This is an archived course. A more recent version may be available at


Amazon logo When you click the Amazon logo to the left of any citation and purchase the book (or other media) from, MIT OpenCourseWare will receive up to 10% of this purchase and any other purchases you make during that visit. This will not increase the cost of your purchase. Links provided are to the US Amazon site, but you can also support OCW through Amazon sites in other regions. Learn more.

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Reading Materials


Amazon logo Cover, T. M and J. A. Thomas. Elements of Information Theory. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2001. ISBN: 0471062596.

Recommended Reading

Amazon logo Gallager, R. G. Information Theory and Reliable Communication. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 1968. ISBN: 0471290483.

Problem Sets

There will 11 problem sets. You may collaborate on problem sets, but you must indicate for each problem the name(s) of your collaborator(s). Problem sets will be graded on a scale of √-, √, √+.


There will be an in-class midterm three days after lecture #12.


There will be a final at the end of the semester.


You will each select one paper from the list of supplementary readings. You may prepare the paper individually or in a group of no more than 3 people. Different groups may work on the same paper. If you select to work as a group, the group will receive a common grade. The project will require a 15 minute presentation to the class and a write-up of no more than 4 pages, typed, due in class one day after lecture #22. We will meet individually to discuss the project in the course of the term. Selection of your paper and formation of a group is due in class or by e-mail to the instructor one day after lecture #13. Presentation times will be arranged off-hours after lecture #20 and before lecture #21. Attendance to these sessions is not required but is encouraged, in particular through the inducement of heavy refreshments.


Only the reading assignments out of the book are required. All material not in the book will be covered in class. The reading assignments are detailed in the readings section. The supplementary readings are optional, except for the paper that you select as part of your project.

Grading Policy

The weighting is:

25% midterm
45% final
10% homework
20% project

Any requests for regrades must be made in writing within a week of return of the test or assignment. Do not make any markings on the test or assignment if you wish to submit for a regrade.