Beyond Transmitting Bits: Context, Semantics, and Task-Oriented Communications

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Communication systems to date primarily aim at reliably communicating bit sequences. Such an approach provides efficient engineering designs that are agnostic to the meanings of the messages or to the goal that the message exchange aims to achieve. Next generation systems, however, can be potentially enriched by folding message semantics and goals of communication into their design. Further, these systems can be made cognizant of the context in which communication exchange takes place, thereby providing avenues for novel design insights. This tutorial summarizes the efforts to date, starting from its early adaptations, semantic-aware and task-oriented communications, covering the foundations, algorithms and potential implementations. The focus is on approaches that utilize information theory to provide the foundations, as well as the significant role of learning in semantics and task-aware communications.




Gunduz, D., Qin, Z., Aguerri, I. E., Dhillon, H. S., Yang, Z., Yener, A., … Chae, C. B. (2023). Beyond Transmitting Bits: Context, Semantics, and Task-Oriented Communications. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, 41(1), 5–41.

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