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iCandy: It’s Electric

A robotic newspaper-storage locker, an electronic fork, and shoes that track your dance moves

1 min read
iCandy: It’s Electric
Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/Press Association/AP Photo

Photo: Liu Chan/Xinhua/Landov
On 20 December, when this train made its first trip along a brand new, 20.2-kilometer section of the Chongqing rail line, which links Shapingba and Daxuecheng, it became the first in China to conserve energy with regenerative braking. Light-rail trains on this line are also the first Chinese metro trains to tip the scales at less than 35 metric tons.

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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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