Information and Life

Authors: Battail, Gérard

  • Based on the engineers' experience, defines information as an abstract entity which can interact with the physical world
  • Popularizes information theory and error-correcting codes in order to make them usable by researchers in life sciences
  • Shows that heredity and biological evolution cannot be understood unless genomes are endowed with some kind of error-correcting codes
  • Shows how life results from the interaction of information with physical entities
see more benefits

Buy this book

eBook $149.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-007-7040-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $189.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-7039-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $189.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-9335-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Communication, one of the most important functions of life, occurs at any spatial scale from the molecular one up to that of populations and ecosystems, and any time scale from that of fast chemical reactions up to that of geological ages. Information theory, a mathematical science of communication initiated by Shannon in 1948, has been very successful in engineering, but biologists ignore it.

This book aims at bridging this gap. It proposes an abstract definition of information based on the engineers' experience which makes it usable in life sciences. It expounds information theory and error-correcting codes, its by-products, as simply as possible. Then, the fundamental biological problem of heredity is examined. It is shown that biology does not adequately account for the conservation of genomes during geological ages, which can be understood only if it is assumed that genomes are made resilient to casual errors by proper coding. Moreover, the good conservation of very old parts of genomes, like the HOX genes, implies that the assumed genomic codes have a nested structure which makes an information the more resilient to errors, the older it is.

The consequences that information theory draws from these hypotheses meet very basic but yet unexplained biological facts, e.g., the existence of successive generations, that of discrete species and the trend of evolution towards complexity. Being necessarily inscribed on physical media, information appears as a bridge between the abstract and the concrete. Recording, communicating and using information exclusively occur in the living world. Information is thus coextensive with life and delineates the border between the living and the inanimate.

Reviews

From the book reviews:

“This book deals with information theory and life sciences. … The readership of this book is mathematicians/information theorists/communications engineers who are interested in biology, and biologists who want to apply information theory to biology.” (Yûichirô Kakihara, Mathematical Reviews, July, 2014)

Table of contents (11 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Battail, Gérard

    Pages 1-8

  • What is Information?

    Battail, Gérard

    Pages 11-32

  • Basic Principles of Communication Engineering

    Battail, Gérard

    Pages 33-49

  • Information Theory as the Science of Literal Communication

    Battail, Gérard

    Pages 51-92

  • Channel Capacity and Channel Coding

    Battail, Gérard

    Pages 93-131

Buy this book

eBook $149.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-94-007-7040-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $189.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-7039-3
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $189.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-94-007-9335-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Loading...

Recommended for you

Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Information and Life
Authors
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
eBook ISBN
978-94-007-7040-9
DOI
10.1007/978-94-007-7040-9
Hardcover ISBN
978-94-007-7039-3
Softcover ISBN
978-94-007-9335-4
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIV, 260
Topics