Contributed by Simon Firth, freelance technology journalist
HP Labs this summer marked the 30th anniversary of the founding of its Bristol, UK lab, the company’s first research facility to be based outside the US. A full day of celebratory events at the lab included a lunch for current employees and an evening reception that welcomed back former colleagues who had worked in the lab over the last three decades.
“HP Labs Bristol has built for itself an enviable reputation for successfully addressing real-world problems in concrete terms,” noted Martin Sadler, director of the Bristol Labs site on the occasion of the anniversary. “This was a great opportunity to recall the achievements we’ve all shared in the past, to take pride in where we are today, and to look forward to the exciting future ahead.”
From its inception, HP Labs Bristol has cultivated leadership in a wide range of technical fields. Its researchers developed key technologies for HP's data center products, for example, and were deeply involved in developing tools and standards for the Semantic Web, which provided a common framework for data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise and community boundaries. Other key contributions include HP Virus Throttle technology, the SmartFrog framework for distributed applications, the DSpace digital archiving system, and the Memory Spot wireless data chip.
“Most recently, our research has been about the technology that keeps the internet up-and-running and our online world safe – and that will continue as Bristol researchers make contributions to both HP Inc. and Hewlett Packard Enterprise,” added Sadler, who will lead Security and Manageability research for Hewlett Packard Enterprise after the two companies are created later in the year.
Located in western England less than two hours from London, the Bristol lab is part of a larger HP campus, sharing its home with HP’s StoreOnce and StoreEver businesses and several major customer account units.
Bristol is also at the heart of a vibrant academic, cultural, and industrial community that includes British Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, and a number of major services companies. It is home to the University of Bristol, University of the West of England (UWE) and the University of Bath as well as the BBC's regional headquarters and some of the world's best-known digital animation companies, including Aardman and 422. Local HP Labs researchers have long nurtured strong ties with many of these organizations, as well as many others across Europe.
Left to right: European Projects Director Nick Wainwright, Director of HP Labs Bristol Martin Sadler, Senior Research Manager Richard Brown