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Review: MathStudio

A new smartphone and tablet app runs 300 math functions and your own scripts as well

1 min read

Back in 2009, I began a review of a cute little mobile mathematics program by saying, ”You never know when you’ll be dining out with your friends and have to work out a partial derivative or two.” The program—originally designed for Palm Pilots and Windows Mobile phones—is still as attractive as ever, now running on iPhones and iPads and all manner of Android devices.

MathStudio is an updated version of SpaceTime (see ”The Mobile Polynomial,” IEEE Spectrum, January 2009). With more than 300 numerical and symbolic math functions, programmability, and eye-popping graphics, it’s like having a miniature version of Mathematica, at a miniature price.

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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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