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MIT Technology Review

  • Reiner Kraft


    The Internet is a great set of parts. Reiner Kraft wants to make them a more valuable whole. One way is to exploit the many computers linked to the Internet to solve massive computing tasks that no single computer could handle well. Kraft coinvented a program that parcels out such tasks over the Internet to thousands of PCs; each solves its morsel, and the program integrates the solutions. In 1998,IBM applied for a patent based on Kraft’s distributed- computing scheme, which is used increasingly to crack computing problems. Kraft then created jCentral and xCentral—custom search engines for IBM’s programmers. They search and return Java and XML programs, respectively—the software behind many Web applications— and nothing else. This allows the company’s programmers (and non-IBMers, too) to much more efficiently build libraries of code for creating advanced applications that leverage the Internet’s capabilities. Kraft has cranked out numerous other programs that integrate Internet functions and has filed 80 patent applications. Despite his prolific youth, however, Kraft frets about what’s been left undone. “I worry,” he says, “that I am missing some good opportunities.”