Notation — A Formal Excursion
Alphabet Encoding


What is communication? Although covering the general literature about communication theory is beyond the scope of this short paragraph, we will nevertheless make a short excursion to one of the approaches taken around the middle of the 20th century on this topic. The seminal paper by Claude Shannon outlines an approach to A formal theory of communication The key ingredients are senders, encoders, signals, decoders, receivers and noise. We have used Shannons 1948 paper as a starting point to investigate certain aspects of communication, as it has been abstracted in that theory.

The Game

As part of a communication game we have split up into two groups, each of which tries to efficiently communicate some information. In our case we considered the English alphabet as the source of information that ought to be transmitted. So each party had to encode the letters of the alphabet as efficiently as possible. Here we opted for a binary encoding, which is convenient for computer-readible signals. The encoding is achieved via a binary decision tree, meaning that each group has to construct a series of yes-or-no questions that uniquely single out each letter of the alphabet.

Encoding length :
A Formal Excursion