Three tech giants to finance research

December 15th, 2005

In today’s NYT, John Markoff writes:

With federal funds for basic computer science research at universities in decline, three of the industry’s leading companies are joining to help fill the void.

University of California computer scientists plan to announce on Thursday that the companies–Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems–will underwrite a $7.5 million laboratory on the Berkeley campus. The new research center, called the Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed Systems Laboratory, will focus on the design of more dependable computing systems.

The Berkeley researchers say that under the terms of their agreement with the three companies, the fruits of the research will be nonproprietary and freely licensed. Each company has agreed to support the project with $500,000 annually for five years.

While this is great for Berkeley, it may not be so good for the academic research computing community if (1) industry starts concentrating it’s research in the top 10 departments and (2) if government decides that its support for basic computing R&D is less neccessary because industry woll fund universities to do it.