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Creator of GIF file format passes on at age 74

By Liu Hongzuo - on 24 Mar 2022, 12:11pm

Creator of GIF file format passes on at age 74

Stephen Wilhite's obituary announcement.

Stephen Wilhite, a lead inventor of the GIF file format, passed away last week from Covid-19 infection.

According to The Verge, who spoke with the late inventor’s spouse, he was surrounded by family at the time of his passing. His online obituary page can be found here.

GIFs (Graphic Interchange Format) was invented in 1987, four years before the widespread introduction of the Internet (World Wide Web). GIF was designed for sending colour image files without occupying too much computing memory. Stephen Wilhite was instrumental in creating the compression algorithm. The Smithsonian Magazine (a publication managed by the Smithsonian Institution) has a brief write-up on the history of GIFs.

Stephen Wilhite went on record in The New York Times in 2013 to clarify that the word “GIF” is pronounced “jif”, with a soft “G” sound.

Source: The Verge

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