Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island will be home to a new engineering and applied science graduate school, part of a bet that the next Apple Inc. could be born in the Big Apple. West Coast companies are already helping lay the groundwork, with Google Inc. donating office space to the project and Facebook Inc. (FB) hosting a “hackathon”
New York has an uphill fight in trying to draw startups and engineers away from the San Francisco Bay area -- home to Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc. Silicon Valley attracted almost six times more venture-capital investment dollars than New York in the second quarter, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study. Still, the city has an edge in giving entrepreneurs access to the worlds of finance, fashion, advertising and retail, making New York fertile ground for startups that fill the needs of those industries.
“There is more interest in New York as a potential tech center than ever before,” said Greg Pass, a former Twitter executive who now works for the new Cornell campus. “As the world becomes more technological, the role of engineers will be become more substantial.”
CornellNYC’s first faculty hire shows its ambition to compete with the West Coast for talent. Deborah Estrin comes to the campus from University of California at Los Angeles, where she is a computer-science professor and founding director of its Center for Embedded Networked Sensing.
Estrin will teach courses such as Internet architecture starting in January. Her research focuses on how mobile and wireless systems can be used to collect and analyze data.
“We plan to connect to the overall ecosystem of companies around the campus,” Estrin said. “Los Angeles and California are a very special place, but I don’t see it as leaving behind the heart of tech.”
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