Introduction

In the last decade, we have been witnessing a transformation—some call it a revolution—in the way we communicate, and the process is still under way. This transformation includes the ever-present, ever-growing Internet; the explosive development of mobile communications; and the ever-increasing importance of video communication. Data compression is one of the enabling technologies for each of these aspects of the multimedia revolution. It would not be practical to put images, let alone audio and video, on websites if it were not for data compression algorithms. Cellular phones would not be able to provide communication with increasing clarity were it not for compression. The advent of digital TV would not be possible without compression. ...

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