MIT and Taiwanese laptop maker Quanta Computer have begun a joint five-year, $20m research project to develop an new generation of platforms for computing and communications that they say will change the way we interact with technology.
The project, called TParty, aims to take the work of maintaining, upgrading and patching all our many devices - such as handhelds, laptops, and mobile phones - into the background. As well as reengineering the underlying technical infrastructure, those working on the project will have to create new interfaces, and propose new ways of managing and accessing information.
Professor Rodney Brooks, director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), said that the goal of the project was to "work toward a new world of self-organising devices that will make our lives more pleasant and productive".
He explained that MIT would put together prototypes that demonstrate ideas, and that Quanta would take those ideas and build more solid prototypes from those, with a view to integrating some of the ideas into its product line.
The Taiwanese company is actually the world's biggest laptop manufacturer, building machines for HP, Dell and IBM, among others.
MIT President Susan Hockfield said that the project has "tremendous implications" for the future of personal computing, and built on a long-standing tradition at the university of addressing issues "that are increasingly important to all of us in the digital age". ®