Five research executives share their most noteworthy projects.Hossein EslambolchiPresident, AT&T LabsMost 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 LampmanSenior vice president of research, HP LabsMost 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 LingVice president, Microsoft ResearchMost 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 MazzolaChief development officer, CiscoMost 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 SpectorVice president of services and software, IBM ResearchMost 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. Back to main feature: "State of the technology union"