Archive photo: Using the computer
Archive photo: Using the computerIstock

Jacob Ziv, a groundbreaking Israeli computer scientist and researcher who made it possible for many of today's digital technologies, including co-inventing the mp3, PDF and zip formats, has passed away at the age of 91.

Ziv, who was born in Tiberias in 1931, studied electrical engineering at the Technion before gaining a doctorate from MIT in 1962.

In the mid to late 1950s, Ziv was a senior research engineer in the Israeli Ministry of Defense’s Scientific Department where he worked on the development of communication systems.

He went on to work as a leading professor at the Technion, where he did pioneering research in data compression, information theory, and statistical communication theory, and also worked for a time at Bell Laboratories.

In 1993, Ziv was honored with the Israel Prize for sciences. He was also the recipient of several Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) awards for contributions to computer science.

In 2021, Ziv was given the IEEE Medal of Honor, the organization’s highest honor "for fundamental contributions to information theory and data compression technology, and for distinguished research leadership.”

“We are saddened to hear about the death of Professor Jacob Ziv, one of Israel's trailblazers in the field of computer science who, alongside Professor Avraham Lempel, developed the technology which paved the way for ZIP, PDF, and MP3 formats,” the StandWithUs advocacy organization said in a statement.

“He passed away on Sunday at the age of 91. May his memory and contributions to humanity forever be a blessing.”