1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Metabunk 2018-07-13 22-54-45.

    This Indiegogo campaign is so obviously impossible that I suspect it might be some kind of elaborate educational hoax teaching people not to trust Indiegogo campaigns. But in case it's not, spoiler, it doesn't work.

    Delta Lambda claims to to compress your existing data on you phone up to 1000 times by using special algorithms.
    Metabunk 2018-07-13 22-57-26.

    Unfortunately this is mathematically impossible. Data has a limit in how much it can be compressed. The limit is based on the "entropy" of the data (a measure of how much it resembles random data). The vast majority of data on your hard drive (photos, videos, audio, apps) is already compressed by advanced algorithms that approach the theoretical limits. In addition they are compressed with lossy compression, meaning they lose data when compressed. Even pushing closer to theoretical limits, and even with a lossy algorithm, you'd be hard pressed to get 10% more space from you hard drive, let alone 1000x with a LOSSLESS algorith. Hence this chart is a joke:

    Metabunk 2018-07-13 23-04-17.

    So what's going on here? Scam? Hoax? It seems obvious that loads of computer scientists would immediately explain why it won't work. So it's either a hoax, or a scam aimed at people disconnected from reality.

    The problem is that the precise limit on how much something can be compressed without loss is an unsolved problem (Kolmogorov complexity), so it's possible that you could use this to argue that you've found a really really good solution. Information theory in general is also complicated, so possibly people who don't trust scientists might fall for it.

    A simple test here is if the algorithm has won any of the data compression prizes out there. There's a few, and their goals are much lower than what Delta Lambda can actually do. Here one that should get them 50,000 euros.
    The current record is 1/16th the size. DL claims 1/1000th. Since they have not stepped forward to claim their prize, this seems pretty obvious that it does not work.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018 at 8:20 AM
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  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    They went a bit too far here:
    The bitcoin blockchain is not suitable for compression because it contains mostly random keys and checksums, which provably cannot be compressed. There some other data which can, but even a 1/2 size compression is highly implausible. 1/1000th is literally impossible.
  3. FatEarther

    FatEarther Member

    Isn't this the storyline of the comedy show Silicon Valley?

  4. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Essentially yes, which (assuming it's a scam) might be something that they can point to to make people believe it. "Look, it worked on HBO!"

    However the DL compression claims are at least 100x as large as the Pied Piper algorithm, which does not actually work.

    The "Weissman score", which was invented for the show, does actually work though, and you can use it as a measure of real and imaginary schemes.
    The imaginary Pied Piper had an essentially impossible score of 5.2, the real Hutter Prize algorithms tops out at about 1.1 (with a compression ration of 6). The DL score would be around 200 with a compression ratio of 1000
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018 at 12:43 AM
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  5. Pepijn van Erp

    Pepijn van Erp New Member

    It reminds me of the 'Sloot Encoding System'. Dutch inventor Jan Sloot claimed around 1995 that he could compress full-length movies into just a few kilobytes. He had an apparatus which gave the impression that it was able to show several movies that were compressed on a memory card, which at that time didn't have a large capacity.
    Just when some big investors (Roel Pieper, former CTO of Philips was one of them) were ready to invest millions of dollars in a company around this technology, Sloot died of a heart attack (in 1999). He took the secret behind his technology to his grave ...

    See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Sloot
  6. qed

    qed Senior Member

  7. Ravi

    Ravi New Member

    I saw a documentary about this one a while ago. It is to fascinating that Jan could fool Philips! He demo'ed the box for them, but did not allow the engineers from Philips to look inside the box. Wonder why? ;)
  8. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    This is reminiscent of the story behind several other scams like free (or nearly free) energy. Somone claims to invent something. Then they don't produce it (or they eventually die, as everyone does) and people claim that there was a big cover-up and sometimes that the the person was assassinated.

    I saw this first shared on an esoteric ET/UFO group on Facebook.
    Metabunk 2018-07-14 08-27-17.

    The guys in the video are the "Executive team", and are both mostly active in UFOology (and esoteric related topics like alien abductions, corpses, underground bases, etc).

    Metabunk 2018-07-14 08-29-20.

    It's possible, of course, that Barry and Steve are themselves being scammed. At the risk of being slightly indelicate, people in the UFO community have a very hopeful disposition - with a desire to believe in amazing things perhaps overriding the advice of "experts", who they feel have been wrong so many times before. Here's a list of the groups that Steve Mera shared the video to:
    Presumably just the groups he's a member of - but it's a rather limited audience.
  9. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    The whole thing is rather odd. It's got a very limited audience - seemingly mostly people in these paranormal/UFO type groups. Then I saw someone tweeting about it, a Walter Baltzey:

    Metabunk 2018-07-15 12-48-38.

    His twitter feed looks like a caricature of a Trump supporter, almost Russian troll-like, with references to the QAnon conspiracy theory.

    He claims to be a co-creator of DL, but I could not find him, but then realized he's on there as "Walter Ignatius" with different hair.
    Metabunk 2018-07-15 12-50-23.

    Metabunk 2018-07-15 12-51-41.

    The company "Gerwig Baltzley Consulting LLC" is a one month old joint venture with Nathan Gerwig:
    Metabunk 2018-07-15 12-54-00.

    Who is on DL as "Nathan Andrew"
    Metabunk 2018-07-15 12-55-02.
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  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Back to the more tangible technical impossibilities:

    Metabunk 2018-07-15 13-01-16.

    There's so much wrong here it's hard to know where to start.

    1TB is 1024GB, yet the claim compressing 1TB on a single core processor only takes 100x as long as compressing 1GB.

    1GB compressed single core @2.6 GHz takes 0.95 seconds. With 10 cores at 3.0Ghz they claim it takes 0.033 seconds, which is 28 times as fast, despite having only a theoretical increase in processing power of 11.5 (assuming perfect parallelization of the algorithm).

    1GB in their claimed 0.033 seconds is a bandwidth of 30 GB per second. The world's fastest SSD drive tops out at 6.8GB/s. So they are claiming a speed that is five times faster than you can possibly even just read the data off the drive. And that's with a fancy advanced datacenter drive. Consumer SATA3 high end drives top out at 0.5GB/s. Actual real-world data compression, like H.264 video compression, is MUCH slower than this. (I've got an 8 core 3.2 Ghz iMac Pro, and it does around 0.05GB/s compressing raw video from memory) and again, they claim to compress movies which are ALREADY COMPRESSED).

    So it's all obviously not going to work. The question then becomes, what's going on? Who is being scammed?
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  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Metabunk 2018-07-15 18-05-51.

    Hmm, Nathan Andrew Gerwig - So perhaps it's just a glitch with middle names.
  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Moderator Staff Member