A data compression technique which varies the length of the encoded symbol in proportion to its information content, that is the more often a symbol or token is used, the shorter the binary string used to represent it in the compressed stream. Huffman codes can be properly decoded because they obey the prefix property, which means that no code can be a prefix of another code, and so the complete set of codes can be represented as a binary tree, known as a Huffman tree. Huffman coding was first described in a seminal paper by D.A. Huffman in 1952.
Last updated: 1994-12-23