The “grandfather of MP3” died in Israel — RT Games & Culture
An Israeli computer scientist whose research into data compression led to the development of the MP3 file has died. Professor Abraham Lempel’s algorithms also supported TIFF, PNG, ZIP and GIF formats, all of which are widely used today.
Lempel died Sunday at the age of 86, the Israeli news site Ynet reported. He had been professor emeritus at the Technion research institute in Haifa and was described by the president of the institute as one of the most important scientists in the history of the Technion.
“The late Emeritus Professor Lempel was an inspiration to us all, and was among the greatest researchers the Technion has produced in its hundred years,” said President Uri Sivan. “The Lempel-Ziv algorithm has brought to the world, for free, an unprecedented technology that enables data transfer quickly and without data loss.”
Lempel and his colleague, Professor Jacob Ziv, published the first version of the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, LZ77, in 1977, followed a year later by a modified version called LZ78.
These algorithms enabled lossless compression, a breakthrough that would be of huge benefit years later to online file sharing, which requires them to be compressed to a fraction of their original size for efficient transfer. . TIFF, PNG, ZIP, and GIF file formats are all directly based on the LZ77 and LZ78 algorithms, while PDF and MP3 files are based on their derivatives.
Lempel’s work saw him recruited by American computer giant HP in 1993, and he continued to manage the company’s Israeli operations until 2007. During that time, the company filed eight patents to her name.
Lempel would also receive the 1998 Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation from the IEEE Information Theory Society and the 2007 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal for “pioneering work in data compression.”
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