Remember Richard’s big breakthrough at the end of season 1 of “Silicon Valley”? The idea for “middle-out” compression? It turns out to be one piece of fictional technology that could earn them a Nobel Prize some day #softwaremagic
The New Yorker recently revealed that the idea came out from the show’s leading figures, co-creator Mike Judge and producer Alec Berg. The two approached their head consultant to pitch it and see if it made sense. Jonathan Dotan took it further, asking Stanford engineers Tsachy Weissman and Vinith Misra if it could be viable.
The two computer scientists mulled it over and proceeded to publish two papers on the topic. The theory could be groundbreaking as nowadays compression methods are traditionally top-down or bottom-up.
As you recall, Richard’s idea sounded like a dream to the Disrupt panel in the show, until he proved it by compressing a 3D video file of more than a hundred GB to less than half. The cherry on top? An unbelievable Weissman score (by the way, the score is a fictional concept developed by the same Tsachy Weissman).
The demo left the audience in awe, helping Pied Piper win the $50,000 prize. In real life, such an achievement would probably bring the two computer scientists a Nobel Prize. When/If that happens, then they would share the win with the heads of Silicon Valley: “[…] we do have an arrangement where, if Tsachy and Vinith ever perfect it, Mike and Alec will share the Nobel Prize with them.”
Another fun fact – to make all the fictional tech in Silicon Valley acceptable from a technical point of view, the show’s makers consult frequently with over 200 people.