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March 12, 2007

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Edward Bevan

For further evidence of the value of eschewing Vannevar Bush's model of separation between 'pure, untainted' research and that influenced by considerations of use, see Donald Stokes' excellent book "Pasteur's Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation." In it he argues that in the history of science, the notion of a distinct separation as proposed by Bush is the exception instead of the rule, and uses Pasteur's work to show how scientific advancement can in fact be aided by mixing investigation for fundamental understanding with an exploration of how such understanding might be put to use. That certainly has been our experience at IBM Research, where many projects (such as our work on new approaches to supercomputing systems such as BlueGene) have been informed by considering a range of use constraints and requirements as part of our inquiry into novel computer science problems.

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