Ed Lazowska

University of Washington computer science professor Ed Lazowska is known for his strong opinions. And he got to share some of those Thursday, testifying before the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Science Education. Lazowska’s main point: Federal research dollars play a critical role in helping to spark innovation.

Lazowska was making the case for the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD) Program, an effort that he said is essential to the health of the IT industry. Lazowska contends that federal dollars actually complement the money flowing into the IT industry from private sources.

That symbiotic relationship is one that needs to be supported in his view.

“The payoff has been an explosion of new technologies that have
touched nearly every aspect of our lives, and the creation of new industries and millions of new jobs,” he said.

To illustrate his point, Lazowska singled out Apple’s wildly popular tablet computer, the iPad.

“Here’s a great example of this R&D ecosystem at work: Apple’s iPad. It’s amazing – a device that perhaps only Apple could have designed. But every distinctive aspect of this device – the multi-touch user interface, the sensors, the processor – has its origins in federally sponsored research,” said Lazowska in his written testimony.

In addition to Lazowska, Kathryn McKinley of Microsoft Research also testified. Their written testimonies are posted below.

Here’s McKinley’s testimony:

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  • http://www.facebook.com/husting Patrick Husting

    And those Federal Research dollars wouldn’t be here without us paying Taxes either….

  • http://twitter.com/joelgrus Joel Grus

    Step 1: Get the government involved in everything.
    Step 2: Observe that many of things we like involved government involvement.
    Step 3: Conclude that we need the government MORE involved in everything.
    Step 4: Repeat.

  • http://twitter.com/metapgmr Jean-Jacques Dubray

    I think Ed should also ask when you have $130+ B in the bank and you are “not sure” what to do with it, why don’t you look at the shoulders you are sitting on? Would Apple exist without Bell Labs or Xerox PARC? TI Central Research Lab?

    Did Bardeen, Schocklet and Brattain had the iPad in mind when they invented the Transistor? Did Kilby and Noyce had the MacBook Air in mind when they invented the integrated circuit? Did Cerf and Khan had iTunes in mind when they invented the Internet?

    These are the people that are truly “unrivaled” at innovation.

    In case you wonder where is Apple Research Lab? Here is a good review at Apple’s R&D spent: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506766/can-apple-still-innovate-on-a-shoestring/

  • http://twitter.com/joygantic mark donovan

    Can you find/post the chart Ed references in his testimony?

  • vexorian

    So in fact, the company that does all the effort possible not to pay taxes. Not only get huge benefit from government-endorsed monopoly winning trials on protectionist basis, but also free rode on research that was paid by US citizens?

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