Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Historically, information theory was developed to find fundamental limits on compressing and reliably communicating data. Since its inception it has broadened to find applications in many other areas, including statistical inference, natural language processing, cryptography generally, networks other than communication networks -- as in neurobiology, the evolution and function of molecular codes, model selection in ecology, thermal physics, quantum computing, plagiarism detection and other forms of data analysis.
A key measure of information in the theory is known as information entropy, which is usually expressed by the average number of bits needed for storage or communication. Intuitively, entropy quantifies the uncertainty involved when encountering a random variable. For example, a fair coin flip will have less entropy than a roll of