OT: excellent book on information theory

Paul Rubin http
Sat Jan 21 21:05:07 CET 2006

"Anton Vredegoor" <anton.vredegoor at gmail.com> writes:
> And so the cycle repeats itself. We teach our students the world is all
> about money, and sure enough, the world is all about money. If we would
> continue to keep the interesting things away from most of the people,
> by hiding it behind mathematical jargon we end up believing that
> functional programming is connected to having a math degree and more
> such self serving and self fullfilling prophecies.

I don't think a math degree is needed to read that book, but you do
need to know some basic calculus and probability.  Maybe also some
abstract algebra since error correcting codes generally involve finite
field arithmetic.  The book doesn't cover those subjects starting from
scratch.  I don't think it can reasonably be expected to do so.  But
it's less math-intensive than most books I've looked at about digital
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.

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.

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

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