A Tale of Three Cities

Gregory Alan Bolcer (gbolcer@endTECH.com)
Thu, 02 Dec 1999 13:31:46 -0800


PARC, MS Labs, & Interval. Discussion of
HTTP-NG through the eyes of a journalist, reforming
the research mission in mid-stream to serve incremental
corporate markets and chasing dot coms, and eating
seed corns.


"The problem in computer science right now is the eating-the-seed-corn problem," Schmidt ays. "Instead of
doing what I did, which is basically laboring
over a Ph.D. and working in a research lab or university, people at age
22 who are arguably better than I was at that age aren't getting advanced
degrees but going off and being internet gazillionaires. They're
able to do that because they're damned smart, but the community as a whole
is losing a trained community. It's not that I have a solution for this,
just the observation that a lot of the basic research isn't being done."

In that context, PARC is more a solution than the problem. "The big thing
here is attaining a balance," says PARC's Mike Spreitzer. "Sure, there's this
recognition that we can't spend all our time on stuff where there's no clear
benefit for the company. But there's a lot of recognition from the highest
levels that a big part of what makes a research lab valuable is
serendipity. You can't be sure what pays off."