Skip to Main Content
Complexity distortion theory (CDT) is a mathematical framework providing a unifying perspective on media representation. The key component of this theory is the substitution of the decoder in Shannon's classical communication model with a universal Turing machine. Using this model, the mathematical framework for examining the efficiency of coding schemes is the algorithmic or Kolmogorov (1965) complexity. CDT extends this framework to include distortion by defining the complexity distortion function. We show that despite their different natures, CDT and rate distortion theory (RDT) predict asymptotically the same results, under stationary and ergodic assumptions. This closes the circle of representation models, from probabilistic models of information proposed by Shannon in information and rate distortion theories, to deterministic algorithmic models, proposed by Kolmogorov in Kolmogorov complexity theory and its extension to lossy source coding, CDT.