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This characteristic of universities, which is true both literally and figuratively, can pay enormous unanticipated dividends. Chance interactions in an open environment can change the world; for example, when Microsoft founders Paul Allen and Bill Gates were students at Seattle’s Lakeside School in the early 1970s, they were exposed to computing and computer science at the University of Washington and a university spinoff company, Computer Center Corporation. 21 22 INNOVATION IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ogy transfer (see Box 7).

S. Navy had founded the Office of Naval Research to draw on science and engineering resources in the universities. In the early 1950s, during an intense phase of the Cold War, the military services became the preeminent funders of computing and communications research. The Soviet Union’s launching of Sputnik in 1957 raised fears in Congress and the country that the Soviets had forged ahead of the United States in advanced technology. S. Department of Defense, pressured by the Eisenhower administration, established the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, now DARPA) to fund technological projects with military implications.

Users in banking, commerce, education, health care, and manufacturing) tend to support research on IT, despite their increasing reliance on IT and their stake in the way IT systems are molded. Likewise, there is little academic research on large-scale systems or social applications. Within the IT sector, systems research has tended to focus on improving the performance and lowering the costs of IT systems rather than on improving their reliability, flexibility, or scalability (although systems research is slated to receive more attention in new funding programs).

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