21 stories

SEATTLE – Paul Allen has been waiting for the emergence of intelligent machines for a very long time. As a young boy, Allen spent much of his time in the library reading science-fiction novels in which robots manage our homes, perform surgery and fly around saving lives like superheroes. In his imagination, these beings would live among us, serving as our advisers, companions and friends.More →

Twenty years ago today, somebody flipped a switch and opened the floodgates. On April 30, 1995, the last federally funded portion of the Internet shut down, turning it into a free-enterprise operation.

It was just one major breakthrough of 1995, the year the Internet achieved lift-off. Amazon, eBay, craigslist, and all went live that year, while Microsoft rolled out its first Internet Explorer browser. In 1995, about 16 million people were online, less than half a percent of the human race. Just five years later, 5 percent of the world had logged on. Today, it’s 3 billion of us — 40 percent of the planet. Probably no other technology has caught on so fast, built so many new businesses, or demolished so many old ones.More →

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is doubling down its effort to become a top-tier university for “Big Data” research. On Thursday, the flagship school in the commonwealth’s university system will announce the launch of a new center for data science. Over the next decade, the school plans to hire 40 new faculty positions and raise $100 million through industry investments to expand the school’s presence in the burgeoning field.More →

In this weekend’s Boston Globe Magazine, business columnist Shirley Leung writes about InnerCity Weightlifting, the Dorchester gym that has provided a source of support and job opportunities to formerly incarcerated men by helping them become personal trainers. For the past two years, founder Jon Feinman has been pairing members of the gym with employees at Microsoft’s New England headquarters for training sessions. Now he plans to take the idea one step further and open a gym in the heart of the Cambridge tech community. As Leung writes:More →

A little more than five years ago, I wrote about a re-org at Microsoft’s internal Startup Labs product development group. It turned out to be curtains for the Cambridge-based team, led by Reed Sturtevant — even though their old Web address still optimistically implores visitors to “please come back later.” But five years on, it’s clear the 2009 shakeup and ensuing departures freed up a number of people who’ve gone on to pollinate the local startup scene.More →