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Need some book recommendations for EE and Information Theory

  1. Jun 28, 2011 #1
    Hello All,

    I have not yet entered undergrad EE. I am in a mid year break and need a intro level book. It should be formal and factual and where necessary technical, but at the same time it should outline:

    - historical development of electronics and electrical technologies
    - historical development of information theory
    - Motives and applications of these developments

    It should also be recent, more than 2000 atleast. It should give me the basic tools to understand current approaches employed by researchers on contemporary technological challenges such as artificial intelligence. Not in great detail but atleast in a rudimentary way (although arguably, that wouldn't really be called an "understanding" at all).

    I haven't yet done calculus 2 or linear algebra so it shouldn't get too technical. You can also quote multiple books if one book doesn't cover all this.

    Also it shouldn't contain evaluative judgments such as "this" or "that" is/was "good" or "bad" for the development of "such" and "such". I want the facts/theory, not their respective interpretations.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2011 #2
    There isn't anything brilliant which does all of those things singularly. It sounds like you're trying to find something far too specific on an awfully large category of topics, particularly given your level of knowledge.

    You might try starting with some of the following:
    John Robinson Pierce's An Introduction to Information Theory: Symbols, Signals and Noise
    James Gleick's The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood
    Claude Shannon's original 1939 masterpiece which started it all: A [or for reprints thereafter, The] Mathematical Theory of Communication, which you should incidentally be able to find online for free. If you can find the published University of Illinois book which also contains Warren Weaver's introductory material, all the better.

    None of them require much mathematical maturity, except possibly the last which really isn't too difficult if you stick with it. These should give you a firm foundation upon which you can continue to build in the future, should your interests allow. I'd also highly recommend not skipping the "older" material relating to this subject which holds up incredibly well, otherwise I guarantee you'll kick yourself later and wish you had read them first. Incidentally Shannon's original 1939 paper is literally one of the most widely read and influential documents in all of human history.

    In general, unless you're reading books on pure theory or mathematics, you'll be hard pressed to find material which doesn't contain "evaluative judgments." I suggest instead you focus on obtaining a sound education which will allow you to spot them when they occur and then research them to either validate or falsify them for yourself -- particularly when reading books which contain history.
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