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Santa Fe Institute

Introduction to Information Theory

Santa Fe Institute via Complexity Explorer


This tutorial introduces fundamental concepts in information theory. Information theory has made considerable impact in complex systems, and has in part co-evolved with complexity science. Research areas ranging from ecology and biology to aerospace and information technology have all seen benefits from the growth of information theory.

In this tutorial, students will follow the development of information theory from bits to modern application in computing and communication. Along the way Seth Lloyd introduces valuable topics in information theory such as mutual information, boolean logic, channel capacity, and the natural relationship between information and entropy.

Lloyd coherently covers a substantial amount of material while limiting discussion of the mathematics involved. When formulas or derivations are considered, Lloyd describes the mathematics such that less advanced math students will find the tutorial accessible. Prerequisites for this tutorial are an understanding of logarithms, and at least a year of high-school algebra.


Taught by

Seth Lloyd


3.9 rating, based on 12 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Introduction to Information Theory

  • Anonymous
    This is an excellent tutorial, introducing information theory in a very accessible way to anyone. Seth is able to teach very abstract concepts and methods in clear, fun and light ways. I would recommend it to anyone, very highly.
  • Anonymous
    I liked the content. Some mathematical symbols/operators were missing in (especially the contextualizing algebraic) explanations which made it hard to follow.
  • Anonymous
    Seth Lloyd is brilliant presenting his stuff, but nothing you could not have found in regular textbooks. I still enjoyed the style but I do not enjoy always to be treated like I am expecting to be entertained. Recommendable but there are more thorough courses in information theory around and Lloyd missed something very important: the limitations of entropy, he said nothing about it and for that, because I do not think is honest to present a topic that has so many flaws as if it were fundamental, I think this course is overrated.
  • Anonymous
    An insightful introduction to Information theory by a very interesting professor and accomplished scientist. The structure of the lectures keep the learner motivated, while the subject is thoroughly explained. It was educationally valuable and unexpectedly fun!
  • Anonymous
    Loads of fun but little content, this is a short tutorial, much better than the one given by the Asian instructor in Coursera or Udacity but not as good as other courses online, even on YouTube. For that I think it does not deserve a very high mark, but because it was fun I am giving it 2 stars.
  • Anonymous
    Great course! Very clear explanations, fun anegdotes and nice quizes. Professor Seth Lloyd is a great and engaging teacher. I found the knowledge gained in this course very useful. If you're interested in information theory I full heartedly recommend this course!
  • Professor Loyd gave a nice overview of the topic, his explanations where amazing! I took it in order to establish a research area in my university and we have done nice project
  • Great course which gives you an overal introduction to information theory, which is pretty useful if you are starting to inmerse yourself in computer science or programming.
  • Anonymous
    Starts well paced, gets quite difficult just past halfway through. Good introduction, conveys some concepts with intuition but not others. Students must read between the lines for the later quizzes.
  • Anonymous
    Very good course. Lloyd has an engaging and approachable style. His examples are clear and intuitive. The discussion is amenable. He clearly took care of preparing his content.

    - Pradeep Gupta
  • Anonymous
    good course! a concrete course, easy and that gives you a general vision of the theory of information in addition to examples.
  • Profile image for Sowmya J
    Sowmya J
    Beyond textbooks it's have a little bit of information and it was so understandable one. It is not so depth contented one because of the short way tutorial lesson but there is always a quite interesting thing at every place of it was nice and it is basically a thing of material for beginners to take the session to be useful

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