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Q&A With: Grady Booch

The legendary methodologist speaks about architectural patterns, best practices, and the social responsibility of software engineers

4 min read

Grady Booch is the chief scientist of Rational Software, a recently acquired subsidiary of IBM. He is best known as one of the creators of the Unified Modeling Language, a set of standards for graphically representing common software development concepts, such as classes, components, and behaviors. He started his career in the U.S. Air Force as an officer specializing in advanced software projects in such areas as graphical user interfaces and very large systems integration. Upon retiring as a captain, he joined Rational one year after it was founded by two of his Air Force Academy classmates. His work there led to his becoming one of the world's most sought-after advisors in the field of software engineering. For more on his background, please visit:

Spectrum Online: How did you become interested in patterns?

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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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