The World Changers

ABCNEWS.com
Nov 18, 1999

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 18 - To celebrate its 100th anniversary, the MIT Technology Review, the oldest journal of science and technology in the United States, has selected the TR 100 - 100 innovative technologists and scientists under the age of 35. Profiles of selected members of the TR 100 will appear on ABCNEWS.com through Jan. 1, 2000. Here is this week's installment.

Adam L. Beberg, 25, Cosm
Some computational problems, such as defeating today's commercial encryption, strain even the most powerful machines. Beberg has figured out how to tackle such challenges: Throw the unused time of 10,000 computers at them. Such "distributed computing" promises greater access to number-crunching power, possibly leading to scientific and technological breakthroughs. For example, SETI@home, a search for intelligent life in the universe, is following Beberg's lead with a distributed computing scheme to analyze radio telescope data.

In a realm with more commercial significance, encryption, Beberg's ideas have already paid off. In 1997, he founded a nonprofit group called Distributed.net. During the group's first year, it was host to an alliance of computers called the Bovine Cooperative, which won a prize by breaking a form of encryption known as RC5. Beberg left Distributed.net in April to work on Cosm, an open-source distributed computing project. Says former colleague Michael Labriola, now CEO of Invisible Web Publishing: "The ideas that came intuitively to him could literally change the world."


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