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The entropy of LEGO®


  • Andrew Crompton


Abstract. Can the information content of a building be given meaning? Provided it can be modeled as a set of repeating parts the entropy of those parts can be measured. One way to do this is to make a LEGO® model then base the calculation on how many pieces of each type have been used. It is claimed that Lego is a language-like method of representing the built environment and that Lego pieces are analogous to words because their rank–frequency distribution follows a Zipf–Mandelbrot distribution similar to words in English. The zero-order entropy of Lego was measured to be about8.5 bits, compared with 9.4 bits per word of English. Lego models of famous buildings were found to have entropy of between 6 and 10 bits per piece, giving a quantitative measure of how unusual their pieces were.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Crompton, 2012. "The entropy of LEGO®," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(1), pages 174-182, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:39:y:2012:i:1:p:174-182

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    Lego; language; information; Zipf–Mandelbrot;


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