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Proposed “Syllabus” for Module 1 (High School Rigor) of the Information Theory Self-Study Group

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As I posted recently, there is a self-study group starting about learning Information Theory, that will ultimately parallel Oberlin’s Math 345 course, and thus be something we could earn upper division college credit through LearningCounts.  But, I believe in learning starting from easy and conceptual to moving to more challenging and technical.  Thus, the first third of the “course”, which I’m calling “Module 1”, is going to be at what the author of our main text deems to be at a high school level of math rigor.  And we will mostly watch videos that are also geared towards high school students and/or the general public.

So I’m proposing for this study group the following sequence, with approximate dates of when we would complete different portions of our reading, and activities.

Textbook

This self study course will use both books and videos, and in some cases, interactive programs.  The main book is also available as an audio book, as well as being in digital format (along with the traditional form).

Week 1 (First week of December 2015)

We will meet for the first time. We will talk a little about what the self-study course will cover, and the goals each of us has for ourselves.  We will  then watch George Boole* 200 produced by UCCIreland, to learn a little about George Boole’s life, and will then also watch Claude Shannon – Father of the Information Age produced by University of California Television.  The reading assignment between group meetings will be Chapters 1, 2 & 3 of The Logician and the Engineer.  (These chapters are pretty low on math, and mostly give some background, including a really fascinating biography of Boole and Shannon)

Week 2 (Second week of December 2015)

This will be our second meeting, possibly having some other people joining us (they should be able to easily catch up to where we are). We will talk about what Boolean Algebra is, and watch AND OR NOT – Logic Gates Explained by Professor Brailsford.   We also talk about the puzzles that were in the initial chapters of The Logician and the Engineer.  We have a reading assignment of Chapters 4 & 5 of The Logician and the Engineer, which are about Boolean Algebra and Logical Switching Circuits.

Week 3 (Third week of December 2015)

We will watch the Ancient Information Theory portion of Journey into Information Theory on Khan Academy.  We have a reading assignment of Chapters 6 & 7 of The Logician and the Engineer, which start to talk about probability.

Week 4 (Fourth week of December 2015)

We will watch the Modern Information Theory portion of Journey into Information Theory on Khan Academy, and we have a discussion about the math involved, and individually or in groups do some of the interactive portions that Khan Academy has.  We have a reading assignment of Chapters 8 & 9 of The Logician and the Engineer., which are about sequential state digital circuits and Turing machines.

Week 5 (Fifth week of December 2015)

The video(s) for this week are still being determined, but likely will be conceptual about Turing machines, information theory in physics, and/or quantum computing.  We will have a reading assignment of Chapters 10 & the Epilogue of The Logician and the Engineer, which covers such topics as how fundamental physics might be based on information theory, and also talking about quantum computing.

Beyond Week 5 – Module 2

After finishing Module 1, which gave a foundation about both Boolean Algebra, and some of the basics of Information Theory, we will move into a deeper view of Information theory, that is more at a lower division college level, as part of Module 2, which will have its own syllabus.

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by Jacob Walker

November 19th, 2015 at 9:10 am

Posted in Data Science

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