It is a known fact that everything in the world tends towards entropy. Things expand in crazy, random patterns. Computer programs get bigger and more unmanageable and the very fabric of our computers become flooded with data from a million sources. Databases grow without bound, multiplying faster than the population of India. We stand at the brink of chaos and only the forces of Data Compression can bring us back to the light.

The world of Data Compression is an exciting and rapidly growing field. This page hopes to introduce you to some of the basic algorithms that are modified and combined to form more complex algorithms. We hope that after reading this page, you will understand the basic theory behind these algorithms as well as have a grasp on what you would need to code them.

To give a quick synopsis of the algorithms:

There is also a section on other methods that covers some algorithms used by popular compression programs.

All of these methods are lossless compression algorithms which means that there is no loss of content when compressing or uncompressing. The other type of compression is lossy compression which means there is a loss of quality or data. Good examples are gif and mp3 which compress pictoral and audio quality without a significant alteration of perception to the human eye or ear.

Jonathan Low
Last modified: Fri Jul 14 15:47:08 EDT 2000