Information theory and statistics for large alphabets (11w5127)


(Yale University)

(University of California, San Diego)

(University of Hawaii, Manoa)

Balazs Szegedy (Alfred Renyi Institute)

Krishnamurthy Viswanathan (HP Labs)

Aaron Wagner (Cornell University)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Information theory and statistics for large alphabets" workshop from October 23rd to October 28th, 2011.

How likely is the sun to not rise tomorrow? What is the probability of a nuclear armageddon? These
questions are difficult to answer as they ask about events so rare, they are seldom observed.

A Banff International Research Station (BIRS) workshop focuses on the general question of how to make predictions using small amounts of data. The participants represent a diverse set of mathematical backgrounds, and will explore recently-uncovered connections between this problem, data compression, and certain problems
in probability theory. A better understanding of these connections could lead to new mathematical analysis tool for problems such as web search and even deciphering how information is encoded in the human brain.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).