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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Revamping DARPA Is Vital to Preserving the ­.s. Lead in It


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UC Berkeley Professor of Computer Science David A. Patterson

David A. Patterson is the Pardee Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Credit: Peg Skorpinski / UC Berkeley

Government-funded basic and applied research at U.S. universities has given rise to multi-billion-dollar industry after multi-billion-dollar industry, writes David A. Patterson, the Pardee Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. It has been one of the pillars of the U.S. high tech sector. But at least in information technology, the model has been seriously weakened by changes that the administration of George W. Bush instituted at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which in the prior 30 years had bankrolled some of the most important advances in IT.

Specifically, DARPA under Bush drastically reduced the role of universities in IT research projects it funded and shifted both power and money to companies. If the old DARPA model is not restored, the U.S. lead in IT — especially in software — could be lost.

From Harvard Business Publishing
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