With hundreds of new technologies rearing their heads on a weekly basis, pinpointing which innovators and innovations will have an impact as the New Economy moves forward is a difficult proposition. Running the gamut from chips to hardware to programming tools to software, these innovators are driving the kinds of technologies that will help make the intersection of the Internet and e-business a reality.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin
Company Google Inc.
Claim to fame: Search engine
Page and Brin were Ph.D. candidates at Stanford University when they hit upon a big idea: a way to make search engine results more relevant. Page and Brin's research in data mining and link analysis led them to believe a search engine could be developed that ranked the importance of Web pages based on the number of links that refer to that Web page. In other words, the more Web pages cite a source as an authority, the more likely that source is going to be universally useful. Funding from top venture capitalists turned a student research project into a search engine start-up. Google's big coup earlier this year was when Yahoo signed on to use its technology. More to come from Google includes an algorithm that eliminates using a phone keypad for typing messages.
-- Sean Dugan
Company Transmeta Corp.
Claim to fame: Microprocessor
With more than 25 years of experience in the field of advanced computing, David Ditzel, CEO of Transmeta, has a vision for a new kind of computer: One that would learn how to improve its performance and save power as it ran, and be the first to use advanced software as part of the processor itself. With the inception of Transmeta in 1995, Ditzel and Transmeta have created a viable alternative to well-entrenched processors such as those from Intel and Sun Microsystems.
-- Dan Neel
Company Corvis Corp.
Claim to fame: High-speed networks
Huber was an early pioneer in the development of the optical technologies that form the basis of today's high-speed networks. In 1992, Huber founded Ciena, which created some of the initial equipment to incorporate DWDM (dense wave division multiplexing), a method of increasing bandwidth via fiber by transmitting multiple light signals simultaneously. In 1997, Huber founded Corvis and began a drive to develop all-optical networks that route traffic over long distances without the need for expensive electronic regeneration. Huber holds 41 U.S. patents in optics technology.
-- Cathleen Moore
Company Phone.com Inc.
Claim to fame: WAP
Rossmann, founder and chairman of the board of Phone.com, is often called the father of the technology that the high-tech industry loves to hate: WAP (Wireless Application Protocol). Depending on which side of the fence you're standing, Rossmann's WAP gateway and WAP micro-browser have been called everything from an incomplete temporary technology to the only wireless standard that will make mobile commerce a reality. Whatever you call it, Rossmann -- who handed the technology to an industry association called the WAP Forum -- is not standing still. Under Rossmann's guidance, WAP's WML (Wireless Markup Language) will be, according to the WAP Forum, the only markup language compatible with XML, the recognized industry standard for content delivery to and from any device.
-- Ephraim Schwartz
Kent Beck and Ward Cunningham
Company Consultants, FirstClass Software and Cunningham & CunninghamClaim to fame: Extreme programmingThese two innovators bear watching as they promote a new methodology for software development called extreme programming, or XP. Based on four core values -- communication, simplicity, feedback, and courage -- this controversial approach to software development promises to better integrate the business and technical teams across your company, increase collaboration, and deliver results of a higher quality. But XP's location-centric approach may not work as well for distributed development projects, and coding in pairs as defined by XP may not work at some companies. Additional data is needed to determine success vs. failure ratios of XP vs. other approaches. And it remains to be seen how XP will mesh with the advent of the virtual organization.
-- Maggie Biggs
Claim to fame: Decentralized peer-to-peer softwareClarke is attempting to create freedom of speech on the Internet with his FreeNet software package. FreeNet allows anyone to access and swap any form of information anonymously -- from music and videos to corporate data. Unlike Napster, which is centralized peer-to-peer technology, FreeNet is decentralized. That means there can be no one person, computer, or organization controlling it.
-- Ed Scannell