For those who don’t know about the Russian Big Project aimed at driving national modernization and innovation processes, I quote some introductory lines from “Russia has a wealth of engineering talent, but needs to put a lot more in place” by David Talbot:
Russia is finalizing plans to launch a Silicon Valley-like "innovation center" near Moscow. The Kremlin has selected a patch of farmland near a private business school, has set aside funding, and this week named a Nobel laureate, the physicist Zhores Alferov, as the project's science advisor. Now comes the hard part: making it work.
Yesterday, a Russian business oriented daily Vedomosti announced that according to A.Dvorkovitch, a Russian Presidential aide on economy and the secretary of Commission on Modernization, the first project already selected for Skolkovo (native name of location of the future innovation center) is a project of a Russian investment fund Almaz Capital to create business incubators in the field of cloud programming. It is alleged that besides cloud computing, the same project, under the same funding will develop computer speech recognition and technology transfer of 3D-images through the Internet.
Speech Recognition and efficient 3D images transfer are obviously respectable and fundamental projects, so combining them into one package with a symbolic funding of about 30-35 million dollars, in my opinion, seems strange, to put it mildly. Most likely, two additional projects are included to make the application more clear for decision makers: in these situations, in Soviet times, when unable to estimate the fundamental scientific and technological significance of proposals, such decision makers severely asked: “What does it give to our national economy?”. By the way, as the article quotes, "half (of those $30-35 M), will hopefully be given by the government "...
One of the experts mentioned in the article noted that major Western companies (e.g. IBM or HP) have already invested billions of dollars - likely without close correlation with computer speech recognition. Another expert believes it would be more reasonable to use existing Western results and adapt them to the Skolkovo project under the requirements of Russian consumers, in particular taking open-source software as the basis.
Finally I want to remind of my earlier post Clouds in Russia and give a link to the web site of the first Cloud Computing Congress - the first international event on this topic in Russia which will be held in a week in Moscow with a strategic partnership of Microsoft. In September COFES-Russia, in one of its working groups, will discuss cloud computing in CAD/PLM.
Source: Vedomosti article