Monday, September 1, 2008

Massachusetts Rich History of Technology Innovation

Massachusetts has a rich history of technology innovation and has been at the forefront of each major technology platform in the information technology industry. A few data points pulled from the Council's file on local accomplishments...

- Mainframes were developed in Massachusetts at Harvard/MIT. Digital Equipment Corp (DEC), Data General, Prime, and other Route 128 companies had the first successes in the area of minicomputers;
- Massachusetts was a leader in PC software development. Council Trustee Dan Bricklin created VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet on the Apple computer; 
- Massachusetts' Bolt Beranek & Newman (BBN) got the federal contract from Advanced Research Projects Administration (ARPA), renamed in 1972 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA), to develop Internet technology and in the process developed ubiquitous email;
- The World Wide Web Consortium which establishes standard for the Web is headquartered at MIT;
- Council Trustee Jeff Taylor, a serial entrepreneur, changed the way people look for jobs when he created;
- E-learning was created in Massachusetts. Council Trustee, Carol Vallone, founder of WebCT, developed the technology that makes it possible for millions of students around the globe, including in our own state and community college system, to have online access to education anytime, anywhere;
- The role of our area universities in development of transformative technologies includes traditional academic research and technology transfer as well as cutting edge student-created businesses, such as Facebook (Harvard) and Napster (Northeastern);

Massachusetts companies have been leaders in robotics and have pioneered commercially successful products:
- First industrial robots for semiconductor manufacturing 
- First and leader in ground robots to support U.S. troops 
- First therapeutic robots 
- Leader in home use robots such as vacuum cleaners, floor washers, and physical therapy 
- Leader in service robots for use in distribution/logistics and inventory management 
- Leader in underwater robotics for oceanographic survey, defense, and security 
- Leader in educational robots 
- First behavior-based robots

Massachusetts information technology community is continuing its legacy of technology innovation and leadership. Local software entrepreneurs are developing new products and service delivery models to capture untapped markets, including Clean Tech, Digital Games, HealthCare, Open Source, Robotics, Social Media, Software as a Service, an more.

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