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Gupta succeeds Ruina as director of RPCP

Dr. Amar Gupta, a senior research scientist at the Sloan School of Management, has become the new director and principal investigator of the Research Program on Communications Policy (RPCP) at the MIT Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development (CTPID).

Dr. Gupta succeeds Professor Jack Ruina, who has retired from MIT.

"We are delighted that Dr. Gupta has agreed to direct this program," said Professor Daniel Roos, CTPID director. "The RPCP has an impressive record of shaping public policy. From a narrowly focused debate on high-definition television in the late 1980s, the program has since developed a broader vision of high-resolution digital communications, melding technology and policy options to enable new electronic infrastructures such as the Information Superhighway. We believe that Dr. Gupta-with a strong background in information technology and management, coupled with knowledge of issues involving both developed and developing countries-is the ideal person at MIT to lead RPCP at this stage."

The thrust of Dr. Gupta's research has been on the management of very large amounts of information, including information that is not directly computer-accessible. Dr. Gupta plans to involve the RPCP with PROFIT, a Sloan School research program which he co-directs. PROFIT-Productivity from Information Technology-defines new processes required for greater efficiency in using data and information technology in both the public and private sectors.

"The RPCP and PROFIT research groups complement each other at several levels," Dr. Gupta said. "PROFIT focuses on new information technologies and their applications in business, whereas RPCP concentrates on policies that would facilitate use of such technologies. PROFIT emphasizes the computing side of information technology, and RPCP stresses its communication aspect. And PROFIT and RPCP collectively provide a rich and diverse portfolio of government and corporate sponsors that serve as test beds for new ideas."

Dr. Gupta is pursuing the possibility of PROFIT and RPCP jointly executing projects in the areas of transportation, information infrastructure, agile manufacturing and electronic commerce. In each case, the critical pieces of information are spread over dissimilar systems and multiple types of media, providing ample opportunities to perform further research for individuals affiliated with PROFIT, RPCP and CTPID, which already has significant research in these areas through its International Motor Vehicle Program and the Fast and Flexible Research Program.

A project that Dr. Gupta believes is complementary to the work at PROFIT is RPCP's design and development of the Networked Multimedia Information System (NMIS). This work-conducted with the Center for Advanced Educational Services at MIT and sponsored jointly by Turner, IBM and several government agencies-facilitates transmission and intelligent access to television-based material over the Internet. Another RPCP research effort that could both benefit from and be an asset to PROFIT research efforts, Dr. Gupta said, is the design of headers and descriptors for Internet-transmitted messages to enhance electronic commerce on the Internet.

"Interoperability" has been the guiding theme for RPCP in recent years, and several staff members of RPCP are members of national and international committees involved in developing standards in this area. PROFIT too, Dr. Gupta said, has concentrated on "seamless" integration of information assets with the availability of more resources and more sponsor organizations.

Dr. Gupta earned a degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology. In 1980 he received two degrees from MIT, the SM at Sloan the PhD in computer science.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 13, 1995.

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