Communications of the ACM reports on the report of the Presidents Council of Advisors on Science and Technology concerning the Federal Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program. (UW CSE’s Ed Lazowska co-chaired the Working Group that advised PCAST on the report.)
“An example of high payback was given at the report’s public release by Akamai founder Tom Leighton. He related a story of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency funding he received in the 1990s to study ‘highly mathematical and highly theoretical subjects … the living example of high-risk research.’ When the research was finished, Internet companies weren’t interested in the results – even for free.
“‘So we started a company called Akamai Technologies,’ Leighton says. ‘We [now] carry over a third of Web traffic … and are probably paying over $100 million in taxes this year. But it wasn’t the kind of research that companies fund.'”
Read the article here.