OT: excellent book on information theory

Anton Vredegoor anton.vredegoor at gmail.com
Sun Jan 22 07:33:56 EST 2006

Paul Rubin wrote:

> signal processing, for example.  Perhaps it could be improved by being
> more explicit about what the reader needs to know, and giving
> references to other books where the prerequisites can be found.

There are lots of good explanations, graphs, diagrams and such things
in the margins (I'm a few pages further in the book now) but the main
course seems to be mathematical formulas. The author should reverse the
roles these presentations play, move the archaic math jargon to the
margin, or better to a separate latech document, suitable for those
unwilling to join the rest of humanity.

A separate Python library would be handy too, and if not in the main
text it could still be useful for those who lack training in obscure
scientific dialects and want to understand things without any agreed
upon beforehand gibberish that is mainly meant to exclude those not in
the guild.

> I also don't think presenting the math in Python would make things any
> easier conceptually.  The math in Sussman and Wisdom's "Structure and
> Interpretation of Classical Mechanics" is all presented in Scheme, but
> it's still the same math that's normally presented as equations, and
> you have to think just as hard to understand it.

The problem for me is that I recognize many of the used concepts, but
they seem to be deliberately put in cryptic greek letters and
undecipherable gibberish. It would not be necessary to present the math
in Python, any reasonably consistent kind of pseudocode (but not Scheme
or math notation) would made things a lot more clear to me.

Something on a related subject with a presentation I like a bit better
(but it has its problems too, while your book has more of these nice
explanations and stuff, although in the margin):


The authors of this book also seems to think we cannot do without
obscure math notation, something which I disagree with very much, but
at least they provide some pseudo code and some computer code,
unfortunately in C but still better than nothing. The text of the book
is not downloadable, but the algorithms source codes are.

All of the books writers seem to have not caught up with the idea of
hyperlinks and continue to dwell in neolithical paper dreams :-)

If they only woke up and let someone like me write some Visual Python
code to illustrate the algorithms or even let me just write Python
implementations of the algorithms to accompany the books, I'd probably
have work for years to come.

> Math is a beautiful subject, and is not at all secret or inaccessible.
> Try to broaden your horizons a bit ;-).

I hope you're not trying to outexpertize me. You seem to be thinking
that you know more about math than me, probably because you have a
formal education in the subject?

If so, you're proving my point, and thank you very much.


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