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Wikipedia Description

LempelZivWelch (LZW) is a universal lossless data compression algorithm created by Abraham Lempel, Jacob Ziv, and Terry Welch. It was published by Welch in 1984 as an improved implementation of the LZ78 algorithm published by Lempel and Ziv in 1978. The algorithm is simple to implement, and has the potential for very high throughput in hardware implementations. It is the algorithm of the widely used Unix file compression utility compress, and is used in the GIF image format.The scenario described by Welch's 1984 paper encodes sequences of 8-bit data as fixed-length 12-bit codes. The codes from 0 to 255 represent 1-character sequences consisting of the corresponding 8-bit character, and the codes 256 through 4095 are created in a dictionary for sequences encountered in the data as it is encoded. At each stage in compression, input bytes are gathered into a sequence until the next character would make a sequence for which there is no code yet in the dictionary. The code for the sequence (without that character) is added to the output, and a new code (for the sequence with that character) is added to the dictionary.

compression, encoding, lossless