The maximum rate (expressed as the number of information units per second) at which a channel can transmit messages with minimal distorsion.
According to C. SHANNON: "If the source is of a simple type, releasing symbols of equal length (as in the case of a teletype for example), if in this source each chosen symbol represents s information bits (freely chosen from 2 symbols) and finally the channel may transmit, let us say, n symbols per second, the capacity C of the channel is then defined as being ns bits per second" (1949).
This is of course a strictly quantitative and numerical measurement, once the needed energy has been used to create the signals. In R.N. ADAMS words: "The channel capacity of a telephone circuit refers to the fact that the physical composition of the circuit can receive only a finite amount of energetic activity over a given period of time" (1988, p.84).
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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