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Intel open-source expert heads to start-up

A long-time open-source insider has moved to Revolution Computing, a start-up focused on the R programming language and programming tools for multicore chips.

Danese Cooper
Danese Cooper

Danese Cooper, who spent more than three years as senior director of Intel's open-source strategies, has taken a similar job at Revolution Computing, a start-up that's commercializing the open-source R programming technology for data analysis.

Cooper, who took on the title of open-source diva at Sun Microsystems before her stint at Intel, plans to help Revolution expand its current community of developers and users to a broader group, she said in an interview. For example, she'll work on better user groups and new assets to help the community.

Intel, an investor in Revolution, "wanted me to go help them nail their community strategy," she said. But Cooper ended up with a job at the company, not just an outside advisory role, she said.

Cooper drew a parallel between the position of Revolution and Sun. Sun's Java programming language was popular among expert programmers, but Sun eventually came around to the idea of trying to promote it among the larger number of more ordinary programmers.

The company works on the R programming language and associated technology designed for statistical and analytical computing, trying to help move it from an academic tool to a commercial application. Revolution offers proprietary extensions for the open-source tools, one of the hybrid business models open-source businesses employ. Customers include Pfizer, Novartis, Bank of America, and the Yale Cancer Center.

Revolution focuses in particular on the ability to run software that takes advantage of multicore processors. With traditional software development, it's difficult to break programming up into tasks that run in parallel across independent processors or processor cores.

In other open-source involvement, Cooper is a member of the Apache Software Foundation and is on a advisory board.