The lecture by our former member Bernat Corominas-Murtra, now IST Austria, will take place at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna.
Is it the same a reliable transmission than a copy? This question, apparently superficial, turns out to be strikingly deep, and shakes the foundations of information theory: No measure explicitly accounting for the amount of bits copied in a given information exchange is part of the standard body of information theory. However, a general inspection of the modes of information transfer tells us that information can be transmitted in two qualitatively different
ways: by copying or by transformation. Copying occurs when messages are transmitted without modification, e.g., when an offspring receives an unaltered copy of a gene from its parent.
Transformation occurs when messages are modified systematically during transmission, e.g., when mutational biases occur during genetic replication. Standard information-theoretic measures do not distinguish these two modes of information transfer, although they may reflect different mechanisms and have different functional consequences. Starting from a few simple axioms, I will show a decomposition of mutual information into the information transmitted by copying versus the information transmitted by transformation. In addition, I will show how copy information can be interpreted as the minimal work needed by a physical copying process, which is relevant for understanding the physics of replication. The presented results apply to any system in which the fidelity of copying, rather than simple predictability, is of critical relevance. This includes genetic replication, animal communication, unsupervised machine learning or the evolution of artificial codes.
If you are interested in participating, please email to firstname.lastname@example.org.