• “A few exciting words”: information and entropy revisited

    Author(s):
    David Bawden (see profile) , Lyn Robinson
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    CityLIS
    Subject(s):
    Information science, Physics
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    thermodynamics, entropy, shannon, wiener, information theory
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6P55DG44
    Abstract:
    A review is presented of the relation between information and entropy, focusing on two main issues: the similarity of the formal definitions of physical entropy, according to statistical mechanics, and of information, according to information theory; and the possible subjectivity of entropy considered as missing information. The paper updates the 1983 analysis of Shaw and Davis. The difference in the interpretations of information given respectively by Shannon and by Wiener, significant for the information sciences, receives particular consideration. Analysis of a range of material, from literary theory to thermodynamics, is used to draw out the issues. Emphasis is placed on recourse to the original sources, and on direct quotation, to attempt to overcome some of the misunderstandings and over-simplifications which have occurred with these topics. While it is strongly related to entropy, information is neither identical with it, nor its opposite. Information is related to order and pattern, but also to disorder and randomness. The relations between information and the ‘interesting complexity’, which embodies both pattern and randomness, are worthy of attention.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    1 year ago
    License:
    Attribution-ShareAlike
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