Hamming and information theory

If you don’t know what an error-correcting code is, or you have never heard of Richard Hamming, this retrospective on Hamming codes and early information theory is a nice read. The details of how these codes allow the integrity of the message’s contents to be verified are left unexplored, but I’m not sure how many people are aware that these types of integrity checks are possible and built into communication technologies. My personally strongest associate with the content, though, is taking my subject GREs about this time of year and reaching a question that simply asked me the Hamming distance between two binary strings – something that I distressingly hadn’t come across in my classes at that point. Fortunately, NIST can help you out with a definition.

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