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UCLA Discovers Compression Method; Benefits For Big Data

By - Source: Kurzweil

Researchers at UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a new data "warping" compression method that reportedly outperforms existing techniques.

According to a report by Kurzweil, Bahram Jalali, holder of the Northrop Grumman Opto-Electronic Chair in Electrical Engineering, and his group of researchers, the JALALI-LAB group, used a new "anamorphic stretch transform" (AST) methodto achieve data compression by stretching and warping data. This technique operates in analog and digital domains; for the latter, AST can help with bottlenecks usually associated with the transmission and storage of big data.

By using the AST method in analog applications, the team managed to capture and digitize signals that are faster than the speed of the sensor and the digitizer, while minimizing the volume of data generated in the process.

The AST method can also transform and compress digital records (medical data, etc) by reshaping the signal. The most defining characteristics are stretched into "sharp" features while data's "coarse" features aren't quite as stretched.

"Our transformation causes feature-selective stretching of the data and allocation of more pixels to sharper features where they are needed the most," Asghari told Kurzweil. "For example, if we used the technique to take a picture of a sailboat on the ocean, our anamorphic stretch transform would cause the sailboat’s features to be stretched much more than the ocean, to identify the boat while using a small file size."

Kurzweil reports that the AST method can also be used for image compression as a standalone algorithm or combined with existing digital compression techniques. The method can reportedly outperform the standard JPEG image compression format, providing a "dramatic" improvement in the image to compression ratio.

The new method reportedly stems from another project the Jalali Group is working on: time stretch dispersive Fourier transform, a method that slows down and amplifies faint-yet-fast signals for detection and digitization in real time.

High-speed instruments created with this tech brought about the discovery of optical rogue waves. Yet these devices also created a "fire hose" of data that overwhelms to most advanced computers on the market today. Because of this, the team began developing a new data compression technology: AST.

For more information about the new compression method, take a look at research abstract available here.

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Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware, Tom's Games, Tom's Guide and Tom’s IT Pro. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.

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