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Dr. En-hui Yang

Location: Waterloo, ON

Award: Award of Distinction

Category: Communications

Year: 2007

Innovation:

Invented and developed some of the worlds most widely used data compression technologies for digital communications. His innovations enable efficient data and image transmission saving time for tasks such as Web browsing, attachment downloads, and saving battery power in wireless devices. Read the News Release and Media Backgrounder for additional information.

News Release

Manning Award of Distinction goes to inventor of some of the world's most widely used data compression technologies for digital communications

Calgary, AB (September 19th, 2007) — The University of Waterloo's Dr. En-hui Yang has won a $25,000 Manning Award of Distinction, sponsored by CanWest Global, for his inventive solutions for data compression. More than 2200 Internet Service Providers in over 50 countries use his technologies to speed digital communications.

Dr. Yang is Co-founder of SlipStream Data Inc., now a subsidiary of the Ontario-based wireless-technology company, Research in Motion. Many of SlipStream's products are the direct result of Dr. Yang's theoretical work on data compression.

"Once I developed a new theory and really appreciated its beauty," he said, "I asked myself, how do I make it practical?"

Dr. Yang continues to add to his series of file-shrinking and network optimizing solutions, which speed tasks including Web browsing or checking e-mail with portable communications devices such as smart phones and laptops. As one end-user commented, after using Slipstream technology, non-accelerated Web browsing feels painfully slow.

Effective data compression makes data transfer more efficient, explained Dr. Yang, adding that one benefit is the lower bandwidth needed for smooth Internet sailing. In addition, with improved efficiency, less power is used, thereby extending the life of batteries for portable communications devices.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

This year Foundation will award $165,000 in prize money. Four awards totalling $145,000 will go to leading Canadian innovators. Another $20,000 will go to Young Canadians chosen at the 2007 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

The Foundation was established in 1980 in the name of Alberta statesman, Ernest C. Manning, to promote and support Canadian innovation. Since 1982, the Foundation has presented $3.76 million in prize money through its annual awards program.

The 2007 awards will be presented at an awards gala on September 28th in Toronto, Ontario. The 2007 Manning Principal Award Winner will be announced September 25th.

A Media Backgrounder about the innovator and his work is available on the Foundation's website: www.manningawards.ca

For more information on the Foundation, contact Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director, 403-645-8288 or Nina C. Pudwell, Communications Coordinator, at 403-645-3006 or Nina.Pudwell@encana.com

For more information about Dr. Yang and Slipstream Data Inc., visit www.slipstream.com/ or www.multicom.uwaterloo.ca/yang.html/, or contact the award winner at 519-888-4567, ext 32873 or ehyang@uwaterloo.ca
 

 

 

Media Backgrounder

$25,000 Manning Award of Distinction, Sponsored by CanWest Global Dr. En-hui Yang, Data Compression Technologies for Efficient Digital Communications

Who?

  • Dr. En-hui Yang, University of Waterloo Professor and Canada Research Chair in Information Theory and Multimedia Compression
  • Dr. Yang is Co-founder of SlipStream Data Inc. and inventor of some of the world's most widely used data compression technologies for digital communications

What?

  • Dr. En-hui Yang has won the $25,000 Manning Award of Distinction for his series of innovations in data compression technology; the innovations speed digital communications via the Internet and smart phones by increasing the efficiency of data transfer

Where?

  • Research in Motion and its subsidiary, SlipStream Data Inc., are based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
  • SlipStream Data Inc. is the market leader in acceleration, compression and optimization technologies in North America, Latin America and Western Europe, and has an increasing presence in Eastern Europe and Asia; more than 2200 Internet Service Providers in over 50 countries rely on SlipStream technology

When?

  • In 1998, Drs. En-hui Yang and John C. Keiffer of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis write a pivotal research paper on a new universal lossless coding theory; the theoretical work underlies Yang's development of data compression technologies
  • Dr. Yang and University of Waterloo colleague Dr. Ajit Singh found SlipStream Data Inc. in April 2000 in order to build an Internet acceleration product prototype; the company receives venture capital in March 2002
  • In 2006, global wireless-technology company Research in Motion acquires SlipStream to enhance BlackBerry™ performance

Why?

Efficient digital communication relies on effective data compression. Compressing data is the equivalent of dehydrating food for a backpacking trip-the load must be light and easy to carry. At the destination, one hopes to reconstitute the original meal.

Older means of data compression cannot keep pace with the speed required for multimedia communications. Compression delay-the time needed to compress a file, transmit it and decompress it at the other end-is a common bottleneck in Internet traffic. However, for more than 3 million end-users who rely on technologies developed by Ontario's SlipStream Data Inc., compression delay is no longer an issue.

SlipStream Co-Founder En-hui Yang continues to add to his series of file-shrinking and network optimizing solutions, which speed tasks such as Web browsing or checking e-mail with portable communications devices including smart phones and laptops. As one end-user commented, after using SlipStream technology, non-accelerated Web browsing feels painfully slow.

Dr. Yang's compression technologies also greatly decrease the bandwidth needed for speedy data transfer. And, he noted, with better data transfer efficiency, less power is used, which extends the life of batteries for portable communications devices.

The university professor built his compression and acceleration software based on novel coding theories. "Once I developed a new theory and really appreciated its beauty," said Dr. Yang, "I asked myself, how do I make it practical?" From idea to product, he admitted, there was a long way to go. Never-the-less, a year after co-founding SlipStream, he took the company's first Web and e-mail acceleration product to completion.

From 2000 to 2005, SlipStream's customer base jumped from two to over 2200 Internet service providers.

It's satisfying to see his technologies commercialized, noted Dr.Yang: "It's not only results on paper."

How?

A shift in the approach to digital data compression is the direct result of electrical and computer engineering research at the University of Waterloo. Research conducted by Dr. En-hui Yang has led to several innovations (including 15 patents), as well as the commercial application of his software for speeding digital communications.

"Dictionary-based" data compression technology works by eliminating redundancy in information, essentially by creating and using a list of abbreviations. Dr. Yang's methods take data compression one fundamental step back, by also compressing the rulebook used to decode compressed data.

"We compress the set of rules, or compress how we derive the set of rules," Dr. Yang explained, "and from the set of rules we can get back the original sequence or the original file."

He created two lossless data compression algorithms-or rulebooks-using grammar based coding theory, which he developed with Dr. John C. Keiffer of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Like a Babel fish, Dr. Yang's algorithms can use any text-based data, no matter the code in which it's written, to create a new rulebook for compressing the data. He has applied the algorithms in commercial applications, which bring back Word documents, banking information and other text files exactly as they were.

With his colleagues at SlipStream Data Inc., Dr. Yang has also developed methods for "lossy" compression, used to shrink audio or visual information. Because the human eye and ear don't notice all the components, he explained, "you can throw away certain things" without sacrificing the overall image quality. His techniques to optimize lossy data compression include progressive delivery, in which a low resolution image comes through quickly but gets clearer with time.

Dr. Yang's technologies also make use of prior intelligence, such as the layout of an oft visited Web page, to speed browsing capabilities.

Because Canadian companies must compete on the global market place, commented Dr. Yang, their products have to be innovative. He added that the Manning Innovation Awards send a message to Canadians about the importance of innovation.

How Fast?

Web pages download up to 7.33 times as fast using SlipStream SP 5.0 and 19 times as fast using SlipStream SP 5.0 with NOW!Imaging compared to non-accelerated browsing.

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation

This year the Foundation will award $165,000 in prize money. Four awards, totalling $145,000, will go to leading Canadian innovators. Another $20,000 will go to Young Canadians chosen at the 2007 Canada-Wide Science Fair.

The Foundation was established in 1980 in the name of prominent Alberta statesman, Ernest C. Manning, to promote and support Canadian innovators. Since 1982, the Foundation has presented $3.76 million in prize money through its annual awards program (www.manningawards.ca).