I need to compress an id for marketing campaigns. The current campaign id is 32-bit integer but obviously this is too long for a customer to type by hand. I would like to compress this to minimum length while still maintaining two-way compression/decompression and uniqueness of id.

What algorithm should I use?


1 Answer 1


A 32-bit id is so little data with so little redundancy to exploit that a true "compression algorithm" is likely not going to help much. On the other hand, simply using a higher numeric base where you use letters as well as digits to represent the number probably accomplishes exactly what you're after. For example, here's the largest possible 32-bit integer value in different bases:

Binary      1111111111111111111111111111111

Ternary     12112122212110202101

Quaternary  1333333333333333

Quinary     13344223434042

Senary      553032005531

Octal       17777777777

Decimal     2147483647

Duodecimal  4BB2308A7

Hexadecimal 7FFFFFFF

Vigesimal   1DB1F927

Base 36     ZIK0ZJ

Base 36 is a logical stopping point because the letters A-Z and the digits 0-9 give you exactly 36 symbols, so going to even higher bases would require introducing something less obvious and possibly difficult to type.

A six-digit "number" should be short enough for anyone to easily type by hand. I'll assume you can work out the trivial algorithm to convert a number from one base to another on your own.

  • Good stuff. BTW, base 36 is commonly called: Hexatrigesimal
    – Robbie Dee
    Mar 23, 2016 at 11:10
  • 1
    base 63 and 85 are also fairly common
    – jk.
    Mar 23, 2016 at 16:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.