# message

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## message

1. a formal communiqu?
2. an inspired communication of a prophet or religious leader
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

## Message

in information theory, something conveying information. Information theory is interested only in the quantitative aspect of the information contained in a message.

The concept of a message in information theory has an essentially probabilistic character. Each source of information, or message source, can be specified by listing the possible messages and their corresponding probabilities. Suppose x1, x2, . . . . , xn are the possible messages and p1, p2, . . . . , pn are the corresponding probabilities. The information content of message xi is then taken as equal to - log2pi. An important quantity characterizing a source is the source’s entropy, which is the average information content of the messages from the source. The entropy is thus equal to

It is the magnitude of the entropy that governs the possibility of transmitting and storing the messages produced by the source.

As an example, let us consider a message source that consists of A’ successive measurements of a physical quantity that is uniformly distributed over the interval from 0 to 1. Furthermore, suppose the measurements are accurate to the nearest 0.1. The possible results of the individual measurements can then be regarded as the numbers 0.1, 0.2, . . . , 0.9. The probability of the occurrence of each number is 0.1. The messages in this example are represented by N-term sequences of digits. The probability of each message is (0.1)N. The information content of each message and the entropy of the source are equal to N log210 = 3.32A7 binary digits. The message source in this example can be said to be a random sequence of decimal digits of length N. The message sources considered in information theory are of such a form—random sequences of symbols—or, more generally, the form of stochastic processes.

When specific types of messages are studied, such as written texts, telephone signals, telegraph signals, or television signals, an approximate probabilistic model is constructed for the message source. For example, a complex Markov chain can be used for written Russian with sufficient accuracy for the purposes of information theory. Stationary stochastic processes are used as models for continuous messages. The construction of such models is based on extensive statistical data pertaining to the processes under consideration.

IU. V. PROKHOROV

## message

[′mes·ij]
(communications)
A series of words or symbols, transmitted with the intention of conveying information.
(computer science)
An arbitrary amount of information with beginning and end defined or implied: usually, it originates in one place and is intended to be transmitted to another place.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

## message

Any thought or idea expressed briefly in a plain, coded, or secret language and is prepared in a form suitable for transmission by any means of communication.

## message

In object-oriented programming sending a message to an object (to invoke a method) is equivalent to calling a procedure in traditional programming languages, except that the actual code executed may only be selected at run time depending on the class of the object. Thus, in response to the message "drawSelf", the method code invoked would be different if the target object were a circle or a square.

## message

(1) (noun) Any data transmitted over a network. Just as a program becomes a "job" when it runs in the computer, data becomes a "message" when it is transmitted. See communications protocol, email, text messaging and instant messaging.

(2) (verb) To send a message. For example, "message me" means send me a text or instant message. See text messaging and instant messaging.

(3) In object technology, communicating between objects, similar to a function call in traditional programming.
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References in classic literature ?
"I had almost forgot a message I have for you, my son.
"This be over close to the Castle Torn and there may easily be more treachery than truth in the message which called thee thither."
It is more than likely that Porlock took his message from the old one.
I was staring at the strange message which I had scrawled, as he deciphered it, upon a sheet of foolscap on my knee.
This was the famous "Room Nine." By such and many other allurements a larger idea of telephone service was given to the public mind; until in 1909 at least eighteen thousand New York-Chicago conversa- tions were held, and the revenue from strictly long-distance messages was twenty-two thousand dollars a day.
"But that whole message is the dictate of your own heart," Chris cried.
"But you don't mean to tell me that you really believe that this is a message from the dead?" he interrupted.
"Three days later a message was left scrawled upon paper, and placed under a pebble upon the sundial.
We must do as Christ did; that is the message of the Church today.
And to him, Bassett, had been vouchsafed the lordly fortune to be the first to receive this message from man's interstellar kin!
Clements at once confided her errand to him, and entreated that he would help to allay Anne's anxiety by trusting his message to her.
Now, it wasn't likely that Dorothy would be looking for wireless messages or would heed the call; but one thing the Historian was sure of, and that was that the powerful Sorceress, Glinda, would know what he was doing and that he desired to communicate with Dorothy.

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