adaptive Huffman coding


Definition: A near-minimal variable-length character coding that changes based on the frequency of characters processed. As characters are processed, frequencies are updated and codes are changed (or, the coding tree is modified).

Also known as dynamic Huffman coding.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
Huffman coding.

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
Vitter's algorithm, algorithm FGK.

Note: The total message length can be less than that produced by a static Huffman coding since the coding can be different at different places in the message.

Author: PEB

More information

Explanation of algorithm FGK and Vitter's Algorithm (algorithm V), two different adaptive Huffman coding algorithms.

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 14 July 2008.
HTML page formatted Fri Feb 23 10:06:07 2018.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "adaptive Huffman coding", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 14 July 2008. (accessed TODAY) Available from: