### May 2011

Monthly Archive

May 29, 2011

Posted by Anand Sarwate under

Uncategorized | Tags:

information theory |

1 Comment
May 25, 2011

I just got a rejection from the CS department at Brown, and they sadly neglected to Bcc the recipients, so I now know that they rejected 362 people in one fell swoop. Just glancing through the addresses I recognized several of the recipients. I think, based on my limited expertise in privacy-preserving algorithms, that this is pretty much satisfies the Dinur-Nissim definition of blatant non-privacy: if there are applicants, I have reconstructed of them, since I can’t imagine that they would interview more than . Ok that was a little more nerdy than I intended. I do think that they deserve a wag of the finger.

**Update:** I just got a followup saying that the sender “would like to recall the message…” Alas, no.

**Update 2:** Another followup came in saying to “please ignore and delete” the previous message. Does this mean I still have a chance?!? (Again, alas, no).

May 23, 2011

I never knew Jell-O could be so graceful.

I kind of like this version of Take Five from Sachal Music.

Sometimes the Library of Congress does awesome things. This jukebox is up there.

I wouldn’t have believed before that there is money in a bannass stand, but I could be wrong.

The clarity in this press nugget leaves a lot to be desired. The statement “the trio has found a way to determine the smallest number of nodes that must be externally controlled to force a given network from any initial state to any desired final state,” is so vague! The full article is here. It turns out they are looking at a linear control problem where the different elements of the state are related via a graph matched to and you want the input to only be nonzero on a subset of the nodes. Thanks to Ann Wehman for the pointer.

May 20, 2011

I have been reading Ahlswede’s paper on *An Elementary Proof of the Strong Converse Theorem for the Multiple-access Channel*, J. Combinatorics, Information and System Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 3, 216-230. The preprint is here but I have a scanned version of the journal version thanks to the intrepid UC Libraries staff — they are a great resource!

(more…)

May 20, 2011

By now, many of those in the Information Theory community have probably heard that Jack Wolf passed away last week. I didn’t get much of a chance to interact with Prof. Wolf during my time here at UCSD, but every time I did talk to him he was very warm and welcoming. He will really be missed.

May 15, 2011

Posted by Anand Sarwate under

Uncategorized | Tags:

academia,

publishing |

[2] Comments
I am revising a paper now and one of the reviewers sent their comments as a PDF what looked like a Word document or RTF containing the LaTeX, rather than a rendered version. So it was a little annoying to read, what with all of the $’s and so on. The beauty of it was that I could just cut and paste from the PDF into my document of responses to the reviewers without having to reformat and it (almost) rendered without a hitch. There were some lingering issues though with quotation marks (I hate smart quotes) and itemizing/enumerating lists.

As a recommendation, I think that the raw .tex file of the review should be uploaded instead. That will make it much easier for the authors to revise, no? I plan on doing this in the future. What do you do?

May 11, 2011

I am reading this nice paper by Harsha et al on *The Communication Complexity of Correlation* and some of their results rely on the following cute lemma (slightly reworded).

Let and be two distributions on a finite set such that the KL-divergence . Then there exists a sampling procedure which, when given a sequence of samples drawn i.i.d. according to , will output (with probability 1) an index such that the sample is distributed according to the distribution and the expected encoding length of the index is at most

where the expectation is taken over the sample sequence and the internal randomness of the procedure.

So what is the procedure? It’s a rejection sampler that does the following. First set for all and set as well. Then for each do the following:

- Output with probability .

Ok, so what is going on here? It turns out that is tracking the probability that the procedure halts at with (this is not entirely clear at first). Thus is the probability that we halted before time and the sample is , and is the probability that we halt at time . Thus is the probability that the procedure gets to step . Getting back to , we see that with probability and we halt with probability , so indeed, is the probability that we halt at time with .

What we want then is that . So how should we define ? It’s the minimum of two terms : in order to stop at time such that , the factor is at most . However, we don’t want to let exceed the target probability , so must be less than . The authors say that in this sense the procedure is greedy, since it tries to get as close to as it can.

In order to show that the sampling is correct, i.e. that the output distribution is , we want to show what . This follows by induction. To get a bound on the description length of the output index, they have to show that

.

This is an interesting little fact on its own. It comes out because

and then expanding out .

One example application of this Lemma in the paper is the following problem of simulation. Suppose Alice and Bob share an unlimited amount of common randomness. Alice has some drawn according to and wants Bob to generate a according to the distribution . So ideally, have joint distribution . They can both generate a sequence of common according to the marginal distribution of . Then Alice tries to generate the distribution according to this sampling scheme and sends the index to Bob, who chooses the corresponding . How many bits does Alice have to send on average? It’s just

.

which, after some love from Jensen’s inequality, turns out to be upper bounded by

.

Pretty cute, eh?

May 7, 2011

Posted by Anand Sarwate under

Uncategorized | Tags:

music,

self-ind |

1 Comment
San Diego folks : I’m singing in another concert next weekend! We’re only doing the < 10 minute piece *Friede Auf Erden* by Schoenberg, but there’s the spoonful of sugar that is Beethoven 5 to help the decayed remnants of late-Romantic harmonics go down smoothly…

Victory Through Peace

Orchestra Nova San Diego

Jung-Ho Pak, conductor

- Symphony No. 5
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Egmont Overture
- Ludwig van Beethoven
- Peace on Earth
- Arnold Schoenberg
- Featuring SACRA/PROFANA, dir. Krishan Oberoi
- Ascent to Victory
- Nancy Bloomer Deussen

Friday, May 13, 2011 – 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 2728 Sixth Avenue San Diego, CA

Saturday, May 14, 2011 – 7:30 p.m. at the Irwin M. Jacobs Qualcomm Hall, 5775 Morehouse Drive, San Diego, CA

Monday, May 16, 2011 – 7:30 p.m. at Sherwood Auditorium, 700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA

Ticket prices depend on venue.

May 1, 2011

I’m heading off to Mexico in less than 12 hours for a week during which I hope to disconnect : no email, web, or phone. I guess I’ll miss the majority of the post-Bin Laden news cycle. In the meantime, here are some more links because I am too lazy to post content.

Speaking of 9/11, this is simply terrible.

An interview with George Saunders, one of my favorite authors.

Blackwell’s proof of Wald’s Identity, as told by Max.

Long pepper looks fascinating and tasty!

Can Voter ID Laws Be Administered in a Race-Neutral Manner? The short answer is no. The longer answer is a 30 page paper.

Frank has blogger about our trip last weekend to The 2nd 8th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational. My arteries may never be the same again.

There are no more typewriter factories. This makes me especially sad, as I have a 1914 Underwood No. 5 that I love (and lug).