Source coding with a side information vending machine

Haim Permuter, Tsachy Weissman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study source coding in the presence of side information, when the system can take actions that affect the availability, quality, or nature of the side information. We begin by extending the Wyner-Ziv problem of source coding with decoder side information to the case where the decoder is allowed to choose actions affecting the side information. We then consider the setting where actions are taken by the encoder, based on its observation of the source. Actions may have costs that are commensurate with the quality of the side information they yield, and an overall per-symbol cost constraint may be imposed. We characterize the achievable tradeoffs between rate, distortion, and cost in some of these problem settings. Among our findings is the fact that even in the absence of a cost constraint, greedily choosing the action associated with the best side information is, in general, suboptimal. A few examples are worked out.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number5895085
Pages (from-to)4530-4544
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2011


  • Actions
  • Wyner-Ziv coding
  • data acquisition
  • rate distortion
  • side information
  • source coding
  • vending machine

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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