Avraham Lempel, one of the creators of the data compression algorithm that became the basis for the MP3, PDF, ZIP and PNG file formats, has died in Israel at the age of 86. The death of the professor was reported by the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.
Abraham Lempel was born in 1936 in Lvov, which at that time was part of Poland. In 1959, he entered the Technion in the city of Haifa, in 1967 he received a doctorate in technical sciences, and ten years later he became a university professor. In 1994 Lempel became head of the HP laboratory in Israel.
Lempel collaborated with Israeli mathematician Yaakov Ziv in 1977 and 1978 on data compression algorithms. The algorithm described in their papers was called the Lempel-Ziv algorithm, and the family of algorithms was designated LZ. The developments of scientists formed the basis of several data compression formats, including PNG, ZIP and GIF, and also played a key role in the creation of PDF formats for documents and MP3 for music.
The International Association of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2004 declared the Lempel-Ziv algorithm “a milestone in electronics and computing”. “It is no exaggeration to say that the compression technologies that emerged from Lempel and Ziv’s research have accelerated the process in mobile applications and multimedia and made them cost-effective,” the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) said in a statement.
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