The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

iCandy: A Better View

A panoramic vision system, an eye tracker, and a 3-D model of a fetus

1 min read
iCandy: A Better View

Photo: China Daily/Reuters
In late November, Chinese farmer Zhang Xuelin thought he had made enough modifications over the past 11 months to an old motorbike to make it fly. With much fanfare, he took to a main road in his hometown of Jinan that served as his runway. But after two hours, the would-be aircraft—to which he’d added wings and a plywood-and-plastic tail—never left the ground.

If you are viewing this page with an iPad or iPhone, click here to launch the slideshow:

/ns/slideshows/12SS_iCandy_ipad1a/index.html

The Conversation (0)

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
Vertical
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
Yellow

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less