Interactive information theory (12w5119)


(University of British Columbia)

(University of Illinois at Chicago)

(University of Toronto)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Interactive information theory" workshop from January 15th to January 20th, 2012.

In the 60-odd years of information theory, the dominant focus and most successes have emerged in ``one-way'' problems in which information flows in a single direction. When information flows in two-directions, not only does establishing the fundamental limits of communication become more challenging due to the interactive or two-way nature of the problems, but the need for new ``directional'' information metrics themselves arise. As a result, due to their difficulty, interactive communication problems have received less attention and are less well understood than more classical one way problems. This is unfortunate, as interactive problems come closer to modeling true communication than do one-way models: in a human conversational dialogue, we naturally adapt our speed, tone, and content to account for the other party's reactions in a fully interactive fashion rather than speak in monologues. Communicating two-way data by treating it as two one-way data flows ignores the ability of a communication system to adapt to the received messages, to have the terminals {it interact}. An interactive model and theory for communication is not only more relevant and general, but also of immediate use in current and future applications such as distributed data storage in data centers and two-way video-conferencing, tele-presence and tele-medicine applications. In the past years, significant progress in network coding, on interactive function computation and compression, interference management, particularly in two-way relaying scenarios, and a renewed interest in feedback and directed information and its applications, have given information theory new insight into interactive problems; various disconnected pieces of the interactive communication puzzle have emerged in different areas, what remains to be done is to piece them together. The time is ripe for a meeting bringing together active young and established experts in interactive communication to exchange recent results and determine promising avenues to tackle the fundamental problem of interactive communications.

This workshop will bring together experts from three areas of information theory: source coding, channel coding, and directed information metrics and applications, who all have a particular focus on interactive communication models. Our goal is to facilitate the exchange of mathematical tools and ideas in order to make significant headway on open problems in two-way information theory; this will be done by structuring the workshop as follows: 1) One hour tutorial talks on classical results in the three areas will allow those in other areas to make connections and in the hope of shedding new light onto the challenges,

2) recent research results will presented in a series of 1/2 hour talks, and 3) all participants will be asked to bring and present at least one focused and formulated open problem along with past methods of attack, to the group. The open problems sessions, together with ample time to meet in groups between talks and sessions and BIRS' isolated and serene atmosphere will promote casual yet energetic collaborations.

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).