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Berkeley Prof Helped Divvy Up Search to Many Servers

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UC Berkeley Professor Eric A. Brewer

University of California, Berkeley Computer Science professor Eric Brewer is the latest winner of the ACM-Infosys Foundation Award.

Credit: University of California, Berkeley

ACM has named University of California, Berkeley computer science professor Eric Brewer the recipient of the 2009 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award for his contribution to the development of highly scalable Internet services. Brewer broke down jobs, which once required large and expensive servers systems, so they could be handled by many inexpensive, small machines. Brewer also developed a way to replicate computing chores so that if one server went down, another would provide the answer without users noticing an interruption. He also developed Brewer's wireless hypothesis, which suggests providing communications and computing capabilities to developing nations is more helpful than waiting for more conventional components of their economies to take shape.

Instead of using Wi-Fi technology to cover a small area, Brewer developed technology called WiLDNet that can send signals in a single direction over long distances at a very low cost. Applications of WiLDNet include helping to remotely diagnose eye ailments by using wireless videoconferencing.

"He demonstrated not only could you help people but you could advance the state of the art," says Berkeley computer science professor David Patterson. The award, which is sponsored by the Infosys Foundation, includes a $150,000 prize.

From The Wall Street Journal
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