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Google, Microsoft and Sun Fund RAD Lab

Google, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems will provide $7.5 million over five years to fund research at the Reliable, Adaptive and Distributed systems laboratory, or the RAD Lab, at the University of California, Berkeley. The National Science Foundation, the UC Discovery and the Microelectronics Innovation and the Computer Research Opportunities (MICRO) programs are also providing funding.

RAD Lab researchers will focus on developing alternatives to traditional software engineering, which follows a "waterfall" model of development. Instead of infrequent, well-tested upgrades, code for Internet services is continually being modified on the fly as the product is scaled up to accommodate millions of users. The lab's founders say this fix-it-as-you-go feedback loop enables speedier deployment, but it also requires a large technical support staff to make sure operations are not disrupted as bugs are resolved.

"Our goal is to create technology that will enable individual inventors and entrepreneurs to provide new services of value similar to large Internet services people use every day," said David Patterson, UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences and founding director of the RAD Lab.

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