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The problems arising in the modeling and coding of strings for compression purposes are discussed. The notion of an information source that simplifies and sharpens the traditional one is axiomatized, and adaptive and nonadaptive models are defined. With a measure of complexity assigned to the models, a fundamental theorem is proved which states that models that use any kind of alphabet extension are inferior to the best models using no alphabet extensions at all. A general class of so-called first-in first-out (FIFO) arithmetic codes is described which require no alphabet extension devices and which therefore can be used in conjunction with the best models. Because the coding parameters are the probabilities that define the model, their design is easy, and the application of the code is straightforward even with adaptively changing source models.
Date of Publication: Jan 1981