The November 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Actress-mathematician-author Danica McKellar has a new book out called Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss , encouraging math interest in middle school girls. Best known as Winnie Cooper in the 1988�1993 TV series ”The Wonder Years,” McKellar went on to major in math at UCLA, collaborate on a theorem on magnetism, and speak before the U.S. Congress, while guest-starring on ”The West Wing,” ”NYPD Blue,” and ”How I Met Your Mother.” The new book, a continuation of her preteen best seller Math Doesn’t Suck , focuses on pre-algebra and jobs that use math. ”I’m making girls feel less intimidated by math,” says McKellar. ”I want them thinking about it as more than just something you do in school.”

For more information, visit http://www.kissmymath.com. And read more about McKellar this December in the upcoming issue of IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine .

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

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
Vertical
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
Yellow

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less