Word-based Statistical Compressors as Natural Language Compression Boosters

Antonio Fariña, Gonzalo Navarro, and José Paramá

Semistatic word-based byte-oriented compression codes are known to be attractive alternatives to compress natural language texts. With compression ratios around 30%, they allow direct pattern searching on the compressed text up to 8 times faster than on its uncompressed version.

In this paper we reveal that these compressors have even more benefits. We show that most of the state-of-the-art compressors such as the block-wise bzip2, those from the Ziv-Lempel family, and the predictive ppm-based ones, can benefit from compressing not the original text, but its compressed representation obtained by a word-based byte-oriented statistical compressor.

In particular, our experimental results show that using Dense-Code-based compression as a preprocessing step to classical compressors like bzip2, gzip, or ppmdi, yields several important benefits. For example, the ppm family is known for achieving the best compression ratios. With a Dense coding preprocessing, ppmdi achieves even better compression ratios (the best we know of on natural language) and much faster compression/decompression than ppmdi alone.

Text indexing also profits from our preprocessing step. A compressed self-index achieves much better space and time performance when preceded by a semistatic word-based compression step. We show, for example, that the AF-FMindex coupled with Tagged Huffman coding is an attractive alternative index for natural language texts.