The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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iCandy: Sports Tech

Systems for safety and tuning players’ technique

1 min read
iCandy: Sports Tech
Photo: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters

Photo: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters
Austrian ski jumper Andreas Kofler is shown flying into a 105-kilometer-per-hour headwind in an effort to improve his technique. The conditions Kofler will face on the slopes at the Winter Olympics this month were re-created indoors at the Rail Tec Arsenal Climatic Wind Tunnel complex in Vienna. The facility is normally used to test how vehicles stand up to snow, ice, wind, and hot summer sun. It can simulate conditions from –45 °C to 60 °C, humidity up to 98 percent, and wind speeds up to 300 km/h.

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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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