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on February 14, 2001
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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on December 26, 1998
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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on February 14, 2002
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. Obviously, there was alot of "behind the scenes" math which Shannon had to go through to actually codify his many theorems. Just because Shannon did not show extensive derivations for each one of his theorems does not mean that he was not a good mathemetician..It merely means that he did not want to write a 1,000 page paper... he wanted to keep it simple (as was the customary writing style in the early to mid 1900's).
In short.. This book should be on YOUR shelf if you dont already own it, and if you are interested in information theory, and the deeper underpinnings of digital communications. I give the book 5 stars, not because it's any kind of elegant literary masterpiece; simply because it is based on the most important paper ever written. ... S.A. Hoffman -
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VINE VOICEon February 28, 2003
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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on November 22, 2009
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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on January 14, 2006
This book is the best technical book i've ever read. It's clear, concise and logic. It explains all the fundamentals of communication theory, a basic for telecom and electronic engineers. All technical universities of everywhere must explain their communication theory subject following exactly this text. Above any other technical book. A gem.
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on July 5, 2005
The origin of this book lies in the Bell Telephone Laboratories initiative in researching how wireless and telecommunications can be improved. The problem it deals with is a classic one for electronics, telecommunications and computing - noise vs. fidelity of data transmitted. The solution it propounds is simple and yet so revolutionary that it charted the course of these fields since it was published.

The basic premise of the book is that 'redundancy' or elimination of noise occurs at infinite time. 'Entropy' or shuffledness allows for some noise and produces more information because it requires reconstruction at the receiving end.

The authors support their arguments with simple statistical formulae which explain how entropy and redundancy are inverse of each other.

This book has been highly debated by both the people involved in the fields concerned and the people outside the field.

Most of the debate surrounds the controversial aspect of Shannon and Weaver's definition of information in engineering terms, which excludes issues like relevance, meaning etc.

A great deal of debate also got carried into social sciences and humanities where a new celebration of 'entropy' occured.
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on February 18, 2013
This is a classic text - the text on communications theory that started a revolution in digital communications. The original Bell System Technical Journal papers by Shannon are included, which give credit to the work of R.V.L. Hartley and Harry Nyquist. It is available freely on the web, but this small format book with Weaver's article is a gem.
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on July 5, 2015
If you want to understand the underlying math and logic behind compute and communication there is no way around this seminal work. On top of that it is very well written and about as easy to understand as anything this fundamental and important can be made.
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on July 19, 2006
Typically, a paper which defines a new field of science is not the best introduction to new researchers in the field. This is not the case with The Mathematical Theory of Communication. If you are interested in information theory, this is the one and only place to start.
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