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Definition of INFORMATION THEORY
: a theory that deals statistically with information, with the measurement of its content in terms of its distinguishing essential characteristics or by the number of alternatives from which it makes a choice possible, and with the efficiency of processes of communication between humans and machines
First Known Use of INFORMATION THEORY
Field of mathematics that studies the problems of signal transmission, reception, and processing. It stems from Claude E. Shannon's mathematical methods for measuring the degree of order (nonrandomness) in a signal, which drew largely on probability theory and stochastic processes and led to techniques for determining a source's rate of information production, a channel's capacity to handle information, and the average amount of information in a given type of message. Crucial to the design of communications systems, these techniques have important applications in linguistics, psychology, and even literary theory.