A Mathematical Theory of Communication is an influential 1948 article by mathematician Claude E. Shannon. It was renamed “The Mathematical Theory of Communication” in the book, a small but significant title change after realizing the generality of this work.
The article was one of the founding works of the field of information theory. Shannon expanded the ideas of this article in a 1949 book with Warren Weaver titled The Mathematical Theory of Communication (ISBN 0-252-72546-8). The book was released as a paperback in 1963 (ISBN 0-252-72546-4).
The article was divided up into 3 levels of communication problems.These problems were: 1) technical, 2) semantic, and 3) influential.
First the book briefly explains how the symbols of communication are transmitted, then how the transmitted symbols convey meaning, and lastly the effect of the received meaning. Shannon’s article laid out the basic elements of communication:
- An information source that produces a message
- A transmitter that operates on the message to create a signal which can be sent through a channel
- A channel, which is the medium over which the signal, carrying the information that composes the message, is sent
- A receiver, which transforms the signal back into the message intended for delivery
- A destination, which can be a person or a machine, for whom or which the message is intended
Here’s a link to the original article: A Mathematical Theory of Communication hosted by Bell Labs
The article/book contains numerous diagrams which may look familiar to the machine graphics used in the show:
According to info on bookfinder.com, a 1949 first edition of the book with dust jacket will set you back about $600-$1000.
Also of interest, Shannon went on to become an MIT professor and a pioneer of cryptography and artificial intelligence. Shannon was also noted as an eccentric, e.g., riding his unicycle through the hallways and collecting automata.