Author: Ming Li
School of Computer Science
University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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
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