iCandy: Tech in Your Body

Devices that help humans see, drive, and feel better

1 min read

Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
The world’s first full-length marathon for bipedal humanoid robots began on 24 February in Osaka, Japan. The winner of the 42.195-kilometer race, Robovie-PC, made by Vstone Co., broke the tape at the finish line nearly 55 hours after it set out on the course.

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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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