PCPlus 266: Maximum data compression

I write a monthly column for PCPlus, a computer news-views-n-reviews magazine in the UK (actually there are 13 issues a year — there's an Xmas issue as well — so it's a bit more than monthly). The column is called Theory Workshop and appears in the back of every issue. When I signed up, my editor and the magazine were gracious enough to allow me to reprint the articles here after say a year or so. After all, the PDFs do appear on each issue's DVD after a couple of months. When I buy the current issue, I'll publish the article from the issue a year ago.

PCPlus logo This is one of those articles where I obviously didn't have a catchy enough title or slug, because they were both rewritten. The title you see above, and the slug was rewritten to be Understanding Huffman’s encoding will enable more efficient programs. Hmm. First of all it's all about Huffman encoding, and the algorithm gets nowhere near maximal data compression. Heigh ho.

Not too bad an introduction to Huffman minimal codes, even though I say so myself. It gets though the basics of how the compression works without getting into any implementation details. Not too happy at this remove with the main figure — memo to self: must do better.

This article first appeared in issue 266, March 2008.

You can download the PDF here.

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