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Fabrice Bellard

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Fabrice Bellard
Born1972 (age 51–52)
Grenoble, France
Alma materÉcole Polytechnique
Occupation(s)Co-founder and CTO, Amarisoft.[1]
Known forQEMU, FFmpeg, Tiny C Compiler, Bellard's formula

Fabrice Bellard (French pronunciation: [fa.bʁis bɛ.laʁ]; born 1972) is a French computer programmer known for writing FFmpeg, QEMU, and the Tiny C Compiler. He developed Bellard's formula for calculating single digits of pi. In 2012, Bellard co-founded Amarisoft, a telecommunications company, with Franck Spinelli.

Life and career[edit]

Bellard was born in 1972 in Grenoble, France and went to school in Lycée Joffre (Montpellier), where, at age 17, he created the executable compressor LZEXE.[2] After studying at École Polytechnique, he went on to specialize at Télécom Paris in 1996.

In 1997, he discovered a new, faster formula to calculate single digits of pi in hexadecimal representation, known as Bellard's formula. It is a variant of the Bailey–Borwein–Plouffe formula.

Bellard's entries won the International Obfuscated C Code Contest three times.[3] In 2000, he won in the category "Most Specific Output"[4] for a program that implemented the modular fast Fourier transform and used it to compute the then biggest known prime number, 26972593−1 (in the sense that it prints the decimal representation of this number, which itself is assumed to be known).[5] In 2001, he won in the category "Best Abuse of the Rules" for a tiny compiler (the source code being only 3 kB in size) of a strict subset of the C language for i386 Linux. The program itself is written in this language subset, i.e. it is self-hosting. In 2018, he won in the category "Most inflationary"[6] for an image decompression program.[7]

In 2002, he developed TinyGL, a subset of OpenGL suitable for embedded environments.

In 2003, he pushed the first commits of QEMU, developing it solo through v0.7.1 in 2005.[8]

In 2004, he wrote the TinyCC Boot Loader, which can compile and boot a Linux kernel from source in less than 15 seconds.[9] In 2005, he designed a system that could act as an Analog or DVB-T Digital TV transmitter by directly generating a VHF signal from a standard PC and VGA card.[10] In 2011, he created a minimal PC emulator written in pure JavaScript. The emulated hardware consists of a 32-bit x86 compatible CPU, a 8259 Programmable Interrupt Controller, a 8254 Programmable Interrupt Timer, and a 16450 UART.[11]

On 31 December 2009 he claimed the world record for calculations of pi, having calculated it to nearly 2.7 trillion places in 90 days. Slashdot wrote: "While the improvement may seem small, it is an outstanding achievement because only a single desktop PC, costing less than US$3,000, was used—instead of a multi-million dollar supercomputer as in the previous records."[12][13] On 2 August 2010 this record was eclipsed by Shigeru Kondo who computed 5 trillion digits, although this was done using a server-class machine running dual Intel Xeon processors, equipped with 96 GB of RAM.

In 2011 he won an O'Reilly Open Source Award.[14]

In 2014 he proposed the Better Portable Graphics (BPG) image format as a replacement for JPEG.[15]

In July 2019 he released QuickJS, a small and embeddable JavaScript engine.[16]

In April 2021, his artificial neural network–based data compressor, NNCP, took first place out of hundreds in the Large Text Compression Benchmark.[17] The compressor uses Bellard's own artificial neural network library, LibNC ("C Library for Tensor Manipulation"), which is publicly available.[18]

In August 2023, Bellard released ts_zip, a lossy text compressor using large language models.[19][20] He updated it in March 2024, making the algorithm considerably faster as well as hardware-independent.[21]

In April 2024, Bellard released TSAC, an audio compression utility that can achieve really low bitrates of 5.5kb/s (mono) or 7.5kb/s (stereo) while still preserving reasonable audio quality at 44.1kHz.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About Us". amarisoft.com. Archived from the original on 28 July 2020. Retrieved 2 Apr 2019.
  2. ^ "LZEXE Home Page". bellard.org. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Previous IOCCC Winners". www0.us.ioccc.org. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Previous IOCCC Winners". www0.us.ioccc.org. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-20. Retrieved 2011-05-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Who won the 25th IOCCC". www.ioccc.org. Retrieved 2018-05-07.
  7. ^ "Description of Fabrice Bellard's image decompression entry".
  8. ^ "GitLab: QEMU-Project/QEMU - tag v0.7.1". Retrieved 2024-03-21.
  9. ^ "TCCBOOT Compiles And Boots Linux In 15 Seconds". Slashdot. 2004-10-25.
  10. ^ "Digital TV Transmitter using a VGA card". Slashdot. 2005-06-13.
  11. ^ "Javascript PC Emulator – Technical Notes". Fabrice Bellard. 2011-05-14.
  12. ^ New Pi Computation Record Using a Desktop PC January 5, 2010
  13. ^ Jason Palmer (2010-01-06). "Pi calculated to 'record number' of digits". BBC News.
  14. ^ "OSCON 2011: O'Reilly Open Source Awards". Archived from the original on 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
  15. ^ "BPG Image format". Fabrice Bellard. 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  16. ^ "QuickJS Javascript Engine". bellard.org. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  17. ^ Mahoney, Matt. "Large Text Compression Benchmark".
  18. ^ "LibNC: C Library for Tensor Manipulation". bellard.org. Retrieved 2021-03-14.
  19. ^ By (2023-08-27). "Text Compression Gets Weirdly Efficient With LLMs". Hackaday. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  20. ^ "ts_zip: Text Compression using Large Language Models". bellard.org. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  21. ^ "ts_zip: Text Compression using Large Language Models". bellard.org. Retrieved 2024-03-06.
  22. ^ By (2024-04-24). "TSAC: Very Low Bitrate Audio Compression". bellard.org. Retrieved 2024-06-12.

External links[edit]