What's in a Name?

The name MP3 is an abbreviation of the term "MPEG-1 layer-3." MPEG is an acronym that stands for the Moving Pictures Experts Group, a working group formed under the joint direction of the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electro-Technical Commission (IEC).   MPEG works to develop "international standards for compression, decompression, processing, and coded representation of moving pictures, audio and their combination."   MPEG-1 audio layer-3, MP3, is a subsystem of one such set of standards promulgated by MPEG dealing exclusively with audio compression.  In creating the MP3 algorithm, MPEG designers employed a technique called perceptual coding that takes into account the perception of sound waves by the human ear.   Using these perceptual coding techniques gleaned from facts about the human ear, it is possible to eliminate parts of the song without reducing sound quality for the listener.  MP3 combines these techniques with other proven compression techniques to achieve a high level of data reduction while retaining near-CD quality sound.

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