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Out of Hours with Peter Cochrane - Information Theory

Wednesday, 18 April 2018,
16:00 to 18:00
WLT1, Waterfront Building, University of Suffolk, Ipswich

There is far more to Bytes than just bits Information Theory

Storage, communication, perception!

Big Data, Small Data, Information; storage and transmission; these immediately conjure a picture of ‘potential high confusion’. But Information Theory is here to help!

“What passes as information theory today is not communication at all, but merely transportation. ... Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and communicating data.”

At its core is the use of Entropy – a measure of disorder – outside the confines of Thermodynamics. In practical terms, it empowers the telecoms, coding and computing revolutions by defining the limits of what is possible, what can and can’t be done. Without out this theory we would be engaged in blind engineering - trial and error, rules of thumb, and guessing!

Peter will explain how the purists’ objections that this is “fuzzy and sloppy” can be overcome to exploit this useful idea from fundamental physics in the design and practice of information system engineering. Applications include digital transmission, data storage, image processing, signal coding, encryption and security.

‘Out of hours’ tutorials are configured for those students, staff, industry, high school teachers and students, (and others) struggling with the subject concepts and application at a fundamental level. It will include live demonstrations, experiments, animations and videos designed to reinforce the detail.

A primary objective is to get attendees to ‘first base’ so they can pick up books and papers, or comb through web pages with confidence. Hopefully, this will also be a pre-cursor to practical application.

Mathematical formulations are approached from several different angles as an aid to rapid assimilation and a deeper understanding, and to demonstrate specific advantages in different fields of application. 

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