Data Central
Official news from HP

Displaying articles for: December 2010

The science of social: HP Labs research shows that "superusers" power the social web

(Editor's note: read this Sunday's "The Year In Ideas" issue of The New York Times Magazine to learn more about HP Labs social computing research in a section called "Social Media as Social Index")


After recently publishing work on content monetization and patterns of influence on Twitter, HP Senior Fellow and HP Labs Social Computing Research Group director Bernardo Huberman has turned his attention to explain the science behind a previously unquantifiable social media insight, which he calls ‘the paradox of cooperation’ in a new paper.


The paper starts by asking: why do people willingly contribute to crowd-created sites like YouTube, Digg, and Wikipedia when they can receive plenty of value from those sites without ever contributing a thing?


Apply a classic ‘tragedy of the commons’ frame to that question and it’s clear that the most rational thing to expect of everyone visiting the sites is for them to freeload. And yet people do contribute, making these ‘crowdsourced’ sites hugely successful.


Citing HP Labs research that analyzed tens of millions of Wikipedia edits, Diggs, Gnutella downloads, and YouTube videos, Huberman concludes that “the puzzle is explained by the fact that those contributing to the digital commons perceive it as a private good rather a public one.” And the private good they receive is attention.


Look at the data another way, though, and you get to another insight: that the more attention people get for their posts, the more they contribute.  That’s an observation that has consequences for the people who own, run or want to create competitors for crowd-sourced media.


“While any user can contribute to these forums,” Huberman explains, “a disproportionately large percentage of the content is submitted by very active and devoted users, whose continuing participation is the key to the sites’ success.”


The takeaway:  even though successful web sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Digg are built on the notion that anyone can contribute, they should be looking for ways to actively nurture their relatively few “superusers” if they want to remain successful into the future

HP Labs: Social Media and the Paradox of Cooperation



Research by the numbers

Huberman’s paper cites research conducted by HP Labs (and others) analyzing such phenomena as peer-to-peer file sharing, YouTube, and Twitter.


Some of the raw data analyzed in this research:


- 3,100,464 files from 33,335 hosts on Gnutella (“Free riding on Gnutella”)

- 50 million edits to Wikipedia on 1.5 million articles (“Assessing the value of cooperation in Wikipedia”)

- 9,896,816 YouTube videos submitted by 579,471 users (“Crowdsourcing, attention, and productivity”)

- 59,853,763 Diggs made on 2,676,160 stories (“Feedback loops of attention in peer production” [PDF])


Why is HP conducting research on social media?

HP believes that information is becoming the greatest resource we have for addressing problems in business and society.  Social media is increasingly becoming many people's interface to IT, and these media interactions produce an enormous amount of data.  However, data isn't necessarily information as it contains a lot of noise.  Creating software, hardware, and services that can automatically analyze enormous and noisy data sets to help people make informed decisions is an extremely challenging technical task and an area of focus at HP Labs.


Has HP published other social media research?

This is not the first report that Dr. Huberman and his fellow researchers have published on the subject of social media.  Earlier this year, for example, Dr. Huberman and Dr. Asur at the Social Computing Lab released a report that found Twitter to be a surprisingly accurate predictor of the box office success of Hollywood film releases.  For more of HP’s research in this area, visit the Social Computing Research Group.

Labels: HP labs

How Asimov’s I, Robot influenced HP CEO Léo Apotheker

I, RobotEver wondered how kids are influenced by the books they read?  Take a look at Mike Cassidy’s new San Jose Mercury News column where HP’s CEO, Léo Apotheker (among other Silicon Valley tech titans) discusses how his favorite book, I, Robot, began his fascination with technology:


"When I was young, my favorite book was I, Robot by Isaac Asimov," Apotheker says. "I read it with fascination, and looking back, it had a great influence on my life.  I, Robot was the beginning of my lifelong passion for technology. It also made me a science fiction buff, and to me, science fiction is really all about imagining a better world."


Cassidy’s column was inspired by The Mercury News' annual The Gift of Reading book drive which is hosted by Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT), a non-profit that supports local teachers. The drive is helping get books to school children whose families may not be able to afford them.


Even though the drive is ending today, you can still get involved and help these kids by volunteering or donating to RAFT, an organization that supports teachers through providing innovative project ideas and hands-on learning materials. Through contributing time, technology and talent, HP has been a long-standing partner of RAFT.


In addition, both RAFT and HP have partnered together to support National Lab Day, a grassroots initiative designed to reinvigorate science and math education in the nation's schools and after-school programs and a key component of President Obama's "Change the Equation" campaign. The partnership fosters collaboration among HP employees/retirees and RAFT educators.

Prith Banerjee Outlines Retail’s “Brave New World” in the Daily Beast

Shopping with TechnologyThe holiday shopping season may be in full swing, but is our retail experience about to change as we know it? In an article in the Daily Beast today, Director of HP Labs Prith Banerjee takes a look at how technology holds the power to make in-store shopping more personal, helpful and intelligent – ultimately benefiting the consumer.


Prith explains: “In most cases, the in-store shopping experience does not take into account how people interact with information today. It’s as if the information-rich society we live in stops at the store’s door.”


But, there is a promising future for the retail industry, Prith details how technology will help evolve the way we think of in-store shopping, writing, “Retailers can use technology to harness the power of information and create in-store shopping experiences that are highly personalized, informed, and fully immersive. Advances in analytics and opt-in, personal cloud profiles will allow individuals to share data and preferences in a secure way and retailers to respond with customized service.”


To read the full post, including how this vision is brought to life through the example of buying a new flat-panel HDTV, check out the story here:

Cathie Lesjak on software and networking: "you may not think about them the way I think about them"


Earlier this afternoon, HP CFO Cathie Lesjak was interviewed by financial analyst Benjamin Reitzes at the Barclays Global Technology Conference in San Francisco.  Two highlights from the conversation included her comments on the networking business and a unique insight on the software assets HP acquired in recent deals for companies like 3COM, LeftHand, and IBRIX.


Growth and acquisition strategies

Responding to a question about future acquisitions, Cathie looked back, saying “If you look at our past acquisitions, you may not think about them the way I think about them, but I think about 3PAR, 3Com, LeftHand, IBRIX as basically being software acquisitions.”

Sharing more perspective, she added, “I know that the hardware team is part of those solutions, but it was industry-standard hardware. So when we evaluated [a deal], we didn't evaluate it on the hardware piece, we evaluated it on the software, and the intellectual property that we were going to get in those assets.”

Given that view, she reinforced that HP would continue to balance organic (i.e. home-grown innovations, like StoreOnce) and inorganic growth, and that future deals would share similarly “software-oriented” characteristics.


Networking performance

Rietzes also drew attention to recent performance from HP’s Enterprise Business, which he said “beat all our estimates.” He asked Cathie point blank, “What’s going on?”

“Networking is absolutely critical,” responded Lesjak.  She characterized the business as a “home run,” because, in addition to giving customers choice and allowing HP the opportunity to gain market share, gross profit margins in networking are "better than double the HP corporate average."

 “Our 3COM acquisition is ahead of plan on the top line as well as the bottom line,” she said.  When HP disclosed fourth quarter earnings earlier this month, HP Networking (which includes 3Com) reported a 227% increase in revenue.


CEO Apotheker at the helm

The interview also included a few comments about HP’s new CEO Léo Apotheker.  Reitzes wanted to know, “what it’s been like since Léo took the helm?”

"He's been out doing pretty much exactly what he said he was going to do: talking to our customers, our partners, and our employees," Cathie said.  "He's got both the operational focus, as well as a deep interest and desire to basically invest in the technology and drive HP for the very long term."


Forward-looking statements

Cathie's comments may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Please refer to HP's SEC reports for discussion of those risks.


Image credit

Matt Seppings

Labels: Financial

HP to match up to $10,000 in donations for UCSF Challenge for the Children Fundraiser

To help build a new children’s hospital in San Francisco, some of Silicon Valley’s most creative people are teaming up online and competing in the UCSF Challenge for the Children.


Raising money and awareness for the cause are contestants like Ron Conway, Om Malik and Marc Benioff, who are competing to see who has the most influence online.  Their measure of influence:  whoever can rally the most people to contribute.  The winner will claim naming rights to a section of the hospital that will promote play, learning, and discovery for children and their families.


The HP Match

To stoke the fires of this competition, HP is launching a mini-challenge that kicks off today.  HP will match every donation made between now and December 16, up to a total contribution of $10,000. In keeping with the spirit of the Challenge, HP is supporting all levels of contribution to this cause, whether it’s $10 or $1,000, until the $10,000 maximum is reached.


Join the HP Team

You can also help support the HP Team, led by HP executives Todd Bradley (EVP, Personal Systems Group), Tony Prophet (SVP, worldwide Supply Chain Operations) and Richard Gerstein (SVP, strategy and worldwide marketing, Personal Systems Group).  Anyone can support the cause by sharing today’s news or by making a donation before the Challenge ends on Dec. 16.


For more information

- Learn about HP Startup Central and Advisory Board, chaired by Ron Conway: "HP Launches Startup Central at Incubate 2.0" (11/17/2010)


- Learn more about the Challenge and the cause by listening to Marc Benioff tell the story behind it all in this video from UCSF:


Marcela Perez de Alonso to Retire from HP – Her Accomplishments and Transition Plan

Today, HP announced that executive vice president of Human Resources Marcela Perez de Alonso will retire, having decided to relocate to be with her family.

Marcela has agreed to remain at HP until her successor is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

As CEO Leo Apotheker noted in a statement today, “We truly regret that she is leaving, but we continue to see the value of her contributions to the company every day and we wish her well.”

Here’s a few examples of those contributions:

- Marcela has been with HP since 2004 and had worldwide responsibility for HP’s strategic human resources initiatives, practices and operations

- She was named “2009 Human Capital Leader of the Year” by the Society of Human Resource Management and featured on the cover of HR Executive magazine for architecting a breakthrough workforce planning model unmatched in the HR industry

- She led HP’s human resources organization through a series of acquisitions and a period of unprecedented growth, with HP’s workforce roughly doubling over the last six years.

- Marcela implemented numerous people programs, including “Leading for Results” to help cultivate the next generation of HP leadership and “Winning with Wellness” to empower employees to take charge of their health, finances and stress management.

To learn more about today’s news, read the announcement at the HP newsroom.

Listening to the Earth: HP talks CeNSE in Washington D.C.

HP’s Intelligent Infrastructure Lab is working to build an intelligent network of billions of nano-scale sensors that can feel, taste, smell, see and hear what is going on in the world and communicate that information over fast and powerful computing networks so it can be analyzed and acted upon quickly.


At an HP IMAGINE/INNOVATE Dialog event in Washington last Tuesday, Jeff Wacker, HP Services Innovation Lead and Fellow, HP Enterprise Services, discussed this unique technology, highlighting how CeNSE, or “Central Nervous System for the Earth,” can help us understand the seismic properties of our world. Leaders from government, industry and think tanks joined the conversation.


Below, Wacker describes the effect of policy on technologies like CeNSE. Rodney Sobin of the Alliance to Save Energy notes the insights shared on the potential that the use of advanced sensing technology can bring to energy efficiency initiatives, while David Fiorino of American University’s Center for Environmental Policy highlights the benefits of sharing technology and policy ideals in the natural setting provided by the event.





























Read more about CeNSE and the “Listening to the Earth” event in GreenBiz here:


HP and mPedigree: Combating counterfeit drugs to save lives























Many people associate piracy with luxury goods – buying imitation Gucci bags from a street vendor or scouring websites to find knock-off designer sunglasses for a fraction of the retail price. While the counterfeit consumer goods trade is a serious concern and costs companies and governments billions of dollars annually, fake Fendis pale in comparison to the devastating effects of counterfeit drugs.

The good news is that as with so many other aspects of healthcare, technology holds the potential to make a difference and save lives by getting accurate, timely information in the hands of the people who need it. To that end, HP and mPedigree— a social enterprise based in Ghana — have teamed up with pharmaceutical companies to offer a way for patients to check the authenticity of their medicines free of charge, with a basic mobile phone.

Follow Us


Data Central is the official HP corporate blog, brought to you by the corporate communications team in Palo Alto. Before commenting, please read our community guidelines. For more news and press contacts, visit the HP newsroom. Note: all times GMT