The lectures of this course are based on the first 11 chapters of Prof. Raymond Yeung’s textbook entitled Information Theory and Network Coding (Springer 2008). This book and its predecessor, A First Course in Information Theory (Kluwer 2002, essentially the first edition of the 2008 book), have been adopted by over 60 universities around the world as either a textbook or reference text.
At the completion of this course, the student should be able to:
1) Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of information theory.
2) Appreciate the notion of fundamental limits in communication systems and more generally all systems.
3) Develop deeper understanding of communication systems.
4) Apply the concepts of information theory to various disciplines in information science.

Choh-Ming Li Professor of Information Engineering, and Co-Director, Institute of Network Coding

Hi! My name is Raymond Yeung

Welcome to the Coursera course on the Information Theory.

First, what are we going to learn in this course?

In the Information Age, information is available anytime anywhere.

Nowadays, people talk every so often about information being transmitted from one point to another point in digital form.

Specifically, when we transmit a text file, 0's and 1's are being transmitted.

When we transmit a voice message, 0's and 1's are being transmitted.

And when we transmit a video, again 0's and 1's are being transmitted.

Why is that?

If you have not thought about this question before,

or if you don't know the answer to this question, you should not feel bad about it.

because you are not the only one.

After all, the idea of transmitting information in digital form is not trivial at all.

In this 15-week course, we are going to learn what it means by transmitting information in digital form,

and why it is optimal,

i.e., there is no other way that you can do better than transmitting 0's and 1's.

Information theory is a subject with very rich intellectual contents,

and it is somewhat philosophical.

And for the prerequisite of this course,

if you have had a solid undergraduate course on probability, you should be doing fine.

Unlike most other online courses where the concepts and the mathematics are discussed at a high level,

in this course most of the theorems and their proofs are discussed in great details.

The textbook for this course is my own book entitled "Information Theory and Network Coding",

published by Springer in 2008.

In this course, we are going to cover the first 11 chapters of the book.

If you are with a university or some other institution with subscription to Springer's e-book series,

you can download the electronic version of the book for free.

Otherwise, you can download a preprint of the book, which is very close to the final published version.

These links are provided at the bottom of the homepage of my book, where you can access through the homepage of this course.

There you can also find a link for the Errata of the book.

Every week we are going to upload a video of length approximately equal to 50 minutes,

which is equivalent to about 2 to 3 hours of classroom teaching.

The discussions in the videos are very comprehensive.

You can think of them as the multimedia version of the first 11 chapters of my book.

When you watch the video, you are expected to pause and rewind from time to time.

If you find that you cannot understand everything in one pass, please be assured that this is just normal.

At the end of each video, there is a homework assignment that contains exercise problems at the end of the chapter.

Some of these problems are not easy, and you are not expected to be able to solve all of them.

However, to get the most out of this course, you should make efforts to solve these problems as much as you can and submit your solutions through the web.

The assignments will be graded in a liberal manner.

You will get the mark for a problem as long as you show that you have made a reasonable effort to solve the problem.

I just want to emphasize that the purpose of these assignments is not to test how well you understand the materials.

Rather, they are to help you to understand the materials.

By spending time to work on these problems, you will learn a lot.

Also, I want to stress the importance of doing the homework assignments.

Information theory is a highly mathematical subject.

Just like any other math subject, you have to learn by working on the problems.

Otherwise, it would be like trying to learn how to swim from a book without jumping into the water.

Finally, I would like to welcome you again to the course.

This is the first time I teach an online course.

For a long time, like most others, I believed that the best way to teach mathematics is to work out all the derivations on the blackboard.

But I changed my mind after seeing the Khan Academy style presentation.

So my goal for teaching this online course is to teach in a way that is even more effectively than teaching in real person.

This is going to be a new experience for all of us.

I hope you will enjoy.

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