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Exploring Compression and the Aesthetics of Creativity

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Lossless compression algorithms such as that due to Lempel, Ziv and Welch compress data by identifying exact symbol matches with sequences of historical data. For certain types of data more effective compression can be achieved by looking for approximate matches and storing both the pointer to the historical sequence and the (simple) algorithm for transforming it into the new sequence. Decomposing sequences into such variations-on-a-theme seems tantalisingly similar to the way humans perceive patterns, for example, when listening to music. In this talk I present a brief and informal exploration of what we mean by a pattern and how it may provide a connection between compression and creativity.

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