Q&A With: Jeannette Wing

The head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon spoke with us about software engineering, education, and computational thinking.

9 min read

IEEE Fellow Jeannette M. Wing is President's Professor of Computer Science and head of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. Her general research interests are in the areas of specification and verification, concurrent and distributed systems, and programming languages.

Prof. Wing is a member of The National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board. She is a member also of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Academic Advisory Board, Intel Research Pittsburgh's Advisory Board, Dartmouth's Institute for Security Technology Studies Advisory Committee, and the Idaho National Laboratory and Homeland Security Strategic Advisory Committee. She was a member of the DARPA Information Science and Technology Board and the National Science Foundation Scientific Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Sloan Research Fellowships Program Committee.

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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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