Glow Arts Architecture

International festival presented works by artists using LEDs as their medium

1 min read
Glow Arts Architecture

Xuanwu Lake Park in Nanjing, China

Photo: Imaginechina/AP Images
Click on image for larger view.

From 7:00 to 9:30 each evening from 30 January through 18 March, visitors to Xuanwu Lake Park in Nanjing, China, were able to see this and other breathtaking works of art. The ornate structure, which looks like it’s composed of painstakingly wrought stained-glass panes, is actually one of 75 exquisitely detailed replicas of Italian landmarks, made up of a total of 560 000 LEDs. They’re all part of the Italian International Light Sculpture Art Festival, which was timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year.

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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
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

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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