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


Unit 6: Processes


Lecture Tuesday, Mar 18, 2003, 12:00 PM Room 37-212
Recitation Thursday, Mar 20, 2003, 12:00 PM Room 37-212
Problem Set Posted Friday, Mar 14, 2003 Due Friday, Mar 21, 2003
Solutions Posted Friday, Mar 21, 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

  • Unit 6 Resources (this page)
  • Problem Set 6
  • 6.050J/2.110J Notes
  • A summary in concise mathematics (mostly algebra) of many topics in information theory, coding, communications, by Dr. M. Z. Wang, Hong Kong: There is a section on Discrete Memoryless Channels.
  • Robert G. Gallager, "Claude E. Shannon: A Retrospective on His Life, Work, and Impact," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, vol. 47, no. 7, pp. 2681-2695; November, 2001.

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
    Because he treated a general case, Shannon was able to distinguish loss and noise, in the way done in 6.050J/2.110J. Many others treat only channels with similar inputs and outputs in which case often L = N so it may not be obvious why they should be different concepts.


General Technical Books

There are many excellent texts on communications, most of which assume a familiarity with mathematics beyond introductory calculus. Some have treatments of the discrete memoryless channel, but not with the same emphasis given here. Here are a few:

  • 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
  • Allan R. Hambley, "An Introduction to Communication Systems," Computer Science Press; 1990
  • 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
  • Simon Haykin, "Communication Systems," 4th edition, John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; 2001.

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

6.050J/2.110J home page | Spring 2003 | Site map | Search | About this page | Comments and inquiries Click here for information on MIT Accessibility