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The self information gives the information in a single outcome. In most cases, e.g in data compression, it is much moreinteresting to know the average information content of a source. This average is given by the expected value of the self information with respect to the source's probabilitydistribution. This average of self information is called the source entropy.

Definition of entropy

If symbol has zero probability, which means it never occurs, it should not affect the entropy. Letting 0 0 0 , we have dealt with that.

In texts you will find that the argument to the entropy function may vary. The two most common are H X and H p . We calculate the entropy of a source X, but the entropy is,strictly speaking, a function of the source's probabilty function p. So both notations are justified.

Calculating the binary logarithm

Most calculators does not allow you to directly calculate the logarithm with base 2, so we have to use a logarithm base that mostcalculators support. Fortunately it is easy to convert between different bases.

Assume you want to calculate 2 logbase --> x , where x 0 . Then 2 logbase --> x y implies that 2 y x . Taking the natural logarithm on both sides we obtain

2 logbase --> x x 2


When throwing a dice, one may ask for the average information conveyed in a single throw. Using the formula for entropy we get H X i 1 6 p X x i p X x i 6 bits/symbol

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If a soure produces binary information 0 1 with probabilities p and 1 p . The entropy of the source is

H X p 2 logbase --> p 1 p 2 logbase --> 1 p
If p 0 then H X 0 , if p 1 then H X 0 , if p 1 2 then H X 1 . The source has its largest entropy if p 1 2 and the source provides no new information if p 0 or p 1 .

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An analog source is modeled as a continuous-time random process with power spectral density bandlimited to the bandbetween 0 and 4000 Hz. The signal is sampled at the Nyquist rate. The sequence of random variables, as a result ofsampling, are assumed to be independent. The samples are quantized to 5 levels -2 -1 0 1 2 . The probability of the samples taking the quantized values are 1 2 1 4 1 8 1 16 1 16 , respectively. The entropy of the random variables are

H X i 1 5 p X x i p X x i 1 2 1 2 3 8 1 4 1 4 15 8 bits/sample
There are 8000 samples per second. Therefore, the source produces 8000 15 8 15000 bits/sec of information.

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Entropy is closely tied to source coding. The extent to which a source can be compressed is related to its entropy.There are many interpretations possible for the entropy of a random variable, including

  • (Average)Self information in a random variable
  • Minimum number of bits per source symbol required to describe the random variable without loss
  • Description complexity
  • Measure of uncertainty in a random variable


  • ien, G.E. and Lundheim,L. (2003) Information Theory, Coding and Compression , Trondheim: Tapir Akademisk forlag.

Questions & Answers

do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Information and signal theory. OpenStax CNX. Aug 03, 2006 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10211/1.19
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