Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

At Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Mahadev Satyanarayanan is working on a mobile-computing approach he calls “Internet suspend/resume.” The idea, says Satyanarayanan, is to be free to stop your work, have your files saved automatically over the Internet, and-when you’re ready to resume-find “your world restored” on any computer in any location, as if you were using your personal laptop.

The computer scientist is also experimenting with a new method of transforming his research into real-world technology. Every day, he takes a four-minute walk from his university office to an off-campus research lab funded by Intel. At that lab, the third “lablet” Intel has established adjacent to a leading university, Satyanarayanan has opportunities to translate his vision of Internet suspend/resume into a working prototype-and test Intel’s stated commitment to collaborating openly with academic researchers.

“Most companies have real difficulty” reconciling the academic urge for open communication with the corporate imperative to own and profit from ideas, notes Satyanarayanan, who became director of the facility in August 2001. Indeed, many corporations that fund university research force faculty and graduate students to sign nondisclosure and exclusive-licensing agreements. But “Intel has a collaborative model up front,” Satyanarayanan says. “The right approach is not to tightly control intellectual property but to treat it the way a university does.”

And so far, that’s exactly what the lablets are doing. “The vast bulk of the intellectual property produced by this research will be nonexclusive and licensed to all comers,” says Intel research director David Tennenhouse, architect of the lablet program (see “Intel Revamps R&D,” TR October 2001). At the first Intel lablet, near the University of California, Berkeley, for instance, the operating system behind the lab’s self-organizing networks of miniaturized wireless sensors is accessible to anyone who takes out a free license. Indeed, Intel plans to penalize lablet researchers who don’t share enough. “If a lablet isn’t collaborating with its university, then I’ll close it,” Tennenhouse says.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Computing, Business

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me