Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In search of Jim Gray

Over at Wired, Steve Silberman tells the gripping story of the high-tech hunt that was unleashed six months ago to find Microsoft researcher Jim Gray who, along with his boat, disappeared without a trace somewhere in the Pacific. A huge number of people -- with many different kinds of expertise -- contributed selflessly to the search. And fierce competitors -- Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Oracle -- cooperated not only through monetary contributions, but also through sharing data.

Silberman keeps coming back to a core theme: many of the technologies used in the hi-tech search were pioneered by Gray himself. It reminded me of this story from last year about the inventor of a complex heart surgery going through the same procedure -- at 97!

The difference, unfortunately, is that the search for Jim Gray hasn't been successful -- so far.