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High-Tech Companies to Fund Berkeley Internet Research Lab

High-Tech Companies to Fund Berkeley Internet Research Lab

In a move to revolutionize Internet service technology, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are collaborating with Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems to launch a new Internet research laboratory. The three companies will provide $7.5 million over five years to fund research at the Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed systems laboratory, or the RAD Lab, according to UC-Berkeley officials.

“Our goal is to create technology that will enable individual inventors and entrepreneurs to provide new services of value similar to large Internet services people use every day,” says Dr. David A. Patterson, a UC-Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and founding director of the RAD Lab.

The RAD Lab researchers will concentrate on developing alternatives to traditional software engineering, which follows a “waterfall” model of development. In such a system, work is completed in orderly stages, starting from system concept to development, assessment or testing, deployment and operation.

Critics say the traditional waterfall model is often too slow and therefore obsolete for the high-paced Internet era. Instead of infrequent, well-tested upgrades, code for Internet services is continually being modified on the fly as the product is scaled up to accommodate millions of users. This fix-it-as-you-go feedback loop enables speedier deployment, but it also requires a large technical support staff to make sure operations are not disrupted as bugs are resolved.

The researchers have emphasized that any software and applications emerging from the RAD Lab will be made freely and openly available to the public, with source code distributed using the Berkeley Software Distribution license.

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