Data compression, or source coding as it is formally called, is the process of reducing the physical capacity of data by encoding information. Once compressed, fewer bits are needed to represent the original data.
In computer science and information theory, data compression, source coding, or bit-rate reduction involves encoding information using fewer bits than the original representation. Compression can be either lossy or lossless.
- Lossless compression reduces bits by identifying and eliminating statistical redundancy. No information is lost in lossless compression.
- Lossy compression reduces bits by identifying unnecessary information and removing it.
The process of reducing the size of a data file is referred to as data compression. In the context of data transmission, it is called source coding (encoding done at the source of the data before it is stored or transmitted) in opposition to channel coding.
Data compression has made all sorts of technological advancements possible, and each of us use it almost everyday, whether in text messages, emails, when watching HDTV, or downloading images from the internet.
But this article is about history of Data Compression so lets follow this beautiful infographic to learn more about progress of data compression in last 170+ years.