Information theory and inference, often taught separately, are here united in one entertaining textbook. These topics lie at the heart of many exciting areas of contemporary science and engineering - communication, signal processing, data mining, machine learning, pattern recognition, computational neuroscience, bioinformatics, and cryptography. This textbook introduces theory in tandem with applications. Information theory is taught alongside practical communication systems, such as arithmetic coding for data compression and sparse-graph codes for error-correction. A toolbox of inference techniques, including message-passing algorithms, Monte Carlo methods, and variational approximations, are developed alongside applications of these tools to clustering, convolutional codes, independent component analysis, and neural networks. The final part of the book describes the state of the art in error-correcting codes, including low-density parity-check codes, turbo codes, and digital fountain codes -- the twenty-first century standards for satellite communications, disk drives, and data broadcast. Richly illustrated, filled with worked examples and over 400 exercises, some with detailed solutions, David MacKay's groundbreaking book is ideal for self-learning and for undergraduate or graduate courses. Interludes on crosswords, evolution, and sex provide entertainment along the way. In sum, this is a textbook on information, communication, and coding for a new generation of students, and an unparalleled entry point into these subjects for professionals in areas as diverse as computational biology, financial engineering, and machine learning.
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"...a valuable reference...enjoyable and highly useful."
"...an impressive book, intended as a class text on the subject of the title but having the character and robustness of a focused encyclopedia. The presentation is finely detailed, well documented, and stocked with artistic flourishes."
"Essential reading for students of electrical engineering and computer science; also a great heads-up for mathematics students concerning the subtlety of many commonsense questions."
"An utterly original book that shows the connections between such disparate fields as information theory and coding, inference, and statistical physics."
Dave Forney, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"This is an extraordinary and important book, generous with insight and rich with detail in statistics, information theory, and probabilistic modeling across a wide swathe of standard, creatively original, and delightfully quirky topics. David MacKay is an uncompromisingly lucid thinker, from whom students, faculty and practitioners all can learn."
Peter Dayan and Zoubin Ghahramani, Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, University College, London
"An instant classic, covering everything from Shannon's fundamental theorems to the postmodern theory of LDPC codes. You'll want two copies of this astonishing book, one for the office and one for the fireside at home."
Bob McEliece, California Institute of Technology
"An excellent textbook in the areas of infomation theory, Bayesian inference and learning alorithms. Undergraduate and post-graduate students will find it extremely useful for gaining insight into these topics."
"Most of the theories are accompanied by motivations, and explanations with the corresponding examples...the book achieves its goal of being a good textbook on information theory."
ACM SIGACT News
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