Young Inventors of the World Unite

Bursting with more ideas than business savvy, precocious innovators turn to mentors and each other for guidance

4 min read

Three years ago, as a University of Western Ontario freshman, Anne Swift came up with an idea for a flexible computer keyboard. Frustrated by the lack of patent guidance for young inventors, she organized a network of like-minded collegians to help her figure out how to proceed. By the time she'd gathered her information, someone else had come up with a similar idea and landed the patent she coveted. Instead of a patent, Swift wound up with a flourishing network.

Young Inventors International (http://www.younginventorsinternational.com), a nonprofit organization, is headquartered in Swift's home in King City, Ont., Canada, an hour north of Toronto. It helps folks under age 35 develop, patent, and market innovative ideas. The first and most expansive group of its kind, Young Inventors now boasts an array of workshops, newsletters, networking events, mentoring programs, an annual conference, and a fundraiser. It has 500 members in more than 20 countries and a division, Young at Heart, for professionals over 35, who serve as mentors.

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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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