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Virginia Researchers To Help Entrepreneurs Do Business On the Internet

From Inside UVA
September 11, 1998

A partnership of 11 research groups at four Virginia universities, led by U.Va. Computer Science Professor Alfred C. Weaver, has been formed to assist the Commonwealth's growing industry in Internet-related businesses.

Called the Internet Technology Innovation Center (ITIC), the project was announced last month by Barry E. DuVal, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. The state's Center for Innovative Technology will support the partnership with $2 million over the next five years.

Although the official opening is Oct. 1, the center has already started its work. "We want to talk to companies," Weaver said.

The ITIC, which involves 12 faculty members at U.Va., Virginia Tech, George Mason University and Christopher Newport University, will help companies put their ideas or businesses online by accelerating the creation and deployment of network-based information technology, especially in electronic commerce, and by developing the hardware/software infrastructure that Virginia needs for the coming knowledge-based economy.

"ITIC will establish a rapid response team that can analyze a company's situation, recommend strategies, develop rapid prototypes, and help a company utilize electronic products and services," said Weaver.

One of Weaver's projects, for example, is helping a small company apply its patented data-searching technique to the Internet. Then people would be able to use the company's software to tailor searches for products online according to the characteristics and price range they want. Weaver's group is concentrating on Internet business tools, whereas Virginia Tech scientists are working on wireless communication hardware for cellular phones and mobile computing.

The Internet Technology Innovation Center is one of three innovation centers recently selected by CIT. "Business and regional groups called for the creation of these centers" in a recent report called "Virginia's Blueprint for Technology based Economic Growth," said Robert G. Templin Jr., CIT's president. The other two new centers are the 21st Century Manufacturing Innovation Center, to be based at James Madison University, and the Center for Plasma and Photon Processing, to be located in Newport News.

For further information, please contact itic@cs.virginia.edu


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