iCandy: Light and Sound

A beachfront media room, a mind-controlled toy plane, and iPad as a playroom accessory

1 min read
iCandy: Light and Sound

Photo: Siemens
You’re not seeing the second coming of Noah’s Ark. The engineer in the foreground is standing inside one half of a rotor blade created for the world’s largest wind turbine. Earlier this summer, Siemens erected the towering windmill, which generates 6 megawatts, off the coast of Østerild, Denmark. Its rotor blades each measure 75 meters long; the tips of the blades move at speeds up to 80 meters per second.

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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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