Three questions for Leonard Kleinrock

We ask industry luminaries to predict the big IT stories and surprises of 2007

Leonard Kleinrock is emeritus professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He created the basic principles of packet switching -- the foundation of the Internet -- while a graduate student at MIT, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1963. The Los Angeles Times in 1999 called him one of the "50 people who most influenced business this century." He spoke recently with Computerworld's Gary Anthes.

Which IT story took you by surprise in 2006, and why?

By far the largest surprise was the US$1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube by Google. Perhaps it should not have been all that surprising, since most every time we have enabled the masses to communicate and express themselves without constraints, we have seen a huge groundswell of participation and creativity, which typically leads to commercial success of the activity.

What will be the biggest IT story of the new year?

I expect to see huge growth in phone-screen applications. We will continue to see surprising growth in the multibillion-dollar apps, including video and image downloads, sports, gaming and gambling. In addition, the surprise I forecast will be the emergence of powerful location-aware applications for the nomad and his or her mobile device.

What one piece of advice would you offer the IT manager going into 2007?

Enable your users with broadband mobile access and applications, but don't bet on only one broadband technology such as 4G or WiMax. There are a number that will be offered, and it will be dangerous to bet on the winner in that group.

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