Door: Patrick Linders The Computerworld Honors awards program last night focused attention on some of the world's most advanced technologies, including an IT project managed by David Milne, the director of database technologies at Chicago Stock Exchange Inc., who is running a database grid on servers that use a discontinued processor technology, the Alpha chip. Some of the Alpha Servers have even been bought used, he said. '); The stock exchange received an achievement award in the finance, insurance and real estate category for its use of an Oracle Corp. database in a grid. The grid is running on clustered Alpha Servers from Hewlett-Packard Co., delivering high service levels at a reasonable cost and sparing the need for a dedicated system for the grid. And Milne said that when he needs more compute power, he can go out and buy "what was at one point Cadillac technology at a commodity price."

The Chicago Stock Exchange's award illustrates a key facet of some of Monday night's award winners: Having the latest or best technology isn't as important as how technology is assembled to reduce costs and deliver new services. One company that makes that point is Zipcar Inc.

Zipcar is an entirely self-service car rental company. Customers can make reservations over the Internet and use a smart card to gain access to a rental vehicle, while the company relies on wireless technologies to track its assets. "A lot of pieces that are really geared to self-service" make Zipcar possible, said Roy Russell, vice president of technology at the Cambridge, Mass.-based company.

The various case studies collected by Computerworld Honors program, nearly 230, are used by more than 250 libraries and research institutions. "It is our goal to document the history of a revolution in progress," said Bob Carrigan, president of IDG Communications, the parent company of Computerworld.

Among those honored for individual accomplishment was Hector Ruiz, the CEO and chairman of Advanced Micro Devices Inc., who underscored another theme that ran through many of the projects: Using technology to improve the greater good. Ruiz said people throughout the world "are desperately clamoring for the opportunity to have access to this awesome technology" and he believes that finding ways to help that happen is something that motivates everyone involved in technology.

Passion about technology was also evident in Bruno Friedll, systems support manager at Zurich-based Neue Zurcher Zeitung AG, one of the largest newspaper publishers in Switzerland. The company, under its Archive 1780 project, has put 225 years of its newspaper in digital form, including some 2 million pages and 10TB of data, using an automated imaging process. The archives are now searchable online.

Friedll talked about the difficulty of converting Gothic-style text into digital format. When asked about the value of the work and its return to the company, he said there is but one answer: "The value is making history accessible."

Another value from technology is illustrated by BellSouth Corp., which developed an Amber Alert field-notification system that sends information about missing children to the laptops of more than 13,000 field technicians. Jim Wheeler, general manager of network systems, said the company is making the intellectual property behind the system freely available "so your companies can establish your own field-notification systems," he said.

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