Mysterious disappearance of Google coder and sailor
As a sailor myself, the news of the weird disappearance of Jim Gray, a senior programmer at Google, is spooky. Today a very good article appeared on Wired, and documents the incredible effort that has gone into locating a guy who was known as careful and smart.
Somehow Gray and his 40 foot sailboat vanished without a trace. Not a stick of flotsam was ever recovered. No emergency signal was ever received, even though his boat had all the latest gear.
The news that Gray was missing shocked the high tech community. The lanky coder had been a computing legend since the 1970s. His work helped make possible such mainstays of modern life as cash machines, ecommerce, online ticketing, and deep databases like Google. "Jim's work inspired us and many other computer scientists to seek out and tackle very ambitious projects," says Google cofounder Sergey Brin. "He never shied away from problems involving large-scale data and computation."
When Gray joined Microsoft in 1995, he convinced the software behemoth to launch a research center in San Francisco so that he and his wife wouldn't have to move to Redmond. "If Jim had wanted a lab in Monte Carlo, we would have built a lab in Monte Carlo," says Microsoft Research chief Rick Rashid. In 1998, Gray's peers gave him the highest honor in computer science, the A.M. Turing Award.
It's a very poignant experience to read the blog that his friends and colleagues established to document all the things that were being done to find Jim Gray.
You can read the final posting here - but go to the home page and read about all the brilliance that went into looking for him.
Search pattern offshore of San Francisco conducted by US Coast Guard