The following applet allows you to simulate the Shannon experiment. Start typing on the keyboard your guesses for the first letter of the sentence. When you type the correct letter, the letter will appear in that position and the number of guesses will be displayed underneath it. Go on to guess the next letter in the same manner. You should press the space bar when you believe that a word has ended. Note that at the bottom of the Applet the letters of the alphabet and space appear in blue. When you guess a letter incorrectly, the computer helps you keep track of your guesses by erasing those letters from the alphabet.
When the sentence is complete or when you tire of guessing
letters and click on Entropy, the computer will output the estimate
of the entropy that results from this particular experiment.
Perhaps we should mention that large scale experiments of this kind yield that
the amount of information we gain when we learn a letter of English, within
a sentence, is aproximately 1.1 bits. We should also mention
that in a classroom of about 60 students, with everybody venturing
guesses for each next letter, we consistently obtained a value of
about 1.6 bits for the estimate of the entropy.
[Back| Home| Programs| Documentation| Internet| People]