Built a database and developed software that would help people organize themselves.
In the wake of September 11, Scott Heiferman felt the need to find new ways to build community. He knew that Americans no longer belonged to bowling leagues and Elks Clubs in the numbers that they once had, but he didnt feel that electronic chat rooms and Internet personal ads filled the void. “People still live in the real world, the real non-cyber world, where they want to be face to face,” he says. “The idea was, How do you use the Internet to get people off the Internet?”
So in early 2002, he assembled a five-person team to build a database and develop software that would help people organize themselves. People sign up at the Meetup.com site, indicating where they live and what topics theyre interested in, and when a certain number of like-minded people in the same area have registered, the site announces a meeting. About 190,000 supporters of Howard Deans presidential campaign used Meetup.com to organize in the months before the Iowa caucuses, giving his campaign early momentum. About 170,000 people are now registered for meetings of Democracy for America, an organization that grew out of Deans campaign. Today, Meetup.com has more than 1.4 million registered users, and revenues at the privately funded company are seven times what they were a year ago.
Heiferman can get passionate about his theme of bringing people together, invoking de Tocqueville on the importance to Americans of forming associations and even citing an evolutionary imperative. “Were a species who was optimized for face-to-face interaction,” he says. Meetups innovations, he adds, are “as much in social engineering as software engineering.”
Heiferman has been an entrepreneur since about age nine, when he founded Scotts Slave Service to market menial tasks to his siblings. And his sense of community engagement began to blossom the next year, when he wrote what he calls a “pointless letter to every U.S. governor, major-city mayor, and Fortune 100 CEO.”
Created the Nets top social-networking site, where eight million people communicate with friends and friends of friends.
The Mountain View, CA, firm has raised $14 million in venture capital.
Started a Palo Alto, CA, firm to commercialize an encryption technology that uses a simple ID, such as an e-mail address, to ensure secure communications.
Adapts optical-communications technology to build receivers, transmitters, and interconnects that speed chip-to-chip communications within computers.
Leads one of the industrys top teams advancing ultrawideband wireless technology, which provides the high transmission speeds needed for streaming-media applications while consuming little power.
Created video software to analyze lab mice for adverse reactions to trial drugs.
The system is related to fingerprint-matching technology he and Vance Bjorn (see below) founded DigitalPersona to commercialize.
Partnered with fellow TR100 honoree Serge Belongie (see above) to found a Redwood City, CA, biometrics company that specializes in fingerprint recog-nition for computer access.
Built a router that examines the content and source of messages passing through it.
All e-mail is handled by a set of rules that determines how messages get from one point to another. David Brussin, cofounder and chief technology officer of TurnTide (recently acquired by Symantec), turned those rules against spammers by building a router that examines the content and source of messages passing through it. When Brussins router identifies a computer thats sending spam, it reduces the number of messages that computer can send out. According to Brussin, companies using the TurnTide router see spam drop by about 90 percent.
J. J. Cadiz
Invented a better approach to alleviating information overload.
Invented a better approach to alleviating information overload, using a sidebar window on computer displays to track e-mail alerts, weather reports, and other data. Look for Sideshow in future versions of Windows.
Specializes in multiplayer fantasy and role-playing games.
Built his Shanghai startup into Chinas largest online game company by specializing in multiplayer fantasy and role-playing games that now attract millions of users. Shandas IPO last May raised $152 million.
Invented techniques at Bell Labs that enable higher-speed transmission of data over very long distances (up to 6,400 kilometers) within fiber-optic networks.
Develops new types of quantum cascade microlasers with a variety of sensing and imaging applications.
Leads the effort to improve software quality and cut development costs.
Leads IBMs Winchester, England-based effort to improve software quality and cut development costs through “aspect-oriented programming,” an approach that promises to simplify coding for a wide range of applications.
Pioneered a wireless technology to eliminate the wired connections between closely spaced chips in computer systems.
The advance, enabling a 100-fold speed gain over wired connectors, will be crucial to future Sun supercomputers.
Helping to lead Amazons transformation, with its own virtual vending machines.
You probably think of Amazon.com as a place to buy everything from books to kitchenware. But thats only a part of what the company aspires to be. Programmer Robert Frederick is leading Amazons transformation into something more like the Coca-Cola of e-commerce, with its own virtual vending machines – each a gateway to Amazons entire inventory – scattered across thousands of third-party websites. Its all part of a grand vision starring Amazon as the Webs central platform for almost any kind of online purchase. Frederick got his start at the company five years ago by building Amazon Anywhere, software that prepares data from Amazons vast product database for display on cell phones and other mobile devices. From there, it was a short conceptual step to opening up Amazons database to any independent Web merchant or programmer with a need for product information. And the resulting tools – a set of standardized commands for interacting with Amazons database, built around XML and other new Web standards for describing content – have allowed outsiders to soup up their businesses with a range of Amazon services. More than 60,000 Web developers have signed up to use Amazons new services, with many hoping to bring new customers to their sites – and earn a commission of up to 10 percent on every sale.
Serves as chief architect for IBMs WebFountain system.
Serves as chief architect for IBMs WebFountain system, which identifies patterns in and extracts meaning from billions of Web pages to aid business decisions and fraud detection.
Developed an entire radar system, squeezed into a single chip.
By squeezing an entire radar system onto a single chip, Ali Hajimiri may have brought us closer to the day when even a low-end car can “see” through fog. Earlier, the Caltech electrical-engineering professor found a way to fabricate a multiwatt amplifier on inexpensive silicon with no external components – a development that could result in smaller, cheaper, less power-hungry single-chip cell phones and led him to start Axiom Microdevices of Orange, CA.
Fabricates microscopic, deformable mirrors on computer chips that perform image correction for medical imaging, surveillance, and other applications.
Combines machine learning and graphics to capture the motion of actors, dancers, and athletes -- and to generate realistic animations for films and video games.
Launched a startup developing micropayments technology that allows artists, small businesses, and others to charge fees of as little as one cent for access to online content.
Improved the security and privacy of radio frequency identification tags, as well as cryptographic tools for authentication systems.
Devised techniques at Bedford, MA, firm to improve the security and privacy of radio frequency identification tags, as well as cryptographic tools for authentication systems based on personal information and biometrics.
Produces biomechanical data vital to the design of air bags and auto safety systems.
Produces biomechanical data vital to the design of air bags and auto safety systems that adjust during a crash, customizing protection to such factors as the passengers size, weight, and physical condition.
Created a thermodynamic simulation that showed the feasibility of gasoline direct injection, which lowers auto fuel consumption and emissions and eliminates the electric starter.
Explores the artistic implications of information technology.
For Dialtones: A Telesymphony, the artist and engineer choreographed the ringing of audience cell phones.
Develops more efficient ways of identifying, finding, and retrieving information on the Web.
The computer scientist also developed the World Wide Web Consortiums Internet privacy standards.
Creates 3-D television and related 3-D photo and video systems that weave together images from multiple cameras.
Uses sophisticated computer graphics and image-rendering techniques at Mitsubishi Electrics Cambridge, MA, lab to create 3-D television and related 3-D photo and video systems that weave together images from multiple cameras.
Invented algorithms for simulating natural phenomena such as splashing water and explosions, for use in movies, video games, and advanced training simulations.
Constructs more-intuitive human-computer interfaces.
The Spanish natives projects include a smart office that can recognize what its occupants are doing and a system that lets users interact with computers via hand gestures.
Created materials that might soon make such integrated photonic circuits possible.
The Internet would be even faster and cheaper if more components of the fiber-optic network could be combined on individual chips – in much the way that computers evolved from room-sized monstrosities to desktop machines when transistors were condensed onto integrated circuits. Chemist Maria Petrucci-Samija has created materials that might soon make such integrated photonic circuits possible. The problem with putting multiple optical components on a single chip is that different components work best when built from different, often incompatible materials. Silica glass is great for shunting a beam of light from one place to another, but its not so good at modulating a signal so that it carries information. Petrucci-Samija has shown that plastics can be molecularly tailored to combine the best of all worlds. “Its really trying to figure out at the atomic level what is necessary to do that,” she says. Petrucci-Samija figured it out well enough to produce a polymer as transparent as the best optical glass; this helped the company she worked for, Lumenon Innovative Lightwave Technology, create the first polymer versions of several optical-communications components. Petrucci-Samijas work continues at DuPont, where she heads a team striving to develop new plastics and to combine plastic and silica glass devices on individual chips. She hopes to have marketable components ready for use in optical networks in about three years. Petrucci-Samija says the first use of integrated photonic circuits will most likely be to make network communications more reliable and bring down the cost of equipment. Eventually, though, the same approach could help realize the dream of superfast optical computers.
Built large computer display systems that seamlessly combine images from multiple projectors.
The computer scientists image-processing and graphics research may lead to new applications in entertain-ment, image-guided surgery, and user interfaces.
Created tools for monitoring and automatically managing Internet traffic on large networks.
The computer scientists innovations are used in several systems, including AT&Ts commercial backbone network.
Designed extremely-low-power wireless-sensor networks.
Designed extremely-low-power wireless-sensor networks at Burlington, MA, startup. The companys dime-sized sensor nodes can be used for environmental monitoring, surveillance, and health-care applications where inexpensive, long-term data collection and control are key.
Built tiny generators for wireless sensor networks that convert low-level background vibrations into electricity, eliminating the need for batteries.
Invents new forms of digital visualization.
The professor of entertainment technology teaches game design and heads simulation projects, including one that helps firefighters deal with terrorism.
Helped develop blue-laser optical-disc storage systems with much greater capacity than todays DVDs. The discs are now being introduced commercially.