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Address by TIMOTHY C. KUHFUS, Director, Electronic and Computing Technologies Division, Argonne National Laboratory
Delivered to the Next Generation Internet (NGI) Forum, Chicago, Illinois, December 16, 1998
Let me begin by acknowledging the giants of our industry, who are present in spirit in every forum, conference, or meeting we hold. Among these giants are ...
* Charles Exley of NCR, who once said, "I've been in this business 36 years and I've learned a lot. Most of it doesn't apply anymore";
* Tom Watson of IBM, who once said, "There is a world market for about five computers";
* Ken Olsen of Digital, who once said, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home";
* and Janet Reno's good friend Bill Gates ... of Mount Olympus ... who once said, "640K ought to be enough for anyone."
But I'm not going to talk about any of them today. What I am going to talk about in the next 20 minutes or so are Perception, Self-Interest, and a high-school kid named Nicholas.
It may seem that these three things have little to do with the future of the Next Generation Internet. But I suggest to you that these three things will determine the future of the Next Generation Internet - and far more so than our most exotic visions of what computational science might be in 2050 ... or our most entrancing projections of a distributed global database, accessible in real-time from Kuala Lumpur to Point Barrow, and solving your every information need at multi-petaflop speed.
Yes, Perception, Self-Interest, and Nicholas are more important than all that.
I grant you that's a bold assertion on my part. So if I'm going to persuade you, then I had better get started.And the best place to start is with Nicholas.
Nicholas is a real kid. And if things had turned out differently, he'd be standing here next to me right now.
We wanted to hire Nicholas for the summer. A bright kid. Good natural aptitude for computational science. Potential to become a permanent employee when he graduates from college. Oh and the record will show that the fact that Nicholas now attends my former high school had nothing to do with this decision.
Anyhow, even though Argonne is not staffed with government employees, we do have to cope with some government procedures. Given that we're using their buildings, their equipment, and their money, they tend to want to have a say in what we do.
So it took us a little time to arrange to hire Nicholas.
But in that time, a corporate employer approached him with an attractive summer job, paying 50 percent more than we could pay, with a high probability of continued employment in summers-to-come and after graduation.
Nicholas took the corporate offer.
All my talk about the dynamic future and the role of technology in the 21st Century was trumped …