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The adaptive wavelet packet basis is applied to the efficient representation of the moment matrix. It is found that the transformed moment matrices have about O(N/sup 1.4/) above-threshold elements for an L-shaped scatterer. This is a significant improvement from that achievable using the conventional wavelet transform. Similar results have also been obtained for other scatterers, which suggests that the effectiveness of the algorithm is independent of the scatterer geometry. Therefore the algorithm can lead to a significant complexity reduction in solving electromagnetic integral equations.