Java Founder Gosling Quits Google For Robot Maker

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The creator of Java, James Gosling, has left Google to become the chief software architect at Liquid Robotics

Java creator James Gosling has left search engine giant Google to become chief software architect at Liquid Robotics, a cloud-based data service provider and maker of unmanned ocean vehicles.

In a message to eWEEK, Gosling said leaving Google was a difficult decision, but the opportunity to work with a former Sun Microsystems colleague on some new and interesting projects was just too much to turn down.

Moreover, joining Liquid Robotics means Gosling will not have to remain so close to the ongoing legal battle between Google and Oracle over the use of Java in the Android operating system.

Incurably Cool

“Deciding to leave Google was pretty tough, it’s a pile of great people doing interesting things,” Gosling said. “But when my friend Bill Vass (the CEO of Liquid Robotics) described what he was doing, he blew the top off the coolness chart.” Vass spent 10 years at Sun where he held several titles including chief security officer and chief information officer.

James Gosling

In a press release on the news, Liquid Robotics said Gosling has joined the company at a time when the company is experiencing rapid growth in its customer base, adding strategic new hires, and expanding company operations. In June, Liquid Robotics closed a Series D $22 million (£13.4m) financing round led by VantagePoint Capital Partners, the company’s first institutional investor, together with participation by oilfield services provider Schlumberger.

“Liquid Robotics tackles a rocket science problem that does good for the world and is incurably cool,” Gosling sad in a statement. “Liquid Robotics can totally change the way we look at oceans. We’ll be able to get a wide variety of detailed data more cheaply and pervasively than any other way. It involves a large data problem and a large-scale control problem, both of which are fascinating to me and have been passions of mine for years.”

With interests in several areas, Liquid Robotics produces the Wave Glider unmanned ocean vehicle and the company is provider of cloud-based data services.

“Liquid Robotics has autonomous vehicles that rove the oceans measuring everything from water chemistry in the Gulf of Mexico to radioactivity off the coast of Japan,” Gosling told eWEEK. “They’ve got a lot of on-board intelligence, which is connected via satellite to the cloud.  I’m their new chief software architect. It’s quite a career change, but it’ll be a huge amount of fun.”

Ocean Tech

The Wave Glider is a self-propelled marine robotic drone employing a multi-patented design that taps into the ocean’s inexhaustible supply of wave energy to “swim” indefinitely – no refuelling, no emissions, and no manpower. It can collect and transmit worldwide oceanic data in real-time on a continuous basis on missions that can last years and cover thousands of miles. Previous robotic ocean platforms spend the majority of their power on propulsion, yet the Wave Glider gets its propulsion directly from wave energy, thus all of its power can be dedicated to sensing and significant computation. In addition to providing Wave Gliders as a product, Liquid Robotics has also set up a Data-as-a-Service cloud that provides direct, real-time access to ocean information, the company said.

“Liquid Robotics is changing the economics of ocean operations,” said Bill Vass, in a statement. “As we move to provide integrated data services using autonomous fleets of seafaring robots to explore the world’s vast oceans, software is critical to unlocking the potential of what is possible. James is one of the best software engineers in the industry and will help us revolutionise global oceanic knowledge on a scale and dimension unknown in history.”

Currently in long-term, deployment around the globe, Wave Gliders are being used for scientific research by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center and Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, as well as several premier oceanographic facilities such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Hawaii. The craft are also being deployed for commercial operations such as in offshore oil and gas exploration, and for a variety of government and defense uses.

Gosling joined Google in March after a short stint with Oracle following Oracle’s acquisition of Sun. Gosling resigned from Oracle in April of 2010 and later spoke with eWEEK about several reasons why he left.

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