• United States

R&D pride

Jun 09, 20032 mins

Five research executives share their most noteworthy projects.

Hossein Eslambolchi

President, AT&T Labs

Most significant research project involved in: Development of the Fast Automated Restoration System (FASTAR), which was deployed throughout AT&T’s network in 1992. FASTAR reduced the time it takes to restore cable cuts from 15 hours to about 5 minutes, Eslambolchi says.

Favorite R&D project: A micro-excavation device for which Eslambolchi had to overcome working with the nonlinear nature of electromagnetic technology. The system detects fiber-optic cable up to four feet deep, without penetrating the earth, with 100% accuracy; previously, accuracy stood at only 50%.

Richard Lampman

Senior vice president of research, HP Labs

Most significant research project involved in: Creation of the IA-64 chip architecture.

Favorite R&D project: Refused an answer, saying it would be like choosing a favorite child.

Dan Ling

Vice president, Microsoft Research

Most significant research project involved in: Microsoft’s Programmer Productivity Research Center, which develops tools for the company’s internal software developers.

All-time favorite R&D project: Artificial intelligence; a Bayesian approach including reasoning, learning, probabilistic and decision theoretic techniques.

Mario Mazzola

Chief development officer, Cisco

Most significant research project involved in: Work done at Cisco-acquisition Crescendo Communications, which he founded, developing the use of unshielded twisted pair wiring to carry 100M-bit/sec Ethernet.

All-time favorite R&D project: Developing the first voice-over-IP technology in 1982, as co-founder of David Systems, which made the first PBX to combine voice and LAN switching.

Alfred Spector

Vice president of services and software, IBM Research

Most significant research project involved in: A project that led to the development of distributed application servers – specifically, IBM’s WebSphere application server. Spector initiated the project in 1982 at Carnegie Mellon University, continued development at an IBM-funded start-up he founded called Transarc and then took it to IBM.

All-time favorite R&D project involved in: Same.