Consider a simple Bernoulli variable X

X = 1 with probability p
X = 0 with probability (1-p)

The variance is simply p(1-p). The entropy is -p*ln(p)-(1-p)*ln(1-p) Both are measures of uncertainty. What is the advantage of entropy then?



1 Answer 1


They measure different things. Given the variance, you can solve for $p$ and compute the entropy, and vice versa, but they have different interpretations and different applications. You can learn a bit about the meaning and applications of these notions in the corresponding Wikipedia articles: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy_(information_theory), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variance.

Analogy: if we have a sphere, I could measure its radius, or I could measure its volume. They both reflect the size of the sphere, so you could as, what is the advantage of radius, or of volume? Answer: they measure different things, so depending on what you want to do, one or the other might be more useful.

  • $\begingroup$ so what do they measure ?:) $\endgroup$
    – PascalIv
    Sep 25, 2023 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ @PascalIv, you should be able to learn more about what they measure by reading standard resources, such as the links I provided and any standard textbook. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Sep 25, 2023 at 15:39

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