Susie Wee, 32
Internet and Web
Handheld wireless devices are great for voice and simple data but are frustratingly limited when it comes to handling video—mostly because today’s networks were designed for wired computers with robust processors and full-sized screens. Susie Wee, R&D manager for Hewlett-Packard Laboratories’ streaming media systems group—and an avid hockey player—is skating around those constraints. Her first move was to devise algorithms that adapt data-heavy video streams to the capabilities of different online computers. The result:a handheld device can receive video at a lower resolution than a workstation, allowing it to display the video much faster. Wee is now developing protocols for moving streamed content away from central Internet servers to cache servers geographically closer to end users. Doing so would reduce network congestion and interruptions, making video and audio flow more easily to wireless devices. Wee’s goal is to turn your cell phone into a full-blown multimedia player—a goal she is speeding toward.