Dropbox engineers create ‘Pied Piper’ compression tool

26 Aug 2015

At this week’s Dropbox Hack, a team of engineers looked to art to inspire life, creating their own ‘pied piper’ image compression algorithm, as per the TV show Silicon Valley.

Daniel Rieter Horn’s project – which actually consists of nine engineers in total – has already produced an algorithm that can reduce image file sizes by 22pc with no discernable drop off in quality.

Next up is video compression, with his idea coming straight off the small screen, with one storyline in Silicon Valley revolving around this type of project.

Hack Weeks in tech firms are largely ways for staff to think outside the structural parameters of their workplace. However, sometimes what emerges may result in practical, financially rewarding alternatives for employers.

“The goal for this product is to prove that we can achieve lossless compression for JPEG images and H.264 videos,” explained Horn to Fast Company.

“If successful, we can use this technology to save larger files in even less space.”

Considering Dropbox is there to store content, the reduction of file sizes can make things markedly better.

“I view it as building a greener Dropbox,” Horn said. “Using fewer hard drives to save space means mining fewer minerals to build those hard drives and burning less power to run their supporting machinery.”

It’s open source on GitHub right now.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic