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Advanced Topics in Information Theory
Spring 2011

⇒ to time table and download of class material


  • Class Evaluation: The class evaluation will be online between 1 and 17 June. I would very much appreciate your feedback, so please spend a couple of minutes to fill out the online form. Thanks!
  • Final Exam: The final exam will take place on
    • Tuesday, 21 June, between 13:30–15:20.
    • The exam is oral: we have a chat together about some topics in class.
    • Duration: each student will be questioned separately for 20 minutes. The exact schedule will be distributed in advance.
    • Location: my office (ED727)
    • Covered material: everything covered in class
  • Mid-Term Exam: The mid-term exam will take place on
    • Tuesday, 26 April, 13:30–15:20
    • open book: any book is allowed
    • not allowed are: any telecommunication devices like mobile phones, any laptop with wireless capabilities, any "friend", or any other help from outside...
    • covered material: everything up to rate distortion, but not including the error exponent
  • Exercise 6: Due to the public holidays, Exercise 6 needs to be handed in only one week later on 12 April.
  • Change of time: Please be aware that the time and location of this course has changed. Instead of Monday (EF) the course now will be on Tuesday (EF).

Course Description

This course is an advanced course in information theory. Based on the theory we have learned in the course Information Theory we will continue to explore the most important results concerning data compression and reliable communication over a communication channel. We will talk about multiple-user communication and lossy compression schemes. The course will cover approximately the following topics:

  • Methods of types
  • Rate distortion theory (lossy compression)
  • Multiple-users channels:
    • Multiple-access channel
    • Broadcast channel
    • Relay channel
    • Interference channel
  • Gel'fand–Pinsker problem: channels with random parameters known at the transmitter
  • Correlated source encoding (Slepian–Wolf)

For more detail see the time table below.

We hope that a student who finishes the course will be able to better understand the principles underlying all state-of-the-art communication systems and the difficulties encountered when designing and trying to improve them.


  • Probability
  • Information Theory


Prof. Stefan M. Moser
Engineering Building IV, Office 727
phone: 03-571 21 21 ext. 54548

Teaching Assistant

In case you would like to discuss some questions in Chinese, you may contact the TA of this class:

  • Lin Hsuan-Yin
    Office: Engineering Building IV, Lab 716A (ED716A)
    Phone: 03-571 21 21 ext. 54630
    office hours: on appointment

To make our and your life easier, let's agree on the following rule: You may contact or visit the TA at any time also outside of office hours. However, if you haven't made an appointment in advance, he has the right to tell you that he hasn't got time right at that moment.

Time and Place

The course is scheduled for 3 hours per week:

  • Tuesday, 13:30–15:20 (EF), Engineering Building IV, Room 102 (ED102)
  • Thursday, 9:00–9:50 (B), Engineering Building IV, Room 303 (ED303)

The course starts on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, and finishes on Thursday, 23 June 2011.

Office Hours

NCTU requests that every teacher offers two hours per week where students may come to ask questions:

  • Tuesday, 15:30–17:30, Engineering Building IV, Office 727

However, we would like to encourage you to show up in the teacher's or teaching assistant's office at any time whenever you have questions about the class or related subjects. Moreover, we are always available during and after classes.


The course will be mainly be based on

  • Thomas M. Cover and Joy A. Thomas: “Elements of Information Theory,” second edition, Wiley, 2006.

You find here a link to an electronic version of the book. For certain topics additional lecture notes will be handed out during class.

Further references and recommended readings:

  • Claude E. Shannon: “A mathematical theory of communication,” Bell System Technical Journal, vol. 27, pp. 379–423 and 623–656, July and October 1948. (PDF) (Some remarks about this electronic version.)
  • Gerhard Kramer: “Topics in Multi-User Information Theory”, Foundations and Trends in Communications and Information Theory, vol. 4, nos. 4–5, pp. 265–444, 2007. (Link to electronic version)
  • Robert G. Gallager: “Information Theory and Reliable Communication,” Wiley, 1968.
  • Imre Csiszár, János Körner: “Information Theory: Coding Theorems for Discrete Memoryless Systems,” 3rd edition, Akademiai Kiado, Budapest.
  • Po-Ning Chen and Fady Alajaji: “Lecture Notes in Information Theory,” Volume I, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan. (Link to electronic version)
  • Po-Ning Chen and Fady Alajaji: “Lecture Notes in Information Theory,” Volume II, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Hsinchu, Taiwan. (Link to electronic version)
  • James L. Massey: “Applied Digital Information Theory I and II,” lecture notes, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland. (Link to electronic version)
  • Raymond W. Yeung: “A First Course in Information Theory,” Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2005.


Every week, an exercise will be distributed in class and also made available online for download. This exercise will consist of several problems that need to be solved at home and handed in during the class of the following week. A model solution will be distributed and made available online afterwards.

We believe the exercises to be extremely important and crucial to the understanding of the course. They also serve as a preparation for the mid-term and final exams and we therefore highly recommend to solve them. To pass the course you need to hand in at least 10 exercises.


There will be one mid-term and one final exam. The exact form (oral, written, etc.) will be decided in due time.


The grade will be an average of

  • the homework and class participation (15%),
  • the midterm exam (35%), and
  • the final exam (50%).

The grade of the homework will not be based on the correctness of the answers, but rather on the effort the student shows in trying to solve them. Moreover, I will try to reward students who participate actively in the course.

This course is worth 3 credits.

Special Remarks

The lecture will be held in English.

Time Table

Note that some details of this program might change in the course of the semester.

Note that some linked documents in this table can only be downloaded from within NCTU and NTHU!

W Date Topic Handouts Exercise (due on) Solutions Comments
1 22 Feb. Method of types Syllabus (Version 3) Exercise 1 (1 Mar.)   Chapter 11.1
  24 Feb. Method of types, some important inequalities Handout 1, Handout 2, Handout 3  
Chapter 11.1
2 1 Mar. Some important inequalities, large deviation theory: Sanov's theorem   Exercise 2 (8 Mar.)   Chapter 11.4–6
  3 Mar. Large deviation theory: conditional limit theorem     Solutions 1 Chapter 11.4–6
3 8 Mar. Conditional limit theorem, joint and conditional types   Exercise 3 (15 Mar.)   Chapter 11.6, 10.6
  10 Mar. Joint and conditional types     Solutions 2 Chapter 10.6
4 15 Mar. Strongly typical sets   Exercise 4 (22 Mar.)   Chapter 10.6
  17 Mar. Strongly typical sets     Solutions 3 Chapter 10.6
5 22 Mar. Strongly typical sets, rate distortion theory   Exercise 5 (29 Mar.)   Chapter 10.6
  24 Mar. Rate distortion theory     Solutions 4 Chapter 10
6 29 Mar. Rate distortion theory: converse   Exercise 6 (12 Apr.)   Chapter 10
  31 Mar. Rate distortion theory: converse     Solutions 5 Chapter 10
7 5 Apr. No lecture (Holiday)  
  7 Apr. Rate distortion theory: achievability    
Chapter 10
8 12 Apr. Rate distortion theory: Gaussian sources, characterization of rate distortion function   Exercise 7 (19 Apr.)   Chapter 10, Gallager
  14 Apr. Rate distortion theory: characterization of rate distortion function     Solutions 6 Chapter 10, Gallager
9 19 Apr. Error exponent for rate distortion function   Exercise 8 (3 May)   Csiszar
  21 Apr. Error exponent for rate distortion function     Solutions 7 Csiszar
10 26 Apr. Midterm Exam  
  28 Apr. Discussion exam, Multiple descriptions Handout 4  
Handout 4
11 3 May Multiple descriptions   Exercise 9 (10 May)   Handout 4
  5 May Multiple descriptions; Wyner–Ziv problem: rate distortion with side-information     Solutions 8 Handout 4, Chapter 15.9
12 10 May Wyner–Ziv problem: rate distortion with side-information   Exercise 10 (17 May)   Chapter 15.9
  12 May Wyner–Ziv problem: rate distortion with side-information     Solutions 9 Chapter 15.9
13 17 May Slepian–Wolf problem: distributed lossless compression   Exercise 11 (24 May)   Chapter 15.4
  19 May Multiple-Access Channel (MAC)     Solutions 10 Chapter 15.3 & 15.1
14 24 May Multiple-Access Channel (MAC)   Exercise 12 (31 May)   Chapter 15.3 & 15.1
  26 May Multiple-Access Channel (MAC)     Solutions 11 Chapter 15.3 & 15.1
15 31 May Gaussian MAC, transmission of correlated sources over a MAC   Exercise 13 (7 Jun.)    
  2 Jun. Gel'fand–Pinsker problem: channels with noncausal side-information     Solutions 12 Please fill out online class evaluation before 17 June!
16 7 Jun. Gel'fand–Pinsker problem: channels with noncausal side-information Handout 5
Handout 6
Exercise 14 (14 Jun.)    
  9 Jun. Gel'fand–Pinsker problem: channels with noncausal side-information     Solutions 13 Kramer
17 14 Jun. Broadcast channel   Exercise 15 (16 Jun.)   Kramer, Chapter 15.6
  16 Jun. Broadcast channel     Solutions 14,
Solutions 15
Chapter 15.6
18 21 Jun. Final Exam  
  23 Jun. Coffee time    

-||-   _|_ _|_     /    __|__   Stefan M. Moser
[-]     --__|__   /__\    /__   Senior Researcher & Lecturer, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
_|_     -- --|-    _     /  /   Adj. Professor, National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), Taiwan
/ \     []  \|    |_|   / \/    Web:

Last modified: Wed Jun 22 09:34:57 UTC+8 2011