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7/21/2006
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Five Questions For Jerrold Grochow, VP Of Information Services And Technology At MIT

Jerrold Grochow spent decades tackling technology challenges for the financial services industry before returning to his alma mater in 2003, this time as an IT executive.

Jerrold Grochow
VP Of Information Services And Technology At MIT

Jerrold Grochow, VP Of Information Services And Technology At MIT -- Photograph by Mark Ostow

Interview by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee
Photograph by Mark Ostow

1
Change Afoot
Technology is playing a significant role in new areas at MIT, including in the biological sciences and in cancer research. Grochow's son, a computer science grad student, is using technology to sequence the genome of yeast. "Breakthroughs in research will result in totally different ways in dealing with cancer."

2
Innovation Central
"We've got 1,000 faculty, and each is an entrepreneur doing their own thing. Plus, we've got 10,000 students all dreaming up new things. If you're the CIO of a Fortune company, you need to look three years into the future. I need to look a lot further ahead."

3
Stargazer
Grochow dabbles in astronomy using a computer-controlled telescope. "When you look up at the heavens and see a dark spot in the sky, the telescope lets you see it's not really a dark spot at all. You begin to realize our place in the universe isn't as significant as some of us make it seem."

4
Thanks, But No Thanks
When Grochow hits the road, he totes a PC, a Treo, an iPod, noise-cancellation headphones, spare batteries, and AC adapters. Needless to say, he's looking forward to convergence, including gadgets that combine cell and 802.11 Wi-Fi technologies. "That will open up all kinds of new devices, applications, and capabilities."

5
Pet Peeve
Technology is still too hard to use. "The industry spends a lot of money putting advanced features into products, and 90% of them aren't used. We need to take a PC or Mac out of the box and make it easier to use all those great functions without a thick instruction manual."

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