Information & Coding Theory - COM00006H

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  • Department: Computer Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Stefano Pirandola
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18
    • See module specification for other years: 2016-17

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18 to Summer Term 2017-18

Module aims

The aim of this module is to provide a wide introduction to the basic concepts of information theory, starting from the definition of *bit of information* and ending with some of the most advanced notions in the field of coding theory.

The student will acquire background in fundamental topics and their applications, such as data compression (which is at the basis of modern software like *winzip* ), error correcting codes (which enable CD/DVD readout as well as TV, Radio and satellite digital communications to be error-free), and capacities of channels (which are the highest data-transfer rates achievable over telecom lines and networks). Thanks to the practicals, the student will develop practical skills such as the ability to compress/decompress and protect logical data in the most efficient way.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module the students should be able to:

  • Understand the basic concepts in information theory, like the notions of entropy and mutual information, as well as their main properties
  • Understand the process of data compression and its implications in computer science
  • Compress and decompress data by using optimal symbol codes
  • Understand how information can be protected, safely stored and transmitted
  • Encode and decode data by means of efficient error correcting codes
  • Understand the implications of coding theory in modern technology
  • Understand the various models of communication channels
  • Understand the ultimate limits of data transmission


Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Information & Coding Theory (ICOT)
2 hours 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
University - closed examination
Information & Coding Theory (ICOT)
2 hours 100

Module feedback

Feedback is given during practical classes.
Solutions to problems are provided during practicals and/or online.
Feedback on examination is given within 2-3 weeks of the exam.

Indicative reading

** Cover and Thomas, Elements of Information Theory, Cambridge University Press, 2003

** David J.C. MacKay, Information Theory, Inference, and Learning Algorithms,, 2003

* Madhu Sudan, Essential Coding Theory, Lecture notes available at the MIT OpenCourseWare,, 2004

* Paul Penfield and Seth Lloyd, Information and Entropy, Lecture notes available at the MIT OpenCourseWare,, 2008

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.