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Academic, Industrial Researchers Form Communications Institute

LONDON — A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge University and University College, London will collaborate on developing and implementing a range of emerging communications technologies in collaboration with industrial partners.

The academics are coming together under the auspices of the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) to form the Communications Innovation Institute (CII) that aims to foster multi-disciplinary research into emerging technologies such as third-generation peer-to-peer communications systems, wireless on optical technology and Internet privacy technologies.

The first industrial partner to join is British Telecom, but David Clark, a senior research scientist at MIT, said many potential partners are already on board. He hopes several more will formally join after an initial workshop being held this week in the U.K. that will outline the initiative's benefits.

CII officials argue that communications research and the industry it serves have been separated into different "silos" and plagued by a lack of effective communications.

"Classical academic research is portioned into different labs and departments, and separate from industrial technology labs, business schools, government departments. We felt we needed to change this and provide a new structure that ties these different disciplines together," said David Clark, an MIT senior research scientist.

Clark said the problem with the communications industry is clearly not a lack of innovation but lack of agreement on what the future should look like and the path forward. The initiative is intended for find the way by overcoming some of the bottlenecks that stifle coordinated research.

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