Our friend won the fight against Google and now his algorithm is conquering the world

Google wanted to patent an algorithm developed and made public by Dr. Jarosław Duda, an employee of the Institute of Computer Science and Mathematics. The latter, however, with the help of lawyers, stopped the world giant from commercializing his idea. As he explains in an interview for Gazeta Wyborcza, he has never acted for profit, but for the sake of science and he wants everyone to be able to use his invention for free.

After winning the fight against Google for a patent, the coding created by the scientist from Krakow is revolutionizing the digital world. It is already considered one of its foundations: almost everyone who has a computer or smartphone uses it unknowingly.

Dr. Jarosław Duda from Jagiellonian University made the headlines outside of scientific world in 2017, when it turned out that the international giant, Google, wanted to patent the data compression method he had created. How was that possible? Doctor Duda made the results of his research available for the first time in 2006 publicly and for free, because he assumed from the beginning that his idea would be available to everyone, including private companies.

- Just like today, also then, I preferred to focus simply on science - explains the scientist who works at the Institute of Computer Science and Mathematics of Jagiellonian University.

Dr. Jarosław Duda collaborated on the use of his ANS coding with, among others, Apple and Facebook, and then also with Google. In 2017, he learned by accident that the latter company applied to the American patent office, wanting to patent his solution as its own. He wasn't going to just leave it like that. With the support of his home University, he and lawyers sent letters to the US patent office, and he was ready to take legal action. In the end, there was no trial - the American patent office rejected Google's application.

This is not only a success of a Polish scientist, but also a benefit for many of us. Although hardly anyone is aware of it, the Polish ANS encoding is used by practically everyone today - almost all computers and smartphones in the world use the compression method created in Poland.

- Coding is a language that computers use to communicate with each other. Sending and storing any information on them requires appropriate encoding for data compression. Today, most computers and telephones have data saved using the ANS method, explains Dr. Duda.

According to experts, his coding is one of the foundations of today's virtual world. Thanks to it, the speed and efficiency of information flow by electronic means increased as much as 30 times! This is all the more important as it is estimated that every day we produce a staggering amount of data in the world, reaching 2.5 trillion bytes, and on average every person on Earth produces 1.7 MB every second. Thanks to the compression method from Dr. Duda data is "reduced" in such a way as to make it faster and easier to circulate through the optical fibers.

Now the ANS encoding will be used even more widely - because the time is coming for new graphic file formats, JPEG XL, using the solution of the Polish scientist. Probably as soon as this year all electronic photos will be able to be saved in this format, for example by users of Android phones. In time, JPEG XL is expected to completely replace the old format. Thus, Polish coding will be used by even more people around the world.

- The new format means even a threefold reduction in the size of image files without losing their quality, a significant increase in their transfer speed, better graphics quality, especially in terms of colors, and more efficient opening of websites. It just has to be faster and more convenient - says Dr. Duda.

And when asked about cooperation with Google, he adds: - I don't talk to them anymore.

Published Date: 27.01.2020
Published by: Maciej Skwirczyński