The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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iCandy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Food to fuel, tissue regeneration, and Japanese wind power

1 min read
iCandy: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Photo: TPG/Getty Images

Photo: Rex Features/AP Photo
The Golden-I headset computer shown here is marketed to police and fire departments because of its ability to capture still images and video, detect the heat signatures of living things with infrared sensors, identify people with facial recognition software, scan license plates, and pull up a host of other information via a Wi-Fi connection. The gadget also lets wearers share what they’re seeing with other headset users via private networks.

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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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