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An engaging and fun visit to HP Labs Bristol


Contributed by Alison Taylor




Last month, HP Labs Bristol hosted 20 children and 12 HP parents to an evening of learning and thinking about what goes on at the children’s parents’ place of work.  


The theme of the visit was “Dream Big” and was based on the film “Turbo,” the story of a young snail who wants to live life in the fast lane. HP played a large part in the production of the movie as technology from HP’s Z800 and Z820 workstations and HP ProLiant servers was used.


Stephen Crane from HP Labs Bristol led the first part of the evening with a code making/breaking session, explaining how you can safely send sensitive data quickly via email if you encrypt it and provide the receiver with a key to unlock the file. 


Stephen then got the children to create their own codes and keys and to pass them to one another to see if they could unlock the files and read the messages. The children seemed to get it pretty quickly.


The children then went on to play the game of risk. Taking turns, they all had to get across a colored grid as many times as possible within a set time. It was interesting to see who played it safe and who took the risks. After each game the children were asked about their decisions and why they took them.


De-duplication technology was next. HP Labs researchers Ian Hicks and Matt Webb explained how de-duplication works by saving storage space. As we continue to produce more and more data, it can’t physically be stored without increasing costs but with de-duplication technology the system recognizes data it already has and only stores new data. The two researchers had a great way of showing how it works with sweets -- one person became the receiver and another the sender. The receiver accepted anything new from the sender and declined the duplicates. This left several sweets over to be eaten and enjoyed.


The visit ended with a marketing presentation led by marketing intern Farnaz Maddah who explained how a product gets out to market and is made to grab the customers’ attention. Farnaz showed two different types of movie trailers and asked the group questions on the type of audience they were targeting with their marketing campaign. She also talked about brand and what it meant, e.g. Disney and 20th Century Fox. The children engaged with the presentation and provided a variety of answers to the questions they were asked, which meant they won a small marketing gift!







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