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Sun opens French research lab

Sun Microsystems expands its labs into Europe, opening a facility in Grenoble, France, expected to employ 30 researchers.

Sun Microsystems has expanded its labs into Europe, opening a facility in Grenoble, France, expected to employ 30 researchers.

The facility, opened Tuesday, joins sister labs in Mountain View, Calif., and Burlington, Mass. The location was selected for quality of life and its proximity to universities and industrial labs, said Jeff Rulifson, director of Sun Labs Europe. The new facility also is near Sun's International Center for Network Computing.

Research labs, though expensive, are a tried-and-true method for large technology corporations to try out new inventions, test what's feasible, and increase prestige. Two of Sun's biggest competitors, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, have renowned research facilities of their own.

Sun's research efforts have produced software such as Java and Jini and hardware such as the company's UltraSparc chip. Current research efforts focus on cryptography, security, the use of Internet standards for all types of communications, and large-scale computers.

Sun plans to collaborate with universities and other institutions, and the European lab will administer a cooperative research program with Sun and six Indian Institute of Technology campuses, Sun said.