The LZW algorithm is a very common compression technique. Suppose we want to encode the Oxford Concise English dictionary which contains about , Lempel–Ziv–Welch (LZW) is a universal lossless data compression algorithm created by Abraham Lempel, Jacob Ziv, and Terry Welch. It was published by  ‎Algorithm · ‎Example · ‎Further coding · ‎Uses. Video created by Princeton University for the course "Algorithms, Part II". We study and implement several classic data compression schemes, including.


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A particular LZW compression algorithm takes each input sequence of bits of lzw algorithm given length for example, 12 bits and creates an entry in a table sometimes called a "dictionary" or "codebook" for that particular bit pattern, consisting of the pattern itself and a shorter code.

As input is read, any pattern that has been read before results in the substitution of lzw algorithm shorter code, effectively compressing the total amount of input to something smaller.

Unlike earlier approaches, known as LZ77 and LZ78, the LZW algorithm does include the look-up table of codes as part of the compressed lzw algorithm. In this way, successively longer strings are registered in the lzw algorithm and made available for subsequent encoding as single output values.

The algorithm works best on data with repeated patterns, so the initial parts of a message will see little compression.


As the message grows, however, the compression ratio tends asymptotically to the maximum i. In order to rebuild the dictionary in the same way as it was built during encoding, it also obtains the next value from the input and adds to the dictionary the concatenation of the current string and the first character of the string obtained by decoding the next input value, or the first character of the string just output if the next value can not be lzw algorithm If the next value is unknown to the decoder, then it must be the value that will be added to the dictionary this iteration, and so its first character must lzw algorithm the same as the first character of the current string being sent to decoded output.

What is LZW compression? - Definition from

The decoder then proceeds to the next input value which was already read in as the "next lzw algorithm in the previous pass and repeats the process until there is no more input, at which point the final input value is decoded without any more additions to the dictionary.

In this way the decoder builds up a dictionary which is identical to that used by the encoder, and uses it to decode subsequent input values. Thus the full dictionary does not need to be sent with the encoded data; just the initial dictionary containing the single-character strings is sufficient and is typically defined beforehand within the encoder and decoder rather than being explicitly sent with the encoded data.

Variable-width codes[ edit ] If variable-width codes are being used, the encoder and decoder must be careful to change the width at the same points in the encoded data, or they will disagree about where the boundaries between individual codes fall in the stream.

Since this is the point where the encoder will increase the code width, the decoder must increase the width here as well: This is called "early change"; it caused so much confusion that Adobe now allows both versions in PDF files, but includes an explicit flag in the header of each LZW-compressed stream to indicate whether early change is being lzw algorithm.

Lempel–Ziv–Welch - Wikipedia

When the table is cleared in response to a clear code, both encoder and decoder change the code width after the clear code back to the initial code width, starting with the code immediately following the clear code.

Packing order[ edit ] Since the codes emitted lzw algorithm do not fall on byte boundaries, the encoder and decoder must agree on how codes are packed into bytes. In LSB-first packing, the first code is aligned so that the least significant bit of the code falls in the least significant bit of the first stream byte, and if the code has more than 8 bits, the high-order bits left over are aligned with the least significant bits of the next byte; further codes are packed with LSB going into the least significant bit not yet used lzw algorithm the current stream byte, proceeding into further bytes as necessary.

MSB-first packing aligns the first code so that its most significant bit falls in the MSB of the first stream byte, with overflow aligned with the MSB of the next byte; further codes are written with MSB going into the most significant bit not yet used in the current stream byte.

Example[ edit ] The following example illustrates the LZW algorithm in action, showing the status of the output and the dictionary at every stage, both in encoding and decoding the data.

This example has been constructed to give reasonable compression on a very short message. In real text data, repetition is generally less pronounced, so longer input lzw algorithm are typically necessary before the compression builds lzw algorithm efficiency.

  • LZW compression - Rosetta Code

The plaintext to be encoded from lzw algorithm alphabet using only the capital letters is: There are thus 26 symbols in the plaintext alphabet the lzw algorithm capital letters A through Zand the character represents a stop code. We arbitrarily assign these the values 1 through 26 for the letters, and 0 for ' '.

Lzw algorithm flavors of LZW would put the stop code after the data alphabet, but nothing in the basic algorithm requires that. The encoder and decoder only have to agree what value it has.