Efficient Coding of a Binary Source with One Very Infrequent Symbol [Original typescript + Bell Memorandum]. Claude E. Shannon, Elwood.
A further explanation of part of "The Mathematical Theory of Communication"

Efficient Coding of a Binary Source with One Very Infrequent Symbol [Original typescript + Bell Memorandum]

Murray Hill, N. J. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Incorporated January 29, 1954. Two items:

1) Original typescript of the paper. [1]-5 leaves. 10 7/8 x 8 3/8 inches. One manuscript correction on the last page. Not hole punched.


2) Bell Telephone Laboratories "Memorandum for File" MM-54-114-7 Filing Subject Information Theory: [1], [1]-5 leaves. 10 7/8 x 8 3/8 inches. Reproduced typescript with four holes punched at the spine. This officially released version contains moderately different content from the original typescript. Near Fine. Wraps. [28606]

This pair of related items from Shannon's files contain a typescript of the paper, and the resulting "official" file memorandum, distributed to twelve Bell Laboratory scientists on Jan 29, 1954.

The second leaf of the Bell Memorandum explains the purpose of the paper:

"In the paper 'A Mathematical Theory of Communication' an information source was considered which produces a sequence of A's and B's, successive choices independent, with probability p for A, q = 1 - p for B, and with p much less than q. .... Several people have requested details of this analysis. This memorandum proves this result for a coding system similar to that described in the communication paper, but simplified slightly to facilitate calculation."

Abstract: "Details are given of a coding system for a binary source of information with one highly infrequent symbol. This code approaches the ideal compression ratio as a probability p of the infrequent symbol approaches zero."

The Mathematical Theory of Communication was one of Shannon's most important works, which had an immense impact on the developing field of Information Theory. This supplemental explanation is the only example found in Shannon's files. Rare.

PROVENANCE: The personal files of Claude E. Shannon (unmarked). The only example of these items in Shannon's files.

Sloane and Wyner, "Claude Elwood Shannon Collected Papers," #86


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