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Introducing HP Labs Russia

St. Petersburg team to research information management


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Russia is full of promise -- we see a lot of creative people, and that is ideal for HP Labs.

January 2007

» Russian translation

HP Labs is opening its seventh site in St. Petersburg, Russia, to pursue advanced technologies for extracting and organizing useful information from the explosion of vast, unstructured aggregations of data brought about by the advent of the Worldwide Web.

The Russia facility is HP Labs' seventh worldwide and third since 2002.

HP has operated in Russia for four decades, and is the No. 1 IT vendor in that nation. The new lab aims to tap Russia' rich pool of technical talent.

"A globally distributed R&D network allows HP to access research talent anywhere and collaborate around the world to create new technologies for our customers," said Shane Robison, executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer, HP.

To learn more about plans for the new site, we talked with Beth Keer, who is leading creation of the lab and is its acting director. Keer is also director of HP Labs' Information Services and Process Innovation Lab.

What led HP to select Russia as the site of the newest HP Labs?

Keer: Russia is full of promise for HP. We've been doing business there for 40 years, and already have a large customer base. More than that, Russia has a thriving economy with a lot of brainpower and entrepreneurial talent – and the intellectual resources to support HP's research and development needs. Within the research field, we see a lot of creative people with strong mathematics and computer science backgrounds. And that is ideal for HP Labs.


And why St. Petersburg?

Keer: St. Petersburg has a long history of education and, of course, it is Russia 's second largest city. It has a wealth of universities and research institutes. What we are noticing is that St Petersburg is becoming a rapidly growing IT hub – in the U.S, we would say it has the beginnings of a Silicon Valley.

Our relationships in Russia won't be confined to St. Petersburg, however. We will be working with research partners in Moscow and other cities within Russia.

In addition to work begun with Moscow's Kurchatov Institute, we have established early research collaborations with other universities and research institutes, including the Institute for System Programming of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, St Petersburg State Polytechnic University, University of St. Petersburg, and PSI RAS Pereslavl-Zalessky. As we find other research partners working in information management areas, we will consider adding collaborations.


What kind of people are you recruiting in Russia?

Keer: The philosophy of our founders, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, was simple – just hire the best talent and let them focus on what they love doing. Within HP Labs, we have the same philosophy.

But we do require something more than talent and imagination in our researchers. We also expect them to have insights about how innovations can be linked to HP products and services so that their breakthroughs will have the maximum impact on our business. Now that our intentions for the lab have been made public, we are going into full hiring mode.


Why has HP chosen to have the new HP Labs in Russia focus on information management?

Keer: Information management is a vital research area for the coming decade. It is a very high priority for both our enterprise and our consumer customers. I also expect that as HP Labs Russia grows we will develop other research areas; one of the key roles that HP labs is to stay ahead of new technical challenges that our customers face. Because those challenges vary over time, our research portfolio changes as well.


Why is information management so important?

Keer: You could argue that information management is a Next Big Thing. Applying algorithms and analytics to data to make better use of it and to improve business processes is one of the hottest areas in computer research.

Digital information is growing at a clip that most businesses and individuals can't cope with. Some experts like IDC say digital data is growing at a rate of over 50 percent a year. This creates tremendous strain on both IT environments and the human beings trying to make sense of the data.

There are many advanced IT needs in this field. Besides just coping with the sheer scale of the information management problem – storing the data, managing the systems, there is also the need to remove duplicates, compress data so it takes up less space, manage it based on corporate policies, preserve it for the long term.

Our enterprise customers also need better information management to cope with government regulation and to deal with risks to their information security and their customers' privacy.

There is a wealth of opportunities for extracting useful information from today's glut of raw data and allowing businesses to offer better services to their customers.

In its internal operations, HP is using better information management to create innovative business processes: whether it is machine learning techniques applied to analysis of customer support call records, supply chain management, reduction of product SKUs or currency hedging.


What sorts of applications might come out of HP Labs Russia?

Keer: I can't foresee all the applications researchers at HP Labs Russia will create. After all, it is their job to come up with things that haven't been invented yet. But I will stress that our approach is to create research prototypes that solve real customer information management problems.

One of the things we are committed to at HP Labs Russia is joint research with some of HP's leading customers in Russia in the private and public sector. Many of our important innovations have come from collaborating actively with leading-edge customers and helping them solve their most difficult problems.


How closely is this research linked to HP’s corporate strategy?

Keer: We try to tie all of HP Labs' research to either today's HP business strategies or tomorrow's strategic intent. HPL-Russia will be a full fledged member of the global HP research community. We're not just outsourcing software development or support. We are developing a magnet research organization that will help HP build more innovative products in the future.


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» Read this story in Russian
» HP Labs Russia
» News release
» HP Russia

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