We study optimal solutions to an abstract optimization problem for measures, which is a generalization of classical variational problems in information theory and statistical physics. In the classical problems, information and relative entropy are defined using the Kullback-Leibler divergence, and for this reason optimal measures belong to a one-parameter exponential family. Measures within such a family have the property of mutual absolute continuity. Here we show that this property characterizes other families of optimal positive measures if a functional representing information has a strictly convex dual. Mutual absolute continuity of optimal probability measures allows us to strictly separate deterministic and non-deterministic Markov transition kernels, which play an important role in theories of decisions, estimation, control, communication and computation. We show that deterministic transitions are strictly sub-optimal, unless information resource with a strictly convex dual is unconstrained. For illustration, we construct an example where, unlike non-deterministic, any deterministic kernel either has negatively infinite expected utility (unbounded expected error) or communicates infinite information.
Middlesex University Research Repository (http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/8531/4/rvb-optimalmes-draft.pdf)