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Jim Gray missing at sea February 4, 2007

Posted by Vijay in Jim Gray, Microsoft, People.
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There is a story of a different kind making waves. Jim Gray, a pioneer in the field of databases and transaction process, and a Turing Award winner is missing at sea.

The coast guard has called off its search but Gray’s friends, colleagues, and companies have come together to use the latest satellite and Internet technologies to search for the missing man.

Sergey Brin the founder of Google has offered assistance, as has Amazon, Oracle and tons of others who have either worked with Gray or have been influenced by him. The NY Times carries a great article on this and I quote below

In the meantime, as word swept through the high-technology community, dozens of Dr. Gray’s colleagues, friends and former students began banding together on Monday to supplement the Coast Guard’s efforts with the tool they know best: computer technology.

The flurry of activity, which began in earnest on Tuesday, escalated as the days and nights passed. A veritable Who’s Who of computer scientists from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, NASA and universities across the country spent sleepless nights writing ad hoc software, creating a blog and reconfiguring satellite images so that dozens of volunteers could pore over them, searching for a speck of red hull and white deck among a sea of gray pixels.

Coast Guard officials said they had never before seen such a concerted, technically creative effort carried out by friends and family of a missing sailor. “This is the largest strictly civilian, privately sponsored search effort I have ever seen,” said Capt. David Swatland, deputy commander of the Coast Guard sector in San Francisco, who has spent most of his 23-year career in search and rescue.

Techcrunch carries a great article titled Help Find Jim Gray with Web 2.0.