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MIT Technology Review

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  • Christopher Ahlberg

    Age:
    33

    No pictures adorn Christopher Ahlberg’s office. The Swedish-born computer scientist and amateur kickboxer says simplicity encourages people to do what’s needed and move on.This philosophy pervades his company,Spotfire.Its DecisionSite software allows computer users to go into multiple databases regardless of their format,easily import,export and manipulate very large data sets,and visualize the results in dynamic graphs,charts and plots.In other words:get the information they need and get out.More than 400 biotech,pharmaceutical,oil and gas,chemical,and auto companies—from Merck to Saab—now use DecisionSite to help them render verdicts on everything from scientific experiments to manufacturing lines. Founded in 1996 by three people,the privately held company now employs 175 in Somerville, MA,and Go¨teborg,Sweden.Ahlberg has grander designs for DecisionSite,too.Chief among them:becoming the one application companies use to interrogate databases around the world over the Internet,as simply as they navigate text documents on the Web.