Lempel–Ziv–Markov Chain Algorithm

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Lempel–Ziv–Markov Chain Algorithm (LZMA) is a LZ77-derived lossless data compression algorithm. It was developed over the years by Igor Pavlov. There are some similiarites to aPLib by Jørgen Ibsen. Initially it was internal part of 7zip application and was extracted by Pavlov around 2004 into LZMA SDK.

Despite lack of sensible documentation of the format and source code that for a long time was barely readable, LZMA quickly gained popularity. This can partially be attributed to following:

  • existence of windows GUI (7zip)
  • distributed as a free software (as compared to popular zip[1] or rar)
  • compression ratio usually higher than bzip2, while maintaining similar decompression speed


  1. ZIP's original compression algorithm (inflate) that resulted in deflate stream, was initially patented, the patent has expired.