students: be the first to suggest a resource, for example a useful Web site or a good book or article, to add to the list above. If your suggestion is accepted by the 6.050J/2.110J staff, you will get a $5 ice-cream gift certificate. Send your suggestion by e-mail during Spring 2003 to 6.050-staff at

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