The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Researching shifts in computing in a data abundant world

I mentioned that I was giving a presentation this week at the New Horizons Forum at the AIAA conference. Since it may provide some useful insight about the research underway at HP labs in a larger context, here is the content of one slide from that presentation:line picture.png

1 datum is a point

2 data are a line

3 data are a trend

100 data are a picture


Having sensors to generate the data that fuels a more proactive business is important, but there is more to sensing than the sensors and the data collected. A holistic ecosystem view is needed. Unfortunately, this means that the tools of today may not be up to the tasks required.


You may have heard about HP’s efforts to place a million node sensor network in the ground for Shell, gathering seismic information. Traditionally, this kind of information was just a flash of perspective taken in the dark from a few locations. Instead, this sensing effort with Shell generated a much more fine-grained view, taken from a myriad of angles, to understand in-depth what was underground. 


In order to do implement the system, HP not only had to invent the sensors (relatively cheap and yet very sensitive MEMS devices), but we also create the networking and management techniques to make it useful. Building upon what we’ve learned, we’ve been researching whole new approaches to information storage and computation that will be required to generate value from massive amounts of information.


HP has many of the foundational patents on memristor devices and sensing techniques and we should soon see the shift in storage and computing that the implementation of these techniques should enable. The whole concept of computing will likely need to bow to the onslaught of information from sensing and the related metadata, changing how information is transferred within the computing environment -- shifting from computing on bits to analyzing information in graphs on highly parallelizes computing platforms: Cog Ex Machina


In addition, research is underway to understand how information can be analyzed, automated and displayed. New techniques can be applied to focus attention on the areas needing the creativity that people can provide.


In the marketplace, last year was the year of Big Data as a buzzword with its primary focus on generating insight from the massive amounts of information being collected. Frankly, that will not be enough for the future envisioned – we need to shift the focus to time-to-action, not insight and that is what many of our research efforts underway will enable.

ian-martyn | ‎02-08-2013 07:01 PM

The [computer] world changing prospects of memristors that you outlay, define an exciting wave.

If you are so sure of these prospects, has HP reacted to some people's opinions that decry some of what we claim, such as in Meuffels & Soniz's paper from last summer?


| ‎02-09-2013 01:06 PM

I am sure that those who work in that space have responded to the concerns expressed (for those interested look to the Wikipedia Memristor entry). But I view that as irrelevant to the post, since the concepts I am talking about are not dependant on a single technology, but on the relentless progress being made to look at computing from a fundimentally different perspective.

maxbohr2012 | ‎02-28-2013 11:33 AM



As per my knowledge, I am not aware of any response from the scientific community to the above mention article by Meuffels et al.


Paul Meuffels | ‎03-12-2013 04:22 PM

The critical arguments presented in "Fundamental Issues and Problems in the Realization of Memristors" by P. Meuffels and R. Soni ( are now discussed in a recent publication by M. Di Ventra and Y. V. Pershin entitled "On the physical properties of memristive, memcapacitive, and meminductive systems" (



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