The February 2023 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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iCandy: Pairing People With Processors

This month's edition features robotic pants that make the lame walk, an electronic eye embedded in the back of a man's head, and a walking Internet billboard

1 min read

Photo: Wong Maye/AP Photo
Visitors to Resorts World on Sentosa Island, Singapore, can witness a 10-minute animatronics spectacle wherein two 80-metric-ton mechanical cranes appear to emerge from the water and flap their wings as they fall in love. The cranes’ 25-meter-wide wings are created by spraying nearly 37 000 liters of seawater from the 10-story-tall birds’ bodies over the course of each show.

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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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