CSC 4140/9010: Theory of Information
Spring 2005

Meeting on Mondays, 6:00-8:50 PM, MSC256

Course Home Page:

Instructor: Dr. G. Japaridze

Teaching assistant: Mr. Alexander Hofstrom


Description and goals: The course will introduce students to major notions and results of information and coding theory. The information theory, developed by Claude Shannon, is considered one of the crown achievements of the twenty century's science. It can be justly called the cornerstone of the information age. Based on the notions of entropy, this theory makes it possible to measure the amount of information stored or transmitted through a communication channel. This breakthrough put a firm theoretical foundation behind a search for efficient ways of encoding information, be it in natural systems such genes or man-made ones such as computers. The second major topic of the course deals with different ways of encoding information. The issues include encoding for optimizing storage requirements (data compression); encoding robustness (error detection and correction) and encoding for secrecy (cryptography). The history of such methods from Ancient Egypt to quantum cryptography, including such milestones as breaking the German code during the WWII and the leading encryption techniques for encoding the internet traffic, is included in the course as well. The course is conducted as a mixture of the instructor's lecture and students' presentation formats.

Examination schedule:

  1. February 28
  2. April 18

Presentations: last 3 weeks of the semester.

Quizzes: Every week. Missed quizzes cannot be made up no matter what the reason was. One quiz of your choice, however, will be automatically forgiven.
Homework will be assigned every week. It will not be graded. However, the quiz questions will usually be chosen from homework questions.

Grading: Quizzes --- 20%, Examinations --- 80%.

Presumably, grades will be derived from cumulative scores as follows:

Score Grade
94-100 A
87-93 A-
80-86 B+
72-79 B
63-71 B-
54-62 C+
45-53 C
0-44 F

Presentations will not contribute toward your cumulative score; however, an oustanding presentation can increase your letter grade by 1/2 (say, from "B" to "B+"), and a very poor presentation can decrease it by 1/2 (say, from "B" to "B-").

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