Rumour goes that a professor once said to his class that they'd get an A+ in a course if they could invent a better compression method than dictionary compression(?), believing the problem to be impossible. Mr Huffman was sitting in the audience, and actually achieved it, creating 'Huffman Coding' and an A+ :)
an example HuffmanCoding might be |0| A |101| B |11|C
would be encoded as
for a total of 18 bits, compared to the 28 bits required for a straightforward 2 bits per character encoding.
This sounds like an UrbanLegend to me. DavidHuffman was not the one invented entropy driven compression; Claude Elwood Shannon and RobertMFano did that. DavidHuffman's contribution was to come up with an algorithm to create an optimal dictionary given a set of weights for a set of symbols which results in the minimum possible length of the encoded data stream. --AristotlePagaltzis
It's possibly a bit of an UrbanLegend, but he did design it for a term paper, I think anyone that invents an efficient compression method such as HuffmanCoding for a term paper deserves an A+ no matter what :) --PerryLorier