Review: Putting Your Lightbulbs on the Internet

GreenWave’s system controls home lighting wirelessly—and intelligently

3 min read
photo of bulbs and smart devices
GreenWave Reality

Photo: GreenWave Reality
Lights, Apps, Action: The smart lighting system can be controlled either by a remote control or mobile app that gains access via a wireless gateway connected to a home's router.

At IEEE Spectrum, we’ve long covered attempts to build an Internet of Things. This is the notion of giving virtually every manufactured object a network presence, so that, say, a washing machine could automatically download instructions for the best way to clean a load of RFID-tagged clothing. Unfortunately, results so far have been uninspiring. Giving the door of a 140-kilogram refrigerator the functionality of a 650-gram tablet computer has not energized demand for intelligent appliances.

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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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