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Communications of the ACM


Google's Hybrid Approach to Research

Google Fellow Jeffrey Dean

Google Fellow Jeffrey Dean discusses MapReduce, Google File System, and BigTable during a keynote session.

Credit: Niall Kennedy

By closely connecting research and development Google is able to conduct experiments on an unprecedented scale, often resulting in new capabilities for the company.

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"We have also noted that CS is an expanding sphere, where the core of the field (theory, operating systems, and so forth) continues to grow in depth, while the field keeps expanding into neighboring application areas." In my humble opinion a straight line would be the a better geometrical entity to model this phenomenon than a sphere...


Does this necessarily imply that research which do not translate into usable products/implementations is not good research?


An alternate hybrid approach helps to understand how Google's mission can be stated differently than "To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Google should do research and development within the context of Library Science as well as Computer Science. We are doing students a disservice today because they are not using the library as a resource but end up "Googleing " information. A more apt mission statement for Google at this point is Google's mission "To MONETIZE the world's information BY MAKEING IT it universally accessible and useful."


is this way of organizing themselves only in Google or in other companies? I guess should be in almost all companies. Applied research makes a lots of sense, while trying to turn theoretical aspects into reality. Being in business or market itself means a need for balanced research (academic and applied).

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