How computers compress text: A quick video by Tom Scott

We’ve been meaning to write a larger story on the great Youtube channel operated by Tom Scott  – and maybe have him in for an interview for our YouTube series – but for now we just want to point out a great video of his that went up yesterday.

It forms part of a series Scott is doing known as “The Basics” in which he explains various computing concepts with the help of detailed animations.

While compression is usually talked about in relation to audio and imagery, it’s nice to see such a great explanation of what happens to text, at least on a simple level.

If you have a spare six minutes and want to see how you compress Wild Wild West by Will Smith (that’s a lot of Ws) into less space, hit play below.

If that piqued your interest we’ve embedded the full series of The Basics below. The video on text compression is the latest at only episode 3, so we suggest subscribing to the channel so new videos land in your inbox.

If this is your first time watching a Tom Scott video we’d be remiss not to share the famous “Two Drums and a Cymbal Fall off a Cliff” video from before Scott focused on  interesting science and tech, and before he got a haircut.


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