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Biological Information as Set-Based Complexity

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5 Author(s)
Galas, D.J. ; Inst. for Syst. Biol., Seattle, WA, USA ; Nykter, M. ; Carter, G.W. ; Price, N.D.
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The significant and meaningful fraction of all the potential information residing in the molecules and structures of living systems is unknown. Sets of random molecular sequences or identically repeated sequences, for example, would be expected to contribute little or no useful information to a cell. This issue of quantitation of information is important since the ebb and flow of biologically significant information is essential to our quantitative understanding of biological function and evolution. Motivated specifically by these problems of biological information, a class of measures is proposed to quantify the contextual nature of the information in sets of objects, based on Kolmogorov's intrinsic complexity. Such measures discount both random and redundant information and are inherent in that they do not require a defined state space to quantify the information. The maximization of this new measure, which can be formulated in terms of the universal information distance, appears to have several useful and interesting properties, some of which we illustrate with examples.

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Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:56 ,  Issue: 2 )