In the years since the publication of the first edition, there were many aspects of the book that we wished to improve, to rearrange, or to expand, but the constraints of reprinting would not allow us to make those changes between printings. In the new edition, we now get a chance to make some of these changes, to add problems, and to discuss some topics that we had omitted from the first edition.
The key changes include a reorganization of the chapters to make the book easier to teach, and the addition of more than two hundred new problems. We have added material on universal portfolios, universal source coding, Gaussian feedback capacity, network information theory, and developed the duality of data compression and channel capacity. A new chapter has been added and many proofs have been simplified. We have also updated the references and historical notes.
The material in this book can be taught in a two-quarter sequence. The first quarter might cover Chapters 1 to 9, which includes the asymptotic equipartition property, data compression, and channel capacity, culminating in the capacity of the Gaussian channel. The second quarter could cover the remaining chapters, including rate distortion, the method of types, Kolmogorov complexity, network information theory, universal source coding, and portfolio theory. If only one semester is available, we would add rate distortion and a single lecture each on Kolmogorov complexity and network information theory to the first semester. A web site, http://www.elementsofinformationtheory.com, provides links to additional material and solutions to selected problems.
In the years since the first edition of the book, information theory celebrated its 50th birthday (the 50th anniversary of Shannon's original paper that started the field), and ideas from information theory have been applied to many problems of science and technology, including bioinformatics, web search, wireless communication, video compression, and others. The list of applications is endless, but it is the elegance of the fundamental mathematics that is still the key attraction of this area. We hope that this book will give some insight into why we believe that this is one of the most interesting areas at the intersection of mathematics, physics, statistics, and engineering.
Palo Alto, California