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The Mathematical Theory of Communication Paperback – January 1, 1971

ISBN-13: 978-0252725487 ISBN-10: 0252725484 Edition: First Edition (US) First Printing

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252725484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252725487
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"A beautiful example of a theory that unifies hitherto separate branches of physical science, and Dr. Weaver makes important suggestions as to how this unity may be extended to include semantics and pragmatics."--Philosophical Review

"This book cannot be ignored by anyone with direct professional concern with these applications and many applied physicists without this concern should, like the reviewer, find the book absorbing."--S. Whitehead, British Journal of Applied Physics

"Readers who are interested in language, communication, meaning, and related problems will find this monograph rewarding."--Quarterly Review of Biology

About the Author

Claude E. Shannon is a research mathematician at the Bell Telephone Laboratories and Donner professor of science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Warren Weaver, at present a consultant on scientific projects to the Sloan Foundation, has had a distinguished academic, government, and foundation career. Both authors have received numerous awards and honors.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Steve Uhlig on February 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
While being referenced in many courses and textbooks, few have read it unfortunately. This is not the kind of book that will change your life but it is amongst the ones that are part of the CULTURE of anyone far or less involved in communication theory.
The content is certainly very conceptual but it provides a different view of what information is. In this world where content is king, it will refresh your notion of syntax and semantics, and the difference between just words and the information that lies within them.
Even if it is quite small, it's not the book you'll read from the beginning to the end without a stop. It is very deep and has profound implications on everyday's computer scientist's life. I've read once that often the size of a book is inversely proportional to its informational is true for this one at least...
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58 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Harvey B. Vedder on December 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
Glibly referred to by anyone with a smattering of data and telecommunications savvy, few have ever read it. As usual with breakthru authors, their efforts get commercially applied and the insightfulness of the original work is closeted, where it can conveniently be academically referred to "what he said was..." (ellipsis filled in by whatever your professor used to characterize the book.) Shannon took an early art form to a rigorous science. This is the book reporting the method of the since-evolved science of data communications, and a good bit more. The fact that I am the first reviewer in this forum speaks eloquently of the paucity of readers and the concomitant large number of data communication experts who have ignored the now larger issues it discloses than the single commercial application of one of its conclusions. Read it. You will agree with me that focusing on the source rather than the sink (terms he coined) is the weakness of communication theory as currently modeled on Shannon's first, obvious conclusion. The development of the digital computer over the past five decades has opened up the way to harness the ideas that lie latent in this excellent, groundbreaking book.
Harvey B. Vedder ret Sr Data Comm Eng, Bell Atlantic
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
I think it is fair to say that this book, based on Shannons landmark paper represents what I believe to be, the most important engineering paper ever written in the history of the world (both up to this point, and likely will remain so in the future). In terms of "practical implementation" of theory, it's fair to say that this seminal work has had a far greater contribution to mankind than Einsteins' paper on general and special relativity (just don't say that to a physicists face).
... All to often, famous theorists are relegated to "cult-like" obscurity. Persons like Shannon, Gallager, Forney, Komolgorov may be legendary within a cult-circle of die-hard communication theorists, but are relegated to unfortunate obscurity by the masses. It's rather unfortunate, with todays advanced communication systems, and techniques of coding (Turbo codes, modified LDPC codes, etc..)which push the boundaries to the ultimate limits as defined by Shannon.... that more people (both engineers, and laymen alike) don't recognize the names of early pioneers who started the revolution, and who's theories are the basis for many of our modern luxuries which allow us to download information at such rapid rates.
People often underestimate the deepness of Shannons' work,due to Shannon's writing style. He was one of those rare writers (somewhat like Forney, or Massey) who can actually explain complicated subjects using mere words, without the need for prettying the theory up with fancy math. Comparing the equation filled textbooks of today, versus Shannon's work, one might get the impression that Shannon's work was simplistic. I think it's clear to anyone whos studied his work, that IT WAS NOT SIMPLISTIC.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Palle E T Jorgensen VINE VOICE on February 28, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Where it all began.---The book grew out from an epic scientific paper in 1948, but luckly its author Shannon chose a light touch and a gentle delivery in his presentation. The paper became a book, with a 1949 first edition, which is now a classic, and which has been reprinted a number of times since, ending with the present lovely 1998 edition. It is still the place where readers can learn the essentials, including the two equations of information theory, that are now named after Claude Shannon.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Emre Sevinc on November 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the seminal work that may be said to include the basic concepts, definitions and theorems of information and communication theory. This book does not need any praise because anybody who had even an introductory education in computer science or electronics of communication will have met the name of Shannon (if you haven't yet, please rush to Google and read his achievements).

The beauty of this edition is twofold. It includes two main parts. First part is by Weaver, and you don't need anything more than high school logic and algebra to understand the very clearly explained concepts. The second part by Shannon is 'the real thing' and for the mathematically educated reader, you need a fine grasp of probability theory, calculus, and a little bit of calculus of variations if you want to absorb all of the material.

To sum it up, if you want to really understand what entropy means in terms of information theory, then this is THE book for it. You'll also find very entertaining examples about the redundancy and entropy of the English language and how this relates to creating crossword puzzles in 2 dimension or 3 dimension.

You owe it to yourself to read this short book if you are a computer scientist, computer engineer or electronics engineer.
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