Fundamental Problems of Information Studies

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489). This special issue belongs to the section "Information Theory and Methodology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2025 | Viewed by 18334

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of Business, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Interests: cognitive computing; distributed computing; self-managing workloads
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As with any scientific area of great significance, information studies have a variety of fundamental problems, such as reaching a consensus regarding the definition of information, elaborating on efficient and flexible information measures, forming the correct relations between information, data, and knowledge, and elaborating on an adequate typology of information.

Recently, a large, scientific congress, the Summit of the International Society for Study of Information (IS4SI), took place, consisting of several conferences and workshops. One of these was the conference “Theoretical and Foundational Problems in Information Studies”. Its participants came from 33 countries representing all 6 inhabited continents. At this conference, presentations of important discoveries and their applications to information technology were made. Many speakers discussed how we evolve our current information technologies to become highly efficient, resilient, and intelligent just as "life processes" evolved from single-celled organisms to human societies that developed such evolved concepts as good, evil, religion, justice, trade, arts, science, technology, and culture. The first article in this Special Issue by one of the presenters from that conference proposes a new approach to evolve current state-of-the-art information technologies using the results derived from the general theory of information. There are other papers that are currently being peer-reviewed and will appear online soon.

The goal of the Special Issue is to present recent research aimed at solving the fundamental problems of information studies. We are soliciting papers that advance our knowledge and assist us in evolving our current understanding of information technologies. Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously. Authors of invited papers should be aware that the final submitted manuscript must provide a minimum of 50% new content and not exceed 30% copy/paste from the Proceedings paper. The current deadline for paper submission is 30th June 2022.

Our goal is to make the published Special Issue of the journal Information the starting point for next-generation computer scientists and information technology professionals to evolve our understanding and application of information processing structures.

Dr. Rao Mikkilineni
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Information theory
  • Information philosophy
  • Information methodology
  • Communication theory
  • Algorithmic information
  • Evolutionary information
  • Information measure
  • Information typology
  • Information technology
  • Information system
  • Theory of knowledge,
  • Cognition, complexity
  • Theory of algorithms
  • Schema theory
  • Theory of computing
  • Information ethics
  • Ecology
  • Information structure
  • Information measure
  • Information evaluation
  • Decision making, knowledge management
  • system theory

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 338 KiB  
Article
Keeping the Spirit in the Bottle: On Pathological Reduction of Information in Totalitarianism
by Kirill Postoutenko
Information 2023, 14(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14010024 - 30 Dec 2022
Viewed by 1488
Abstract
This article begins with disputing the teleologically charged notion of unstoppable information growth, pointing at the alternation of informational contraction and expansion in open dynamic systems. Narrowing the focus, it turns to the 20th century totalitarian systems as particularly paradoxical informational environments: Being [...] Read more.
This article begins with disputing the teleologically charged notion of unstoppable information growth, pointing at the alternation of informational contraction and expansion in open dynamic systems. Narrowing the focus, it turns to the 20th century totalitarian systems as particularly paradoxical informational environments: Being less capable of processing information than their democratic counterparts and therefore more vulnerable to overloads, they are particularly prone to suppressing informational transmission in some areas, codes and media. Dilution and conflation are singled out as the most common ways of lessening the informational value of communication in totalitarian societies. Whereas the first greatly increases the ratios of signs to messages and messages to interactions, causing redundancy and semantic inflation, the second rolls back preexisting functional differentiations (person vs. social role, sender vs. message, message vs. information etc.) within societies and their communicative system. It is argued that both attempts at semantic impoverishment of public communication in totalitarianism lead to the pathological states, failing to reduce the overall amount of information within the systems in question and precipitating the very informational explosions they were designed to prevent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamental Problems of Information Studies)
10 pages, 251 KiB  
Article
Is Information Physical and Does It Have Mass?
by Mark Burgin and Rao Mikkilineni
Information 2022, 13(11), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/info13110540 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 7935
Abstract
Some researchers suggest that information is a form of matter, calling it the fifth state of matter or the fifth element. Recent results from the general theory of information (GTI) contradict this. This paper aims to explain and prove that the claims of [...] Read more.
Some researchers suggest that information is a form of matter, calling it the fifth state of matter or the fifth element. Recent results from the general theory of information (GTI) contradict this. This paper aims to explain and prove that the claims of adherents of the physical nature of information are inaccurate due to the confusion between the definitions of information, the matter that represents information, and the matter that is a carrier of information. Our explanations and proofs are based on the GTI because it gives the most comprehensive definition of information, encompassing and clarifying many of the writings in the literature about information. GTI relates information, knowledge, matter, and energy, and unifies the theories of material and mental worlds using the world of structures. According to GTI, information is not physical by itself, although it can have physical and/or mental representations. Consequently, a bit of information does not have mass, but the physical structure that represents the bit indeed has mass. Moreover, the same bit can have multiple representations in the form of a physical substance (e.g., a symbol on a paper or a state of a flip-flop circuit, or an electrical voltage or current pulse.) Naturally, these different physical representations can have different masses, although the information is the same. Thus, our arguments are not against Landauer’s principle or the empirical results of Vopson and other adherents of the physical nature of the information. These arguments are aimed at the clarification of the theoretical and empirical interpretations of these results. As the references in this paper show, recently many publications in which it is claimed that information is a physical essence appeared. That is why it is so important to elucidate the true nature of information and its relation to the physical world eliminating the existing misconceptions in information studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamental Problems of Information Studies)
20 pages, 2988 KiB  
Article
The Central Dogma of Information
by Jaime F. Cárdenas-García
Information 2022, 13(8), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/info13080365 - 31 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3037
Abstract
Info-autopoiesis or the self-referenced, recursive, interactive process of information self-production that engages all living beings in their efforts to satisfy their physiological and/or relational needs relies on Bateson’s difference which makes a difference. Living beings, as active manipulators/observers of their environment, derive meaning [...] Read more.
Info-autopoiesis or the self-referenced, recursive, interactive process of information self-production that engages all living beings in their efforts to satisfy their physiological and/or relational needs relies on Bateson’s difference which makes a difference. Living beings, as active manipulators/observers of their environment, derive meaning from the sensorially detected motion of matter and/or energy in the Universe. The process of info-autopoiesis in humans is found to be triadic in nature and incorporates the simultaneity of a quantitative/objective perspective with a qualitative/subjective perspective. In this process of meaningful engagement with the environment, humans create and transform endogenous semantic information into countless expressions of exogeneous syntactic information, which is synonymous with ordered material structure and artificial creation. Other humans can interpret exogeneous syntactic information and uniquely transform it into semantic information that can take multifarious forms. This asymmetrical process is the basis to postulate the central dogma of information that states ‘info-autopoiesis results in endogenous semantic information that irreversibly becomes exogeneous syntactic information’. In other words, once the artificial, syntactic world, including machines, created by humans comes into being it can only be interpreted by others, i.e., it does not necessarily convey the same intended meaning to all. Additionally, these artificial creations only recognize, extract, create, transmit, preserve, store, and utilize syntactic information, unable to transform syntactic information into semantic information. In other words, our resourceful capacity for syntactic creation does not allow for creation of artificial beings with comparable capabilities as us for meaning making. It suggests that our dreams for sentient artificial general intelligence and superintelligence are misguided and parallel the central dogma of molecular biology which states that ‘once (sequential) information has passed into protein it cannot get out again’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamental Problems of Information Studies)
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14 pages, 1557 KiB  
Article
A New Class of Autopoietic and Cognitive Machines
by Rao Mikkilineni
Information 2022, 13(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/info13010024 - 8 Jan 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 4420
Abstract
Making computing machines mimic living organisms has captured the imagination of many since the dawn of digital computers. However, today’s artificial intelligence technologies fall short of replicating even the basic autopoietic and cognitive behaviors found in primitive biological systems. According to Charles Darwin, [...] Read more.
Making computing machines mimic living organisms has captured the imagination of many since the dawn of digital computers. However, today’s artificial intelligence technologies fall short of replicating even the basic autopoietic and cognitive behaviors found in primitive biological systems. According to Charles Darwin, the difference in mind between humans and higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. Autopoiesis refers to the behavior of a system that replicates itself and maintains identity and stability while facing fluctuations caused by external influences. Cognitive behaviors model the system’s state, sense internal and external changes, analyze, predict and take action to mitigate any risk to its functional fulfillment. How did intelligence evolve? what is the relationship between the mind and body? Answers to these questions should guide us to infuse autopoietic and cognitive behaviors into digital machines. In this paper, we show how to use the structural machine to build a cognitive reasoning system that integrates the knowledge from various digital symbolic and sub-symbolic computations. This approach is analogous to how the neocortex repurposed the reptilian brain and paves the path for digital machines to mimic living organisms using an integrated knowledge representation from different sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fundamental Problems of Information Studies)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Recursion, Reentry and Autopoesis
Authors: Louis H Kauffman
Affiliation: University of Illinois at Chicago
Abstract: This article considers autopoesis in the light of the structure of recursion as exemplified by lambda calculus, self-reference, reentry and reflexive domains. A reflexive domain is modeled algebraically by a domain D whose elements are each transformations of the domain. We write ab for action of an element a on another element b. This is a non-associative operation so that (ab)c is generally distinct from a(bc). For a reflexive domain it is axiomatic that any algebraic parenthesized expression E[x] with a free variable x can define an an element E of D so that Ea = E[a], the result of substituting a in the expression E[x]. Thus if we define Gx = F(xx) for any element F in D, than G defines an element of D. The strong consequence of this reflexivity is that GG = F(GG). Thus GG is a fixed point for F. The key to reflexive domains is the way elements can act on themselves and how operations are identical with elements of the domain. We will analyze and compare the arising of autopoetic unities with the way processes and fixed points arise in reflexive domains. These themes are highly relevant to the understanding of how ordered and singular entities emerge from complex processes. We will discuss the manifold possible uses of the formalisms that are presented here.

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