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Profile: Kira Radinsky, the Prophet of the Web

Using machine intelligence and data mining, this entrepreneur can make predictions about future events

2 min read
Profile: Kira Radinsky, the Prophet of the Web

photo of Kira RadinskyPhoto: Kira Radinsky

Kira Radinsky is a rising star in predictive analytics. She combines the use of artificial intelligence and online data mining to predict likely futures for individuals, societies, and businesses. Radinsky made headlines two years ago for developing a series of algorithms that dissect words and phrases in traditional and social media, Web activity, and search trends to warn of possible disasters, geopolitical events, and disease outbreaks. Her system predicted Cuba’s first cholera epidemic in decades and early Arab Spring riots.

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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
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

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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