Information Distance And Its Extensions
(invited lecture for DS 2011)

Author: Ming Li

Affiliation: School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Abstract. Consider, in the most general sense, the space of all information carrying objects: a book, an article, a name, a definition, a genome, a letter, an image, an email, a webpage, a Google query, an answer, a movie, a music score, a Facebook blog, a short message, or even an abstract concept. Over the past 20 years, we have been developing a general theory of information distance in this space and applications of this theory. The theory is object-independent and application-independent. The theory is also unique, in the sense that no other theory is ``better''. During the past 10 years, such a theory has found many applications. Recently we have introduced two extensions to this theory concerning multiple objects and irrelevant information. This expository article will focus on explaining the main ideas behind this theory, especially these recent extensions, and their applications. We will also discuss some very preliminary applications.

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