Saturday, July 10, 2010

MIT and India Build a Global Force in IT

I never once suspected how large a role MIT played in building India into the force it is today in the global IT industry, despite my having attended many meetings stressing the symbiotic relationship between MIT and Entrepreneurship. Recently, Professor Ed Roberts described the significant contributions to the US economy made by foreign students who attended MIT and subsequently started companies here. Then I received the following invitation to a lecture at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA:

“In the last fifteen years the very names Bangalore and Silicon Valley have become evocative of the important connections between India and the United States in the global IT industry. Historian Ross Bassett argues that the linkages between the two countries are far older and deeper than is widely known. In the course of his research, he found that Indian graduates of MIT, to a remarkable extent, significantly influenced the creation of modern technological India. In the colonial period, a small group of Indians, including some associated with Gandhi, went to MIT as an anti-colonial act and as a way to develop technological capabilities for India. Indian graduates of MIT played a key role in the founding of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), and in the years after 1947, were central figures in the Indian steel industry, the atomic program, and the space program. The Indian IT industry today is to an astounding degree the product of Indian graduates of MIT. Since 1965, Indian graduates of MIT and graduates of MIT once removed---that is graduates of the IITs---have also played an increasingly important role in American technology and computing.”

Alas, I won’t be able to attend this lecture, which is being held on Thursday, July 15. The Museum runs a variety of intellectually stimulating events such as this one. At the very least, I would recommend you visit their web site and subscribe to their electronic newsletter. Having been one of the founders of the original Digital Computer Museum, located here in Boston on Museum Wharf, it continues to sadden me that it moved to California. You can view a video describing the origin and goals of the museum here.

One museum function that I did attend was celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the IBM System/360. That night’s entire program can also be seen on video, although they stopped filming just as Bill Worthington and I joined Gene Amdahl, Fred Brooks, and many other members of the original team cutting the birthday cake.

Now about that outsourcing............

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