The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Dress for Tech Success

The best in wearable geek gifts

1 min read

Apollo Cockpit and Apollo Soyuz–Cosmonaut ties from Cyberoptix Tie Lab Sometimes, choosing the right tie is rocket science—at least when it comes to Cyberoptix Tie Lab’s hand silk-screened Rocket Science collection [above]. Or suit up in a Science Affair microscope tie or the Radio Tower style. US $30 (microfiber) or $40 (100 percent silk)

This is part of IEEE Spectrum's 2010 Holiday Gift Guide.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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