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In Search of Research

5:45 PM -- The EMC Innovation Network is... Well, it's tough to tell, really. (See EMC Enhances Network.) Here's how EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) describes it:

    The global, collaborative community including some of the world's brightest technology minds comprises EMC research, advanced development resources, university research partners and key customers that will seek to drive the exploration, discovery and application of new technologies that will shape the future of information infrastructure.

But EMC already has 5,000 employees in R&D and dedicates more than $1 billion to research every year. The company already has commitments from Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Stanford, to name just a few. It's already working on a range of advanced technologies. What's different here?

"We are not changing the organization. We are introducing a virtual community," says Burt Kaliski, the former chief scientist from RSA who has been put in charge of the Innovation Network and reports to EMC CTO Jeff Nick.

Now, this guy's smart. In a recent interview, we knew he understood our questions. We also knew he didn't want to answer very many of them:

  • How many employees will be dedicated to this effort?
    "We're not giving numbers."
  • How much money has been earmarked for the network?
    "That's not the question to ask. It's more important to know how this will make existing R&D investment stronger."
  • What new tools and techniques will enable the Innovation Network?
    "We are putting tools in place... the particular tools are not so important."
  • Is VMware included?
    "VMware is not part of the internal collaboration... EMC partners with many in the external collaboration environment."

Supposedly, the Innovation Network will home in on issues like advanced searching or Semantic Web, information-centric security, Web 2.0 storage, and information grids. It will bring researchers EMC is already working with together with ones who haven't been networked before.

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