This laymen’s guide to Compression Theory is for those that wish to understand the concept of compression. Understanding the fundamental is important for the setup. Kings may rise or thrones may be assailed by what lies over the horizon.

The term ‘compression’ is used to reference the compressing of data, images, sound, video, or any form of information, communication, language, and media. The term ‘compression’ also encompasses the fields of data compression and image compression. The theoretical background of compression comes from Information Theory. Information Theory is rooted in mathematics, electronics, and computer science. Coding theory, cryptanalysis, cryptography, logic, and statistics are some of the fields of mathematics that form this subject. Claude Shannon is considered to be the founder of Information Theory from his papers that were published in the 1940s and 1950s.

The ideal purpose of compression is to pack more data into a smaller space so that the data may be unpacked and restored into its original form. Defining this ideal through Information Theory would be the encoding information using fewer bits than the original representation and then decoding those encoded bits in order to restore the data to its original form.

Compression is used to optimize data capacity, utility, transmission, and security. Increased compression levels optimize a computer’s operational and storage capacity by increasing a computer’s speed, hard drive capacity, and a higher utilization of storage media. An increased density of compression also yields a higher ratio of data transmission and allows for greater data traffic. Coding is a basis for compression and this enables it to be used for data security.

Lossless and lossy comprise the two forms of compression in Information Theory. No information is lost in lossless compression because bit reduction is achieved through identifying and eliminating statistical redundancy. Lossless compression ratios have historically hovered around 2:1 and 3:2. Information is subtracted through lossy compression by removing unnecessary or less important information.

An example of lossy compression is the word ‘the’. Everyone knows that ‘e’ follows ‘t’ and ‘h’ in the English language. Removing ‘e’ leaves no ambiguity in the data because everyone knows that ‘e’ follows ‘th’ and ‘the’ is the word in the sentence.

An example of lossless compression would be derived by substituting ‘fx’ for the phrase ‘the fox had stalked the ox’. This phrase is repeated throughout the data. Substituting ‘fx’ for every occurrence of that phrase reduces bits through statistical redundancy. Everyone has now been instructed to realize that ‘fx’ means ‘the fox had stalked the ox’.

Lossy compression is compression through the loss of some content. Lossless compression is compression through the coding of statistical redundancy. Pure compression requires compacting random information into a smaller space, then restoring it to its original state with zero loss of content. Pure compression may be an elusive grail, an ideal that remains eternal.

Observing life and the Scientific Method are historical tools of mathematics and science. Therefore, let us examine our world to see if compression’s ideal could exist in nature and life. Packing fewer items in a suitcase would be an example of lossy compression. Lossless compression could be the use of abbreviations in writing a paper or wadding the paper into a ball. However, if one wads the paper into a ball, it gains a notable expanse of dimensions. It could be easily decompressed by merely flattening out the paper. One may think that crushing an empty aluminum can could be a means of true compression. How then would one restore it to its decompressed state without much difficulty? Would one include the expelled air? The mass decreases, but the weight would remain the same. Being too definitive would stall this exercise.

The sense of smell could be an excellent form of compression in regard to memory. A particular scent can trigger the memories of a certain event/time/place in one’s personal history. A small fragrance will enable one to relive a particular period of time. It is as if hours and days are compressed into a whiff of scent.

Would slang be another form of true compression? Slang incorporates an assumed lexicon that requires a similar mind set to decode or understand its cultural twist upon a language. Slang is built upon the proper dictionary that came before. It is like a caricature derived from the original. One must possess knowledge of the original before one can appreciate the absurdity of its likeness. Accepting that assumption would give that dictionary a meta-state. Could a meta-state be formed with less information? Only through the give knowledge of that object state. However, having knowledge is the basis for any coding process. Coding is nothing more than mapping symbols unto meaning. I would say that slang operates well in its native manner. The rules of grammar and the definition of words are easily condensed because it is already assumed that the listener stands on the orthodox knowledge of the language that it is condensing. Slang throws the rule books away once the rules have been learned. Jazz has been defined by this notion as well. Ornette Coleman once said that in order to play jazz, one needs to learn music, learn their instrument, then throw it away and play. One needs to be well-versed before they can throw rule books away, chatter in slang, or truly play jazz.

Would poetics in its true form become another form of compression? In poetics, fewer words convey greater information. Words are arranged in a way in which the analytical, intuitive, emotional, spiritual, abstract, and sensory data are expressed in a manner that allows words to play off of one another. The defined become expounded and the redefined achieve the iconic. Poetics does not waste words and one word may contain multiple uses and definitions. Phonetics, placement, and punctuation become aspects of code that release higher levels of intent and meaning. Punctuation and space convey time and emotion through a means of utilized absence. Events and perceptions are expressed without their particular names. Despite all of these references, poetics uses something indistinct and mysterious that may not be defined, but it is recognized within its encounter. True poetics is when you read something and the meaning hits as you walk away. The Arab mathematicians of antiquity used to state their theorems in poetic form. Poetics and pure mathematics could be the purest languages of mankind. Love may not be referenced because love is a language that supercedes Man. Love had originally born all men and we still dream for love’s return.

The value of compression is derived from its existence in the virtual world. The artificial existence that encompasses computer data has a value that increases exponentially. That worth has now ensconced itself into need, a prime function that makes our global societies operational and integrated. The electronic world often mirrors the real world. It garners an increasing leverage because now it holds that mirror. With that being said, how does one derive the virtue of worth in artificial existence?

In the real world, the worth of gold originates from its rarity. That rarity spawns an avarice, a vanity to wield power and gold will fund such things. Worth in the art world is defined by identity. Rarity in the art world is common ground. There is only one painting of this and one of that. What gives it worth is who painted it, the quality of that painting, the date and place of that painting’s birth. In the consumer world, a product’s utility and function defines worth. A product’s reputation solidifies that worth and elevates the business that produces it to sell shares of itself to others. You are then allowed to join a market and your worth increases as you partake into setting the daily paradigm of worth to others. Everyone desires the power to be a winner and selling part of yourself to others instills a desire that enables men to part with their money. Prostitution does the same thing through a more basic aspect of seduction. Inventions instills worth because it changes paradigms. Men pursue being the first and men pursue being the best. Worth is a virtue that men pursue. In our real world, worth is defined by rarity, avarice, identity, legend, reputation, function, and all sorts of models that appease our flesh, appeal to our minds, bolster our reputations and so forth.

The virtual world would not be so flippant, varied, and unstable. After all, markets can rise and fall through the mere drift of a rumor. In the virtual world, worth is derived by the power of utility and function and the ease of compliance and connection. All of this and the setting of paradigms that are contrived and pursued are still derived from one source of virtue. In artificial existence, worth is defined through the density of quality information. The greater density of information equates into the greater worth. The grail of artificial existence eventually arrives to the virtue of density. Increased density equals a greater worth that buys the power to rule. All thrones may fall or some thrones may be defined by their ascent into the coming horizon.



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