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Remembering Information Compression Pioneer Jacob Ziv

Remembering Information Compression Pioneer Jacob Ziv. Jacob Ziv, codeveloper of the Lempel-Ziv information compression algorithm, died on 26 March on the age of 91.

The IEEE Life Fellow was awarded the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor “for basic contributions to info concept and information compression expertise, and for distinguished analysis management.”

Ziv, {an electrical} engineering professor on the Technion—the Israel Institute of Know-how, in Haifa—and his colleague Abraham Lempel perfected the lossless compression approach, enabling excellent information reconstruction.

With lossless algorithms, as an IEEE Spectrum article defined in 2021, “bits disappear, making the info file dramatically smaller and thus simpler to retailer and transmit,” however in contrast to lossy compression methods comparable to those used with JPEG and MP3 recordsdata, the bits “reappear on command.”

Therefore, the Lempel-Ziv information compression algorithm, which paved the best way for GIF, PNG, and ZIP recordsdata, was designated an IEEE Milestone in 2004.

Pioneer Jacob Ziv

Ziv’s scientific contributions “modified ceaselessly the best way we retailer, course of, and switch info,” the Technion’s president, physicist Uri Sivan, wrote in a tribute to Ziv. “He was an inspiration to all of us—a beacon of scientific excellence [and] an emblem of science’s nice potential to ignite technological revolutions that have an effect on all of mankind.”

Born in Israel, Ziv obtained bachelor’s and grasp’s levels in electrical engineering from the Technion in 1954 and 1957. He started his profession in 1955 as a analysis engineer with the Israeli Ministry of Protection, the place his work targeted on communications programs.

Precisely, he was chosen in 1959 as certainly one of a handful of researchers from Israel’s protection lab to check overseas. He moved to the USA to attend MIT, the place he earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1962.

Whereas at MIT, he held a part-time job as a analysis engineer within the utilized science division at U.S. protection contractor Melpar, in Watertown, Mass. Also, after a 12 months, he moved again to Israel and rejoined the Ministry of Protection as head of its communications division.

Data and communication concept pioneer

He returned to the USA in 1968 to work at Bell Phone Laboratories, in Murray Hill, N.J. The next 12 months, he and Moshe Zakai revealed a paper in IEEE Transactions in Data Idea describing the Ziv-Zakai certain, a technique to find out whether or not a processor is getting probably the most correct info doable from a given sign.

Basically, Ziv relocated to Israel in 1970, this time to affix the Technion as a professor {of electrical} engineering. He served as dean of the EE school from 1974 to 1976 and vice chairman of educational affairs from 1978 to 1982. He taught courses on the institute all through his profession, punctuated by three analysis sabbaticals within the info analysis division at Bell Labs.

Particularly, on the Technion and at Bell, Ziv carried out analysis in information compression, info concept, and statistical communications. He made a number of contributions to the speculation of error-correcting codes and an encoding scheme that transmits messages as binary numbers in order that they are often recovered even when some bits are by accident flipped.

Black-and-white photo of two older men in glasses and dress shirts.Jacob Ziv [left] and Abraham Lempel revealed algorithms for lossless information compression in 1977 and 1978, each within the IEEE Transactions on Data Idea. The strategies, which turned often called LZ77 and LZ78, are nonetheless in use.Jacob Ziv/Technion

Lempel-Ziv compression algorithms

It was in his early days on the Technion that Ziv met Lempel, a pc scientist who shared his curiosity in enhancing lossless information compression. Ziv instructed IEEE Spectrum that he and Lempel had been the “excellent match” for the undertaking: “I knew all about info concept and statistics, and Abraham was well-equipped in Boolean algebra and laptop science.”

In 1977, whereas Ziv was on sabbatical at Bell Labs, he and Lempel revealed a paper within the IEEE Transactions on Data Idea, “A Common Algorithm for Sequential Information Compression.” The algorithm they described was sooner and extra environment friendly than Huffman coding, which was the lossless information compression commonplace on the time. Ziv and Lempel’s algorithm turned often called LZ77.

The brand new algorithm labor on any sort of information and didn’t require preprocessing. Again he hopes to take just one move at a picture file to be able to compress it.

That drastically diminished the time it took to investigate and compress an information file by in search of distinctive sequences of bits whereas concurrently compressing the info, utilizing tips that could consult with beforehand seen sequences. The next 12 months, the 2 researchers issued a refined model, LZ78.

Therefore, the 2 algorithms, also called LZ1 and LZ2, paved the best way for the Unix compression applications of the early Eighties in addition to the WinZip and Gzip compression applications within the early Nineties. They’re used right this moment in GIF, TIFF and different picture codecs.

An enduring legacy

More so, Ziv garner a number of awards for his pioneering contributions to information compression. Along with the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor, he obtained an IEEE Data Idea Society Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation in 1998.

He was awarded a 2017 EMET Prize (often called Israel’s Nobel Prize), an Affiliation for Computing Equipment Kanellakis Award in 1997, and a 1995 Marconi Prize.

Ziv’s curiosity in schooling led him to alternatives past the Technion. He chaired the Israeli Council for Larger Training planning and grants committee from 1985 to 1991, for instance. An Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities member from 1981 till his loss of life, he served as its president from 1995 to 2004.

In 1997 he established the Israeli Nationwide Infrastructure Discussion board for Analysis and Growth to advertise applications and tasks in science, expertise, engineering, and arithmetic.



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