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The HP Weigh: Diversity and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle

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This is the second in a series of blogs on how the HP Way and the combined weight of HP’s research, business practices, and heart – what I call “the HP Weigh” - can contribute to a better future. Feel free to weigh in!


Driving diversity is a hot topic in board rooms, leadership conferences, and STEM classrooms. Like many companies, HP has a team that is specifically focused on educating, measuring, and improving diversity across our company.  This interest in diversity has generated research studies on the financial benefits and business case studies to prove or disprove the moral case. These studies provide persuasive evidence on improved financial performance when a more balanced number of women are included on boards and management. Motivated by this research companies such as Volvo, L’oreal and KPMG are using diversity to expand creativity, innovation, and robustness of design by actively filling traditional men only roles, such as car design, scientific research, and senior leadership with women.

Labels: Print & 3D

Interaction designer Ji Won Jun joins HP’s Immersive Experiences Lab



jwj_thumbnail.jpgJi Won Jun is one of the newest members of HP’s growing Immersive Experiences Lab, joining the team as a research engineer at the start of the year. Originally an interaction designer, Jun moved into Human-computer interaction research driven by an interest in technology and how we think about the future. “I see my job as bridging the two,” she says, adding that “the future hasn’t happened yet, which means that there are so many things that we can do - that’s the really exciting thing about this work.” Jun received her B.F.A. in Visual Communication Design from Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea and an M.F.A. in media design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. We checked in with her to hear what she’s hoping to explore at HP Labs.



Multimedia and the future of knowledge




Last November, I was invited to speak at the Bay Area Multimedia Forum. The weekend before the event, I had complete pharyngitis, to the extent that I couldn’t speak Saturday or Sunday at all. While this made my family and friends enjoy a nicer weekend than usual, it meant I was worried I would have to cancel the talk. Luckily, just enough of my voice came back to give a gravelly, but hopefully still relevant talk on the following outline:

Labels: Print & 3D

Coded Apertures and Precision Dairy



Dr. Daniel Lau of the University of Kentucky was recently in the Bay Area and stopped by HP Labs in Palo Alto to give a hosted technical presentation. The conversations ranged from coded apertures to precision dairy.




Labels: Print & 3D

The rebirth of manufacturing and “the HP Weigh”

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Steve-Simske_tcm_245_1680184.jpgThis is the first in a series of blogs on how the HP Way and the combined weight of HP’s research, business practices, and heart – what I call “the HP Weigh” - can contribute to a better future. Feel free to weigh in!


3D printing (3DP) flew off the peak of the hype rollercoaster last year and remains mid-pupil in the public eye. That’s no surprise, since it promises to underpin a new hybridization of mass production and mass customization that could help revive manufacturing in the Rust Belts and small communities of the world.


Understandably, too, HP’s pending entrance in the field has drawn a lot of media attention. Some of that is due to uncertainty about HP’s plans. In this blog, though, I hope to show how that should also be in anticipation of the power of what I call “the HP Weigh."


Labels: Print & 3D

HP Labs devises a new, handheld ink calibration tool to advance next generation commercial printing



At the heart of HP’s successful HP Indigo commercial printing business is a sophisticated ink – known as ElectroInk – that contains electrically chargeable particles that help ensure that Indigo’s presses achieve very high levels of print quality, stability, and durability at high marking engine speeds


Maintaining those levels, however, is a challenge, says Omer Gila, director of commercial printing research in HP’s Print and 3D Lab. “To make every print the same, you need to control all the parameters you subject your inks to, including the ElectroInk electrical properties and charges.” And while calibration sensors in a press are making sure that press and inks are running at their target specifications, he notes, “there is a need for a high precision external ElectroInk reference unit to monitor and calibrate press internal sensors, installing new inks, and qualifying new ElectroInk formulations.”

Labels: Print & 3D

On Available Energy and Joules as the Currency

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I’ve learned a lot about energy fundamentals, and about the importance of observation and inference, simply by traveling with my family – both overseas and in the USA. Observing a water tower near a railway station in India, for example, became a lesson in available energy and supply side infrastructure. With my children, I estimated the number of users in the township, their likely daily consumption, and thus the volume of water needed to supply the town on a daily basis. Then, given the water’s density, we determined the potential energy represented by its stored water – by estimating the height of the water tower.


Lei Liu is dreaming big at HP Labs



Liu_thumbnail2.jpgWhen HP Labs research scientist Lei Liu was a child in XianYang, China, he read a newspaper article detailing how HP originated in a garage in Palo Alto. “That inspired me,” he recalls. “Silicon Valley was clearly somewhere where you could have a dream, incubate it, and see it come true.” Today, Lei is living that dream as a member of HP’s Print and 3D Lab.  After studying for his B.S. and M.S. in computer science at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, he moved to Michigan State University where he received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering, focusing on data mining and machine learning. During his graduate studies, he interned at HP Labs in Palo Alto and then joined the Labs team full time in 2014. Since then, Lei’s been moving fast. He’s already filed for 19 patents, for one thing, with another six in the works.

Labels: Print & 3D

Personalized Learning – providing appropriate reading content to each individual

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One of our objectives in HP’s Print and 3D Lab is to develop a personalized learning technology platform that can tailor print and digital content to the specific learning style of any individual, driving improved learning outcomes for all.


Take any number of people and ask them to read the same book. Different individuals will read that same content with different reading skills, attention spans, background knowledge, interests, and so on. Some will comprehend the content more easily with multimedia than just plain text. Some will be able to sustain their reading attention, while others will need to take a break every few minutes.  


Labels: Print & 3D

Mithra Vankipuram looks out for users in HP’s Immersive Experiences Lab



profile_picture_april2013_s.jpgGrowing up, HP Labs research scientist Mithra Vankipuram was drawn equally to science, art, math, and engineering. “I’ve always liked applying ideas and building stuff,” she says. That led her to study computer science and engineering as an undergraduate at Anna University in Chennai, India, and then to move to Arizona State University to study for her M.S. in computer science. There she became interested in 3D simulation technologies, especially haptics, which create the sensation of force or touch for virtual tactile experiences. That inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical informatics where she addressed problems in healthcare environments, such as trauma critical care units, through the use of virtual reality. Recruited by HP as a post-doctoral researcher, Vankipuram officially joined HP Labs 3 years ago as a user experience researcher for projects in healthcare, retail, and big data analytics. This November, she became a founding member of HP’s new Immersive Experiences Lab and she spoke with us recently to share what she’s interested in, and inspired by, today.


Ugmos and Einsteins at the Cheltenham Science Festival



HP Labs, Bristol, are once again proud to be one of the major sponsors of the annual Cheltenham Science Festival. We have been supporting the festival, which runs over six days, for several years. It is a fun and vibrant event, making Science interesting for everyone, there are demos, presentations and so much more to enjoy.


Big crowds turned up at the Cheltenham Science Festival to see the celebrities of the science world and the ugmos of the animal world.


The former included Robert Winston, Brian Cox, and Jim Al-Khalili. The latter featured the blob fish, the Dracula ant and the purple pig-nosed frog.

Future engineers from Girls Innovate! visit HP Labs



Just before heading back to school from summer break, a group of high school girls passionate about math, science, and technology got to visit HP Labs in Palo Alto for a glimpse of how women engineers are making a difference in an industrial lab and beyond.


The teenagers were all members of Girls Innovate!, a Bay Area non-profit that works to educate, inspire, and mentor girls to positively impact the world through innovation. Their trip was organized by Puneet Sharma, a veteran cloud networking researcher in HP’s Networking and Mobility Lab. “For me, these girls are the future researchers of HP Labs. We need to engage with them early on and acquaint them with the nurturing environment that HP Labs provides for women technologists,” he suggested in introducing the group.

Reading analytics - analyzing how people read online



Georgia_2012_thumbnail.jpgIn the online world, there are two well-known “species” of user: “searchers” and “shoppers.” Each leaves a voluminous trail of information behind them. Web searchers mainly deposit search keywords and result clicks, while shoppers’ trails are made up of views, purchases, and rentals of products. Analytics algorithms have long mined for insights, user preferences, and leveraging crowd wisdom, with the ultimate aim of optimizing advertising, sales, products, services, and web sites.


The Web landscape has changed a lot the last few years, and new types of users have emerged. One notable new class is “online readers,” those who read content online in order to be informed, entertained, trained, educated, and so forth. The proliferation of textual content in a plurality of forms (including e-news, e-books, and online courses), along with the popularity of portable devices, has shaken the foundations of traditional printed forms. But it has also opened the door to new and exciting opportunities. Why? Because online readers leave their own digital trails in the form of page scrolls, turns, and other content interactions. Now organizations in digital printing, publishing, book retail, education, and other domains, as well as authors, educators, and other individuals, can leverage these trails to answer questions that were difficult or impossible to answer before. For starters, how long do people read in one session? How long do they stay on a page? How does that time vary by topic? When or where do they stop reading? These questions are only the beginning of a new kind of analytics, called reading analytics, that could significantly influence our future interactions with, and offerings to, online readers.

Labels: Print & 3D

HP Labs Middleware research enables Software-Defined Manufacturing



Mass customization, in Tseng and Jiao’s definition, is "producing [customized, personalized] goods and services to meet individual customer's needs with near mass production efficiency". It includes two seemingly competing objectives that make its realization challenging:


1) make individualized products (with a high value) to meet customers’ heterogeneous needs, resulting in ever smaller order sizes to the point where “every product is different” (EPID); and


2) deliver operational efficiency of a quality that successfully competes against mass production (think Henry Ford and assembly lines).


We are moving closer to widespread adoption of mass customization, however, thanks largely to technical innovations on two fronts. Firstly, we now have general-purpose machines that can produce diverse products (i.e. successive items of different shape and/or functionality) at more-or-less the same cost as creating copies of a single item in bulk (for example, via 3D printing). We also have software (middleware in particular) that can effectively and efficiently compose production workflows for individualized products and thread different machines (co-located, or geographically dispersed; of different capabilities, capacities, and availabilities) for workflow execution.

Labels: Print & 3D

A look at the software that powers 3D printing



I am a research manager at HP Labs and for the past several months I and members of my team have been working on software and algorithms aspects of HP’s new Multi Jet Fusion™ technology. 


HP Multi Jet FusionTM technology will revolutionize the 3D printing space. How?  HP Multi Jet FusionTM will print parts 10 times faster(1)  than current technologies, create parts that provide overall functionality through a combination of precision and strength at breakthrough economics(2). This is all done by using HP’s swath-wide array printing technology to selectively apply fusing and detailing agents to a powder material and then exposing the material to energy which leads to a thermo-chemical reaction to selectively fuse the material.  High geometric complexity does not add cost and set up times and costs are minimal.

Labels: Print & 3D

HP Labs researchers pilot a novel education platform at “Superhero School”



Researchers from HP Labs recently taught a pair of coding classes at “STEAM LEADS,”a pilot STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) enrichment program for middle school students offered by the Cupertino Library in Cupertino, California.


Led by HP Printing and Content Lab senior research scientist Rares Vernica, the workshops were part of set of activities built around the subject of honey bees in which students were challenged to “bee a Superhero” by learning about the value and vulnerability of the important pollinators.


For the HP-led classes, all the instructional materials were built on and delivered through HP METIS, a hybrid learning platform being developed by HP Labs.

Labels: Print & 3D

Steve Simske discusses Big Data and the Internet of Things



StevenJSimske_BMP_headshot.jpgTechnology companies love to talk about ‘Big Data’ and ‘The Internet of Things,’ but detailed use cases for how advances in either lead to a measurable difference to business and customer value are harder to find.


Attendees at HP Discover 2014 Barcelona, though, will hear about a powerful example of both on December 2nd, when Steve Simske, HP Fellow and director of the Content Solutions Lab at HP Labs, leads a discussion forum focused on HP’s Global Product Authentication Service (GPAS).


“GPAS, which we launched as an anti-counterfeiting solution from HP Software’s Professional Services group last year, combines product tracking, cryptographics, variable data printing, and analytics to provide unique insights into a corporation’s global supply chain,” Simske notes. “It’s already being used very effectively to combat fraud, but I’ll show how it also helps us enhance security, ensure quality and compliance, improve marketing, and run supply chains with greater efficiency.”

HP and San Jose State University pilot METIS



In the summer of 2014, a collaboration between HP Labs, HP’s Graphics Solutions business team and San José State University’s School of Information is testing a new platform for delivering educational course materials.


“We’re finding that students want to use both digital and print materials in their studies,” explains HP Labs research scientist and project manager Rares Vernica. “Based on that insight, we’ve combined the two to create a hybrid learning tool, called METIS that we hope will be a new kind of platform for content delivery in education.” 

Students meet at HP Labs for ‘HP CodeWars Silicon Valley’



On a Saturday morning earlier this month, nearly 200 students and parent/teacher chaperones gathered at HP Labs’ Palo Alto headquarters to compete in the second annual ‘HP CodeWars Silicon Valley.’


The competition, which is run entirely by HP employee volunteers and open to all high school students, public or private, drew 57 teams of students from 19 schools, including one from Connecticut and another from Downey, near Los Angeles. They met in HP Labs’ main dining room to tackle a set of 20 coding challenges using Java, JavaScript, C/C++/C#, or Python.

HP Labs celebrates 30 Years of innovation in Bristol



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.”

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