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Profile: Limor Fried

The founder of Adafruit Industries champions Do-It-Yourself electronics

3 min read
Limor Fried
Illustration: Jason Lee

Limor Fried has been busy. Last year her company, Adafruit Industries, had its best year ever, selling US $10 million in DIY electronics kits and components. In October it moved into an 1100-square-meter manufacturing and warehouse space in lower Manhattan. Two months later, Fried appeared on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine as its Entrepreneur of the Year. And in February she grilled President Obama, via Google Hangout, on what his administration was doing to support inventors and tech entrepreneurs and to encourage girls to study science, math, and engineering.

Fried didn’t set out to become a successful CEO or a de facto spokeswoman for the loose-knit maker community of technically inclined do‑it-yourselfers. But now that she is, she’s making the most of it. And if her shock-your-granny hair and facial piercings challenge people’s image of engineers, well, so much the better.

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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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