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iCandy September 2010: A Vehicle You Don't Need to Fill Up or Steer

This month's iCandy includes an autonomous solar-powered truck, a 3-D TV, and a device that might reveal the secret identity of dark matter

1 min read

Photo: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images
A researcher from India’s National Aerospace Laboratories, in Bangalore, launches a micro air vehicle prototype. The remotely operated drone, which will soon go into commercial production, is one of three models, each less than a meter across, that will be used for military reconnaissance as well as search-and-rescue support at the scene of a natural disaster.

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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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