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Building the next generation of IT

Dick Lampman, director of HP Labs and senior vice president, research, HP, discusses research into next-generation data centers, Grid for the enterprise, commercial printing, quantum cryptography and more.

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"Building the next generation of IT"
HP Technology@Work
Berlin, Germany
April 27, 2006

Good morning. I’m glad to be here and have the opportunity to share with you how HP’s research and development organizations deliver value to you.

Few companies invest in their own research labs, but this company believes that invention and innovation are vital to a successful future. And because a strong research program is such a valuable asset – we spend a great deal of time on focusing our research strategy.

I’ll explain how we operate and then share a few examples of our priority projects.

HP as a whole spends around $3.5 billion a year on research and development. A percentage of that budget goes to HP Labs. Although much of our work is from 3 to 15 years out, we often find the benefit of our work is delivered more quickly.

It’s in our DNA to take on big problems, so that traditional timeframe sometimes fades into the background, as we work with leading-edge customers to tackle today’s problems.

We are a pragmatic team and we believe that doing great science while creating real impact is not only possible but advantageous.

We operate worldwide and have lab sites in Palo Alto, California; Bristol, England; Beijing, China; Tokyo, Japan; Haifa, Israel, and; Bangalore, India.

These locations have been carefully chosen because they allow us access to markets, technology communities and top talent throughout the world.

In our R&D organization, we have computer scientists, information theory specialists, mechanical and electrical engineers, and physicists. Interdisciplinary work is as key as location. The network of talent matters.

HP has from its very beginning been a company that’s been defined by innovation. From the research organization there has been a steady stream of innovation that you may be familiar with, including inkjet technology, smart cooling for the data center and a trailblazing articulation in the vision of the next generation data center concept.

So, let’s look at what we are seeing today in industry-transforming technologies and where HP is focusing its research expertise.

Key research areas

The next generation of information technologies lead the list.

That’s an all-encompassing title for the technology that can be delivered in a modular way and that will lead to dramatic improvements in the cost and efficiency of information technology. All are part of an adaptive infrastructure. It’s a huge challenge, but we are claiming leadership in many areas.

We are helping to automate and virtualize the operation of large-scale data centers to drive down costs.

We are also expanding HP’s printing franchise, helping move the company from the office and home applications into commercial and industrial printing.

And, in the area of mobility, one of the most explosive growth areas in the market today, we are developing new technologies and extensive intellectual property.

All are industry- and HP-transforming.

Building an adaptive infrastructure

Let’s start with what’s probably closest to your heart -- enterprise computing and the adaptive infrastructure needed to deliver a next-generation data center. We are moving down the path toward a future of automated, 24X7, lights-out data centers.

Not only do we have to address total cost of ownership, we have to simplify the technology through the use of automation. Reliability will be improved as automation reduces human error.

Our enterprise customers are working with enormous complexity and we must provide technologies that allow them to simplify the way they manage that complexity. Some of the key challenges include:

  • systems and services
  • power and cooling
  • management
  • security
  • virtualization
  • automation

Believe me, these are the elements most of you deal with everyday -- and we are very aware of the challenges.

HP is rapidly introducing technologies, products and services in all of these areas.

Grid for the enterprise

We also continue to build upon our considerable experience in the Grid computing space. There is a program in Labs called Tiramisu. (I can only assume that it got its name from layers of different complexities.)

The origins of the Grid were in technical computing for scientists and engineers. We believe that Grid technologies will also have an important role in enterprise computing for business.

The Open Standards we are helping to develop will enable a common language for management across multiple data centers.

Grid technologies and the Tiramisu project are elements of our research in support HP’s adaptive infrastructure strategy.

This is an open software program, and we started gathering participants in 2002. It was harder than you might imagine. Almost every government and university had Grid projects, but most were on paper. We needed partners with the real tools to become fully operational.

• We wanted research that would produce results.
• We needed to experiment and receive feedback.
• We wanted to establish a solid, practical foothold in Enterprise-class Grid computing

We've done that.

We are now working closely with data centers in Russia, Canada, Singapore and tied into the China Grid via our strong university relations group.

All are public installations. All run demanding computational jobs:

• Russia is focused on SAP, engineering, oil and gas.
• Canada is working on enterprise applications, oil and gas, physics.
• Singapore focuses on multimedia, bioinformatics and the virtual desktops.

We also work closely with CERN, the world’s largest particle physics lab – and, incidentally, the place where the World Wide Web was born.

Markets for compute power

Another research project explores how your enterprise will distribute and allocate compute power in the future. This technology could be applied to shared resources inside your enterprise or for Internet-based resources outside the enterprise.

It’s software that will provide a market-based resource allocation, a 10-second-or-less, stock market-type bid.
What if you need compute power, but you don’t know how much you’ll need to get your job done? You can already purchase by the hour but what if you want the option of buying when it’s less expensive. How would you do that? How would you know when that might be in a grid where demand and supply change constantly?

HP Labs is developing that service. One of our top researchers and his team call it Tycoon. It will provide a sophisticated means for managing resources in the shared services model. We believe it’s the way of the future.

Customized marketing

Now, let’s move on to another of those industry transformations: commercial printing

Commercial printing is a huge opportunity. Our success in printing has been built on the desktop and it’s been a wonderful business for us, but we were essentially addressing only four percent of the total print market.

We’re combining our strengths in printing and imaging, and in enterprise computing, move marketing organizations from . inflexible, mass-produced campaigns into a world of customized marketing material that can be created on demand. The technology uses variable-print templates and tools that automate the creation of sophisticated custom content and a new high speed printing technology that can deliver output where every page can be unique. it can do this at a very high quality and a very low cost.

I’m sure many of you can think of many ways to use this capability for high-impact marketing materials.

Streaming media architecture

The telecommunications network has been through several big transformations – switching wired networks to digital mobile phones and now to media streaming and interactive services. HP Labs has played a lead role in creating secure streaming media -- something we were told could not be done.

Labs researchers have worked with some of the largest mobile operators in the world to understand what drives them. This way, we are able to develop technology for the needs they were ultimately going to have.

We’re developing an architecture called OpenStream that will eventually stream multimedia across different devices on different networks. It’s a big undertaking, but we have made considerable progress and have valuable intellectual property in this area.

Tapping mobile services with RFID

We’re also researching how retailing will change as we integrate the telco, Internet and the emerging “Internet of things” that will be enabled by RFID.

Our researchers in Japan are taking the lead here. Their focus is on developing a ubiquitous mobile services platform that lets mobile operators aggregate and offer a wide range of services and promotions to consumers who choose this service.

We see the day when mobile operators will offer retailers the chance to target promotions to a particular group of mobile users at a specific time of day and in specific locations.

Bank holiday coming up? Would you like to be able to work with mobile operators to offer specials to targeted customers?

We think RFID-enabled mobile phones will play a big part in tomorrow’s advertising. The platform we’re developing for mobile operators will accommodate RFID technology.

RFID is no longer confined to the warehouse. It’s going to be in mobile phones, turning them into RFID readers that can communicate with objects that are equipped with RFID tags. This is when we will have the Internet of Things.

When we do, you’ll get more information about products or services. This new technology is more than just RFID tags and readers; it also involves technologies to enable privacy, trust and security, which will be key to consumer acceptance.

Future technologies

My time is almost up, so I’d like to talk a bit about nanotechnology and the quantum world -- the world of molecules, atoms and photons.

Technologies in this space may seem like science fiction to many of you, but much is happening right now.

Our chosen areas of nanotechnology are focused on architecture, mechanics, light and electrons. We anticipate that the structures we are now building will be integrated into systems with trillions of components within the next few decades.

Our lab is considered by many to be the world leader in this nanometer-device-building area.

But right now I’d like to focus on something else in the quantum world – security – and a technology we anticipate will show up within just a few years.

Quantum cryptography

We’re using quantum physics to create unbreakable security for widespread e-commerce.

We know that the conventional means of securing e-commerce transactions could well be broken one day, either by a clever mathematician developing a new algorithm, or by the creation of a quantum computer, which can effortlessly break the mathematical codes which secure modern information systems and networks.

Our researchers are taking advantage of the laws of quantum physics, which state that you can’t observe a quantum system without changing its state and thereby unavoidably leaving evidence that you looked at it.

They’ve found a way to distribute completely secure and disposable codes that two parties – say you and your bank – can use to identify each other and encrypt messages.

These one-time pads of code are known to and decipherable by only the two parties authorized to use them.

For long-distance communication, one-time pads are created and distributed using photons pulsed over optical telecommunication networks – a process called quantum key distribution.

Because it’s quantum distribution, a hacker can’t go undetected in his attempts to grab the code because he ends up leaving evidence of his efforts – evidence you and your bank can detect. And when you do, you can toss those tainted codes and keep only the secure ones. The hacker ends up with bits of code that are useless.

Worldwide there is a lot of research underway into creating secure quantum networks between enterprises and inside them. HP Labs is working to bring quantum security to the end user.

We’re researching inexpensive and short-range technology that would put quantum security in every mobile device you own, so you could securely use your handheld device at the cash machine or to turn on your computer in your office.

A couple of years ago, Quantum Key Distribution for consumers was just an idea. Now it works in the laboratory in Bristol.

In a couple of years' time we’ll have prototype technology to realize this vision. We’ll be releasing more information on this technology later this year.

Customer engagements

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into our labs. I have enjoyed presenting for you.

There are two thoughts I’d like to leave with you: One, that our goal is to make powerful technology useful to our customers; And two, that we work hard to understand what our customers will need in the future to move ahead of their competition – not just what they are asking for today – but what they need to solve their deeper problems.

In-depth engagements with customers allow us to understand their challenges and offer future options. This collaborative process, combined with advanced scientific capabilities, enables us to deliver leadership technologies to you.

Thank you for your attention.

Read more about some of the technologies mentioned in this talk

» Data center cooling
» Tiramisu
» Market-based resource allocation (Tycoon)
» Commercial printing
» Quantum cryptography

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Richard H. (Dick) Lampman Senior Vice President, Research, HP Director, HP Labs

Richard H. (Dick) Lampman Senior Vice President, Research, HP, and Director, HP Labs

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