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Jonathan Erickson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

One Man's Parallelism is Another Man's Breakfast

September 17, 2009

The product was absolutely cool and the breakfast spread impressive but I still felt snookered.

HP was showing off HP SkyRoom, a high-definition videoconferencing software system that offers live, real-time collaboration for instant face-to-face meetings. HP SkyRoom is based on video and image compression algorithms developed by HP Labs. How good is it? Good enough that elements of the technology were used by NASA's Mars rovers to transfer high-resolution images back to Earth.

Running at 24 frames per second, the demos presented at HP's breakfast meeting at the Intel Developers Forum were smooth and fast. No jerky motion. No audio out of sync with video. Like I said, very cool. And did I mention, easy to use? SkyRoom runs like IM. You click on an on-screen button and you're off and running with up to four meeting participants. You can also share -- and manipulate -- rich media content in real time.

So why did I still feel snookered? Because the event was billed as "a new product that taps the power of Intel multi-core processors to enable a new generation of communication and collaboration". However, the word "multi-core" didn't pop up in the short presentation. Not once. The only reference to the topic was a passing mention that SkyRoom requires a dual-core system.

I don't mean to whine and I was clearly impressed by SkyRoom. It is that I was lead to believe that we'd learn more about how HP has implemented parallelism to build a great looking product.

And the breakfast? I saw more than one journalist shoveling it in with both hands. Now that's parallelism in the real world.

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