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Tech Briefs

Stanford University Establishes             E-commerce Center
STANFORD, Calif. — Stanford University, spawning ground for many successful Silicon Valley businesses, is opening a new e-commerce center to provide research and courses about the booming industry.
Stanford officials said last month that they have received $20 million from brokerage Charles Schwab & Co., private equity firm General Atlantic Partners, and Internet auction company eBay Inc. to open a Center for Electronic Business and Commerce at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Business school dean Robert Joss says the new center will develop research and education initiatives needed to understand the impact of information and communication technologies on firms, industries and markets.
“The impact of electronic commerce on all aspects of business will be profound,” Joss says. “Given our proximity to Silicon Valley — the heart and origin of these changes — the top priority for me is that we remain the leading school in the research and teaching of electronic commerce issues.”
Joss says the business school’s goal is to be the worldwide leader in research, curriculum development and the dissemination of ideas about conducting business electronically and about electronic commerce.
Stanford Business School is among a small number of leading business schools that have a required course on electronic business in the M.B.A. core.
The Center for Electronic Business and Commerce will act as a clearinghouse and library for faculty research and e-commerce case studies. In addition, the center will provide support for curriculum development and student activities related to e-commerce.

Johns Hopkins and Lucent Technologies Working to Improve Telemedicine
BALTIMORE — Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Lucent Technologies will jointly develop a global network that will allow Hopkins doctors to diagnose and treat patients overseas.
Doctors will be able to use a high-speed network developed by Lucent to consult with physicians abroad, collaborate on treatment plans, and offer recommendations.
Hopkins hopes the network will make it possible for patients from around the world to seek treatment without having to travel to the United States.
“There is a growing demand in many parts of the world for the innovative medical services that Hopkins is known for,” says Steven Thompson, chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins International.
Should patients have to visit the Baltimore campus, medical records will be transmitted electronically between Hopkins doctors and referring physicians. Hospital officials expect computer installation to be complete within four to six months.
Under the agreement, Hopkins will provide health care consulting, patient services, education and training. Lucent will supply computer hardware and software to assist with customer contact, information management and medical record confidentiality.

Alaska Student Investors Turn Online Stock Profit, Fund Scholarship
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A New Age stock ticker rolls across the Web site, displaying up-to-the-minute trading information on a select group of investments.
But this isn’t just any portfolio. It started eight years ago as an experiment for a group of student investors at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and has since flourished in the bull market of the ’90s.
A $100,000 endowment from the University of Alaska Foundation in 1991 had grown to $530,000 as of Dec. 9. The technology-heavy portfolio is up 72 percent this year alone.
It has also yielded its first dividend — an $8,000 scholarship fund for future UAF students.
“This is different from dealing in a mock portfolio because we’re managing real money,” says Jason Carroll, a student stock analyst. “There isn’t a more optimal way to educate students in this area.”
The current group of 11 student managers has invested heavily in telecommunications and other high-tech issues. Those sectors account for 88 percent of the portfolio’s overall return this year.
“We really believe the students are doing a good job of prudent investing,” says Mary Lindahl, faculty adviser for the student investment fund. “But on the other hand, I think we’re as risky as we can be.”
Lindahl is referring to an aggressive investment strategy, known as GARP — growth at a reasonable price — that her students have used.
Each stock purchase is subjected to a 60-point scoring model specifically tailored to the investment fund’s desires.
The students have divided the fund into separate portfolios. The larger portion — nearly $340,000 — is managed through Morgan Stanley Dean Witter broker Vona Husby. She has advised the student group since its inception, and they in turn have named a scholarship after her.
Students handle a separate online portfolio themselves, trading stocks at a much lower cost after conducting research on the Internet. The online investors have finished ahead of the S&P 500 index, and for the past two years the group has also outperformed the NASDAQ index, which gauges the technology sector.
“They now have access to information that used to cost thousands of dollars a year,” Lindahl said.
The students plan to share this success with the community and foster a better image for the university. Carroll discussed the possibility that the fund could one day finance full scholarships. In the future, they would like to teach nonprofit organizations how they might use stock holdings to offset operating costs.
Many in this group hope university officials take note of this success. They decry the fact that the university’s School of Management has no undergraduate program in finance.
“We would love to have a finance program, and it’s not possible,” Carroll says. “It might make sense for the university to invest a little more in the school of management.”   

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