MiS Preprint Repository

We have decided to discontinue the publication of preprints on our preprint server as of 1 March 2024. The publication culture within mathematics has changed so much due to the rise of repositories such as ArXiV ( that we are encouraging all institute members to make their preprints available there. An institute's repository in its previous form is, therefore, unnecessary. The preprints published to date will remain available here, but we will not add any new preprints here.

MiS Preprint

Information Decomposition Based on Cooperative Game Theory

Nihat Ay, Daniel Polani and Nathaniel Virgo


We offer a new approach to the information decomposition problem in information theory: given a 'target' random variable co-distributed with multiple 'source' variables, how can we decompose the mutual information into a sum of non-negative terms that quantify the contributions of each random variable, not only individually but also in combination? We define a new way to decompose the mutual information, which we call the Information Attribution (IA), and derive a solution using cooperative game theory. It can be seen as assigning a "fair share" of the mutual information to each combination of the source variables. Our decomposition is based on a different lattice from the usual 'partial information decomposition' (PID) approach, and as a consequence the IA has a smaller number of terms than PID: it has analogs of the synergy and unique information terms, but lacks separate terms corresponding to redundancy, instead sharing redundant information between the unique information terms. Because of this, it is able to obey equivalents of the axioms known as 'local positivity' and 'identity', which cannot be simultaneously satisfied by a PID measure.

partial information decomposition, information geometry, cooperative game theory

Related publications

2020 Journal Open Access
Nihat Ay, Daniel Polani and Nathaniel Virgo

Information decomposition based on cooperative game theory

In: Kybernetika, 56 (2020) 5, pp. 979-1014