Information and Coding Theory
M460, Spring 2019

Professor: Dr. Rachel Pries
e-mail: pries ATSYMBOL math DOT colostate DOT edu
web page:
office: Weber 205A, office hours: Wed 11-12, Th 1-2, or by appointment.

Lecture: MWF 9:00-9:50, Eng E104.

Tentative syllabus:

Homework assignments:

Course description:
Information theory and error-correcting codes are fundamentally important for data transmission and storage. In this course, we will use probability to study entropy, which measures the uncertainty of a random variable and is used for lossless encoding and compression of data. We will study error-correcting codes using number theory and linear algebra. Error-correcting codes are ubiquitous in modern society; they are used for many applications including cell phone and satellites.

Prerequisite: M360 and M369 or equivalent experience.


Texts: We will use the following free textbooks:
Notes on Coding Theory, by J. Hall.

We will use the following books, which are freely available to CSU students through SpringerLink:

step 1: go to the CSU library page CSU library page or (on-campus only?) .
step 2: in the almost everything box, type in keywords (e.g., Betten and Linear and Codes) and click the search icon.
step 3: click on the item, look for full text available, and download.

primary: Betten et al, Error-Correcting Linear Codes,
Springer, Algorithms and Computation in Mathematics, volume 18

secondary: Bremaud, Discrete probability models and methods,
Springer, Probability Theory and Stochastic Modeling, volume 78

Website: Error correcting codes

Grading: The course grades will be computed as follows:
15% homework; 20% midterm 1; 20% midterm 2; 15% project, 30% final.
Borderline grades will be decided on the basis of class participation.

Homework and group work: About 8 assignments. Homework is the most important part of this class. Doing homework problems is crucial for doing well in this class. The process of doing homework will help you solve unfamiliar problems on the tests. The homework problems will help you develop skills in algebraic computation and logical reasoning. The grader will only grade homework which is neat, legible, and stapled. I encourage you to brainstorm the problems in groups and write up your solutions independently.

Project: There are many important topics in Information and Coding Theory which we will not have time to cover fully. Each person will write an 2-4 page report and make a poster. This gives everyone a chance to explore a topic in a new way.

Examinations: There will be two midterms in class on Wednesday 2/20 and Wednesday 3/27. The project is due TBA, approximately Wednesday 5/1.

The final is Tuesday May 14, 7:30-9:30 am. There are no makeups for missed exams, regardless of the reason for absence. You must take the final examination at this time scheduled by the university; no final exams will be given earlier. Examinations will not be rescheduled because of travel arrangements. It is your responsibility to schedule travel appropriately.

CSU Honor Pledge: Academic integrity is important to me. Paraphrasing the words of Greg Dickinson, Director of Graduate Studies; Professor, Dept. of Communication Studies:
Plagiarism is the unauthorized or unacknowledged use of a person's academic or scholarly work. Regardless of how it occurs, plagiarism is a theft of intellectual property.
Academic integrity means having a true educational experience. It involves doing your own reading and studying. It includes regular class attendance, careful consideration of all class materials, and engagement with the class and other students. Academic integrity lies at the core of our common goal: to create an intellectually honest and rigorous community.
Because academic integrity is so central to our mission as students, teachers, scholars, and citizens, we will ask you (but not require you) to sign the CSU Honor Pledge when completing all major assignments.
"I have not given, received, or used any unauthorized assistance."
If you plagiarize in your work you could lose credit for the plagiarized work, fail the assignment, or fail the course. Each instance of plagiarism, classroom cheating, and other types of academic dishonesty will be addressed according to the principles published in the CSU General Catalog (see page seven, column two:

Help: Help is always available if you have trouble with homework or lecture material. If your classmates can't answer your question, come ask me! Office hours are Wed 10-11, Thurs 1-2 or by appointment, in Weber 205A.