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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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