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The Scientific Conceptualization of Information: A Survey

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129467D
Original Publication Date: 1985-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

WILLIAM ASPRAY: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The article surveys the development of a scientific conceptualization of information during and in the decade following World War II. It examines the roots of information science in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century mathematical logic, physics, psychology, and electrical engineering, and then focuses on how Warren McCulloch, Walter Pitts, Claude Shannon, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and Norbert Wiener combined these diverse studies into a coherent discipline.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1985 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The Scientific Conceptualization of Information: A Survey

WILLIAM ASPRAY

  (Image Omitted: © 1985 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's Address: Charles Babbage Institute, 104 Walter Library, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN 55455. © 1985 AFIPS 0164-1239/85/020117- i40

The Scientific Conceptualization of Information: A Survey

WILLIAM ASPRAY .00/00)

The article surveys the development of a scientific conceptualization of information during and in the decade following World War II. It examines the roots of information science in nineteenth- and early twentieth-century mathematical logic, physics, psychology, and electrical engineering, and then focuses on how Warren McCulloch, Walter Pitts, Claude Shannon, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, and Norbert Wiener combined these diverse studies into a coherent discipline.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: E.4 [Coding and Information Theory]; F. 1 [Computation by Abstract Devices]: Models of Computation, Modes of Computation; F.4. 1 [Mathematical Logic and formal Languages]: Mathematical Logic -- computability theory, recursive function theory; H.
1.1 {Models and Principles]: Systems and Information Theory -- information theory; K. 2 [History of Computing1 -- people General Terms: Theory Additional Key Words and Phrases: W. McCulloch, W. Pitts, C. Shannon, A. Turing, J. von Neumann, N. Wiener

Modern scholarship has tended to equate the history of information processing with the history of computing machinery. Because of the phenomenal growth of a new generation of more powerful machines every few years, other important events in information-processing history have been overshadowed. One such event is the scientific conceptualization of information that occurred during and in the decade following World War II. In that period a small group of mathematically oriented scientists developed a theory of information and information processing. For the first time, information became a precisely defined concept amenable to scientific study. Information was given the status of a physical parameter, such as entropy, which could be quantified11 and examined using mathematical tools. Around this concept grew a number of research areas involving study of both machines and living organisms. They included the mathematical theory of communication, mathematical modeling of th...