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Information Theory, Inference and Learning Algorithms

MacKay, David J.C. - Finished Nov 04, 2016

Run-on Sentence Summary

A fresh and entertaining textbook that walks through the fundamentals of information theory and machine learning.


Mackay’s prose is fast paced but lucid, and perfect for a self learner. Often when reading CS textbooks, I’ll skim over problems because I can’t be bothered to spin up whatever boilerplate they want me to download off of the website, but this book did a great job of highlighting specific, achievable, and instructive problems and providing detailed solutions.

The book is highly geared towards information theoretic and probability concepts. The section on machine learning, as many others have noted, uses a funky approach and perhaps isn’t the best introductory text in retrospect. Still, every chapter builds organically on those coming before and it is better than the sum of its parts.

Final Thoughts

This is one of the most challenging, rewarding and entertaining textbooks I’ve read.

Favorite Quote

Oops, didn’t write down a quote before shipping this book back home. Textbooks are annoying to backpack with.