We propose to estimate transfer entropy using a technique of symbolization. We demonstrate numerically that symbolic transfer entropy is a robust and computationally fast method to quantify the dominating direction of information flow between time series from structurally identical and nonidentical coupled systems. Analyzing multiday, multichannel electroencephalographic recordings from 15 epilepsy patients our approach allowed us to reliably identify the hemisphere containing the epileptic focus without observing actual seizure activity.
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