Being able to compress well is closely related to intelligence as explained below. While intelligence is a slippery concept, file sizes are hard numbers. Wikipedia is an extensive snapshot of Human Knowledge. If you can compress the first 100MB of Wikipedia better than your predecessors, your (de)compressor likely has to be smart(er). The intention of the Human Knowledge Compression Prize [Hut06] is to encourage development of intelligent compressors/programs.
Some of the following four subgoals shall be addressed:
- Get acquainted with the current state of the art compressor and in particular with the prize winning paq series, and write a comparative survey.
- Develop and test novel compression ideas.
- Integrate them into one of the state-of-the-art compressors.
- Investigate alternative performance measures that take the compressor more seriously into account (rather than only the decompressor).
- good programming skills
- experience in understanding and extending existing code
- good writing skills
- performing (computer) experiments and analyzing results
- Alternatively: Excellent math skills.
- getting acquainted with state-of-the-art compression methodologies.
- winning a prize (but don't count on it, it's going to be tough).