Re: How big could a bar code be if a bar code be big?

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Sat May 01 2004 - 14:48:44 CDT

> Perhaps "optimal encoding" is what I am thinking of as a form of data
> compression.

Well... I think so. But the word 'compression' doesn't mean what you
think it means.

Anyway, the election-entropy.py program I posted gives the theoretical
optima for encoding each type of election. Moreover, it is not
difficult to create a concrete encoding that exactly matches this
optimal limit. Well, the ranked preference will require a little
thought, but the others are almost self-evident.

Within the next day or two, I promise to post a program that will take
an arbitrary ballot-election.xml file, and encode every legal vote it
in a way that exactly matches the actual entropy of the election.
However, I will use bit-boundaries per contest, as described in my
prior note. It's just easier to program it this way, and MUCH easier
to debug and audit later.

I guess I'll arrange it so that output can be either as a binary- or a
decimal-digit string. I suppose as a raw number also. This will let
downstream callers use the form they most like.

So hold off, everyone, on speculation of all the possible encodings.
Theoretical optimum is not hard to obtain... and, well, you're not
going to do better than that :-).
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Received on Mon May 31 23:17:01 2004

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