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Mark Adler

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Mark Adler
Mark Adler at JPL in 2002
Born (1959-04-03) April 3, 1959 (age 65)
Alma materUniversity of Florida,
California Institute of Technology
Known forAdler-32, zlib
Scientific career
FieldsData compression, Space exploration
InstitutionsJet Propulsion Laboratory
Doctoral advisorMark Wise
Websitehttps://madler.net/madler/ (old website archived at the Wayback Machine and Ghostarchive

Mark Adler (born 1959) is an American software engineer. He is best known for his work in the field of data compression as the author of the Adler-32 checksum function, and a co-author together with Jean-loup Gailly of the zlib compression library[1] and gzip.[2] He has contributed to Info-ZIP, and has participated in developing the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) image format.[3][4] Adler was also the Spirit Cruise Mission Manager for the Mars Exploration Rover mission.[5][6]

Early life and education


Adler was born in Miami, Florida and raised as the only child of David and Bertha Adler. Adler earned his Bachelor of Science in mathematics and Master of Science in electrical engineering degrees from the University of Florida in 1981 and 1985, respectively. In 1990, Adler earned his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology.[4]





After his doctorate, Adler worked for Hughes Aircraft in their Space and Communications Group, working on diverse projects including the analysis of the effects of X-ray bursts on satellite cables, development of new error-correcting codes, designing an automobile anti-theft key, and digital image and video compression research (wavelets and MPEG-2).[4]

Mars exploration


From 1992 through 1995, Adler was the Lead Mission Engineer on the Cassini–Huygens mission.[4] Afterwards, he became the Mars Exploration Program Architect at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from 1996 through 1998, which meant that Adler was responsible for planning the Mars exploration missions from 2001 on as well as handling inter-project engineering issues for missions in flight and in development during the time.[6] In 1999 and early 2000, Adler was the Mission and Systems Manager and Chief Engineer for the Mars Sample Return project, which was to launch three missions in 2003 and 2005 to bring Martian samples back to Earth in 2008. The project was canceled after the failure of Mars Polar Lander.[6]

Mars Exploration Rover mission


Adler initiated and led a three-and-a-half-week study on the concept that was later selected as the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission for 2003. He has served as the Deputy Mission System Manager, the Acting Project Engineer, the Deputy Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations Manager, the Landing Site Selection Engineer, and the Spirit Mission Manager.[6]

Low Density Supersonic Decelerator


Adler is currently the project chief of the Low Density Supersonic Decelerator.[7]

Personal life and interests


Adler is an instrument-rated private pilot, a certified scuba diver, and an amateur theater actor.[8]

He is married to Diana St. James. They live in La Cañada, California. They have two children, Joshua and Zachary. St. James works at the California Institute of Technology and acts in and directs theatrical performances.[4]

Awards and recognition


Together with co-author Jean-loup Gailly, Adler received the 2009 USENIX Software Tools User Group (STUG) award for their contributions to FLOSS algorithms for data compression.[9]


  1. ^ Gailly, Jean-loup; L. Peter Deutsch (May 1996). ZLIB Compressed Data Format Specification version 3.3. IETF. doi:10.17487/RFC1950. RFC 1950. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "The gzip home page". July 27, 2003. Retrieved June 29, 2015. gzip was written by Jean-loup Gailly…and Mark Adler for the decompression code.
  3. ^ Roelofs, Greg (March 14, 2009). "History of the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) Format". Retrieved June 29, 2015. Within one week, most of the major features of PNG had been proposed, if not yet accepted: delta-filtering for improved compression (Scott Elliott and Mark Adler).…The true glory is really reserved for three people, however: Info-ZIP's Jean-loup Gailly and Mark Adler (both also of gzip fame), who originally wrote Zip's deflate() and UnZip's inflate() routines and then, for PNG, rewrote them as a portable library called zlib; and Guy Eric Schalnat of Group 42, who almost single-handedly wrote the libpng reference implementation (originally pnglib) from scratch.
  4. ^ a b c d e Adler, Mark (2008-08-09). "About Mark Adler". Caltech Alumni Web Server. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  5. ^ "Mission Control: Who's at the Helm?". Mars Exploration Rover. Jet Propulsion Laboratory. January 3, 2004. Retrieved June 29, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "Zip Code Mars Contribution: Contributions to Mars Exploration". Mark Adler. NASA. February 2008. Archived from the original on 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  7. ^ Carney, Emily (July 1, 2014). "NASA's Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator Test Flight Hailed as a Success". AmericaSpace. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
  8. ^ "Zip Code Mars Contribution: Personal Reflections". Mark Adler. NASA. February 2008. Retrieved 2013-03-14.[dead link]
  9. ^ "STUG Award". USENIX. 2015. Retrieved June 29, 2015.