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Poster: Caitlin Olson Date: Apr 18, 2018 2:29pm
Forum: news Subject: IEEE: Where is HBO Silicon Valley’s Real Pied Piper? Look in Ayr, Scotland

Pied Piper, the fictional startup of HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” began as a data compression company. Producers during its first few seasons consulted with researchers at Stanford who specialize in compression algorithms—first, Tsachy Weissman and Vinith Misra, and later Dmitri Pavlichin—to put a real-world spin on discussions about its technology and the whiteboards explaining it. Weissman developed a new compression metric, the Weissman Score, for the show; real-world researchers even started using it. And Misra wrote a technical paper, published online, explaining a fictional (and R-rated) improvement to the compression algorithm.

But like so many startups, Pied Piper eventually pivoted to a different business model—and a new technology. Last season, Richard Hendriks and his team changed their focus to decentralizing the Internet, that is, creating what the show explained as a peer-to-peer network of websites “with no firewalls, no tolls, no government regulation, no spying.”

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