HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ inspires real compression algorithm Piper Pied

Lindsey Caldwell - May 4, 2015
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HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ inspires real compression algorithm Piper Pied

In the HBO comedy Silicon Valley, Richard and his team, Pied Piper, accidentally create a lossless compression algorithm, whipping all of the big tech companies of the fictional world into a frenzy over the potential in the inadvertent discovery. Today, at the Disrupt New York Hackathon, a team of siblings, Nancy Ghaly and Peter Ma debuted their own lossless compression algorithm. Taking inspiration from the HBO series, the duo named it Piper Pied. The real-life Piper Pied is a compression algorithm that identifies people’s faces and compresses the data around them.

According to Ma, “The algorithm detects the face and then from there it can compress everything else but the face so that you keep the quality of the face while technically lowering the quality in a way that is not noticeable to the human eye.”

Ironically, Piper Pied used media from the Silicon Valley TV show to demonstrate its online compression algorithm, reducing the transfer image size by 50%. There is no word whether this real-life compression algorithm follows the fictional formula’s innovative “middle-out” design, but it could be a tangible solution to a possible “datageddon.”

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In the U.S. data storage is easy and inexpensive. Subscription cloud services always seem to have introductory offers of free GB on the cloud. In some countries with poor infrastructure, it’s another story, and data storage can be expensive. As more people heavily rely on cloud computing, reducing the actual amount of data transferred back and forth could help forestall the ominous “data shortages, data rationing, [and] data black markets” forwarned by tech giants from the fictional series.

You can actually try compressing your own images using Piper Pied, right here.

Source: Tech Crunch


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