A Mathematical Theory of Communication

"A Mathematical Theory of Communication" is an article by mathematician Claude E. Shannon published in Bell System Technical Journal in 1948.[1][2][3][4] It was renamed The Mathematical Theory of Communication in the 1949 book of the same name,[5] a small but significant title change after realizing the generality of this work. It became one of the most cited of all scientific articles and gave rise to the field of information theory.[6]

The article was the founding work of the field of information theory. It was later published in 1949 as a book titled The Mathematical Theory of Communication (ISBN 0-252-72546-8), which was published as a paperback in 1963 (ISBN 0-252-72548-4). The book contains an additional article by Warren Weaver, providing an overview of the theory for a more general audience.

Shannon's diagram of a general communications system, showing the process by which a message sent becomes the message received (possibly corrupted by noise).

It also developed the concepts of information entropy and redundancy, and introduced the term bit (which Shannon credited to John Tukey) as a unit of information. It was also in this paper that the Shannon–Fano coding technique was proposed – a technique developed in conjunction with Robert Fano.