The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

iCandy: A Look Inside

A German plasma chamber, a solar house, a flight simulator, and a $326 000 cellphone

1 min read
You certainly don’t want to be inside the plasma chamber of the Max Planck Institute’s ASDEX Upgrade Fusion research device when it’s fired up and producing plasmas at temperatures exceeding 100 million °C.
Photo: Volker Steger/IPP

Photo: Volker Steger/IPP
You certainly don’t want to be inside the plasma chamber of the Max Planck Institute’s ASDEX Upgrade Fusion research device when it’s fired up and producing plasmas at temperatures exceeding 100 million °C. But you can take a virtual tour of the hottest spot in Germany by checking out a series of 360-degree panoramas of the chamber, its control room, and associated technical facilities at http://www.ipp.mpg.de/panorama.

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

/ns/slideshows/10W_SlideS_iCandy2012_ipad2a/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