Data compression algorithms can be useful because they help reduce the consumption of expensive resources, such as hard disk space or transmission bandwidth. This however also comes at a cost—additional processing time to compress and subsequently decompress. Depending upon the speed of the data transfer, compression may reduce overall response times, which, ultimately, equates to speed—even though processing within the computer itself takes longer. For audio, MP3 is a compression method used extensively in portable sound systems. The efficiency of a data compression algorithm relates to the compression factor and speed of achieving both compression and decompression. Where the same data is likely to be read or transmitted many times, it is very worthwhile to achieve a very high compression ratio, even though such compression is much more expensive than a single decompression of the compressed data. Thus software applications should usually be stored in compressed form, but often aren't. For example, recent versions of MacOS are themselves usually stored on disk in compressed format, but their applications are usually stored in uncompressed format (even though they are typically installed from compressed archives).
Read more about this topic: Algorithmic Efficiency
Famous quotes containing the word size:
“Learn to shrink yourself to the size of the company you are in. Take their tone, whatever it may be, and excell in it if you can; but never pretend to give the tone. A free conversation will no more bear a dictator than a free government will.”
—Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (16941773)