[e2e] [SPAM] Re: a means to an end

David P. Reed dpreed at reed.com
Wed Nov 12 13:44:35 PST 2008

No, information is not the uncertainty in the outcome of an event (not 
least because that puts information as a "future" thing).  It's related 
to the number of possible states of a system as a whole.   Decomposing 
the state of a system into the state of parts (needed to assign a 
location to some piece of information) must be done carefully, because 
the states of parts may have invariant relationships, which reduce the 
number of states, and create the illusion of information where there is 

E.g.: the states of atoms that make up a one-bit storage cell typically 
are highly correlated.  Thus the cell contains a single bit of 
information, whereas the individual atoms contain no bits (or more 
properly, they contain contingent information, of the sort that the 
"majority" talks about).

Similarly, the "temperature" of a mole of gas expresses a bounded number 
of bits of information, and that information is neither an event nor a 
place, and is not independent of the "pressure" and "volume" of the gas, 
each of which is dependent on the other.

The general term "information" has no place.

Joe Touch wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> David P. Reed wrote:
>> It is fundamentally wrong to say that *information* exists at a place.  
>> Storage exists at a place.
>> A bit of information is fundamentally distinct in category and reality
>> from a bit of storage.  Only computer scientists are so confused and
>> deluded as to think that information and storage container are the same
>> thing.
> Information is the uncertainty of an outcome of an event. That event is
> typically the interpretation of one or more symbols, those symbols are
> tangeable, and have a location.
> This computer scientist didn't say anything about storage.
> Joe
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