Lester Earnest (BS '53)

I've been having a good time despite some adversities. In 1965 I was recruited by the Computer Science Department of Stanford University to create a new graduate research lab, so I designed, set up, named, and managed the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL), which soon became a hotbed of innovation.

SAIL people directly or indirectly spun off many successful research groups as well as dozens of corporations such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Cisco, D.E. Shaw and Associates, Google, iRobot, Rambus, and Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle).

While all that was going on I personally initiated the creation of many computer-related inventions that are now in use around the world and the developers who took them to market have made hundreds of billions of dollars with more to come. I consider that an honor, even though they never gave me a nickel, because I had done that work in open source mode. See my web site at web.stanford.edu/~learnest/ for a summary of those accomplishments and my argument that patents should be dumped because they inhibit progress.

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In Their Own Words