What Does It Mean According to Shannon to Transmit Information?
Shannon was born in 1916 in Petoskey, Michigan, the son of a judge and a teacher. Among other inventive endeavors, as a youth he built a telegraph from his house to a friend's out of fencing wire. He graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics in 1936 and went to M.I.T., where he worked under computer pioneer Vannevar Bush on an analog computer called the differential analyzer. Shannon's M.I.T. master's thesis in electrical engineering has been called the most important of the 20th century: in it the 22-year-old Shannon showed how the logical algebra of 19th-century mathematician George Boole could be implemented using electronic circuits of relays and switches. This most fundamental feature of digital computers' design--the representation of "true" and "false" and "0" and "1" as open or closed switches, and the use of electronic logic gates to make decisions and to carry out arithmetic--can be traced back to the insights in Shannon's thesis. Shannon defined the quantity of information produced by a source--for example, the quantity in a message--by a formula similar to the equation that defines thermodynamic entropy in physics. In its most basic terms, Shannon's informational entropy is the number of binary digits required to encode a message. Today that sounds like a simple, even obvious way to define how much information is in a message. In 1948, at the very dawn of the information age, this digitizing of information of any sort was a revolutionary step. His paper may have been the first to use the word "bit," short for binary digit.
In this paper we will see that, in spite of the agreement concerning the traditional and well understood formalism, there are many points about Shannon’s theory that still remain obscure or have not been sufficiently stressed. Moreover, the very interpretation of the concept of information is far from unanimous (Floridi, L., 2011).
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