Microsoft expands academic development partnerships

[MARCH 4, 2003/ADT'S PROGRAMMERS REPORT] - Linux, like Unix and C before it, made headway in corporations because it was already familiar to university graduates new to the workforce.

Free or nearly free software for academia made this possible, and that fact has not gone unnoticed by desktop software giant Microsoft Corp. Most especially, the company does not want to lose advantages it has gained over the last 10 years as use of its Visual Studio suites has spread.

Microsoft, in recent years, has worked to improve the visibility of its development tools on campus. Last month, that effort was expanded. Microsoft also announced that the next version of its flagship programming tool for academia, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Academic Edition, will be released to U.S. schools in conjunction with professional versions of the tool.

All this is something of a philanthropic thing to do, but it can also serve a purpose in the marketplace, admits Jason Matusow, manager of the Shared Source Unit at Microsoft.

''The MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network] Academic Alliance is about making our software more available to students,'' Matusow said. ''We also recognize that these students do come to work in the professional space.'' If the opportunity is there to work with Microsoft tools, ''they won't have to ramp up,'' said Matusow, who estimates that more than 3 million students and faculty can now access the MSDN Academic Alliance program.

At the time of these announcements, Microsoft also said that source code for an Assignment Manager component of Visual Studio .NET 2003, which allows teachers to fashion programming courseware, will be made available under Microsoft's Shared Source Initiative through an Academic Tools Source License.

In addition, the company announced 25 academic recipients of Innovation Excellence research grants. This year, the program garnered 152 submissions, almost double the amount it received last year, and Microsoft will award $3.5 million to the chosen projects. Among the winners are a BioHazard project at Carnegie Mellon, a 3D Digital Sketching project at Cornell, peer-to-peer security technology at Rice, and a ''Ubiquitous Awareness in a College Environment'' program at Catholic University of Chile.

List of grant recipients:
* Carnegie Mellon, BioHazard project
* Catholic University of Chile, Ubiquitous Awareness in a College Environment
* Cornell, Distributed Systems Support for the Global Real Time Enterprise
* Cornell, From Sketch to Solid, 3D Digital Sketching
* Georgia Tech, Augmenting Mobile Devices by Opportunistically Annexing Devices in the Environment
* Georgia Tech, SAC.NET
* Michigan State, PromoPad: Tablet PCs as an Augmented Reality Shipping Asst.
* Monash/Queensland (Australia) & University of Tennessee, NetSolve and Active Sheets
* NYU, Casual Communication of Ideas: The Killer App for the Tablet PC
* Ohio State, Introducing Modular GXA Web Services to Healthcare IT and Mobile Systems
* Purdue, iCare
* Rice, LeSTer
* Rice, Security for Structured Peer-to-Peer Overlay Networks
* Universidad Technologica Nacional (Argentina), Ubiquitous Computing
* UC Berkeley, LiveNotes
* UC San Diego, Extensible Context-Aware Component Infrastructure for Highly Integrated, Heterogeneous .NET Clients
* Minnesota, A New Design Tool on Tablet PC
* Pennsylvania, Authorizing Routing for Web Services
* USC, Proteus, a System for Execution of Dynamically Composed Web Services Using GXA
* Information Sciences Institute, Responsible Conferencing: Congestion Control for High Quality Media
* Toronto, Tilting Text Input to Mobile Devices
* Virginia, Federated Secure Trust Networks for Distributed Healthcare IT Services
* Virginia, GXA for E-Science, OGSA.NET
* Washington, The Teacher Experience Project

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About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.


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