The barriers to entry in software and related businesses have never been lower, opening the door for numerous aspiring business people, said Dr. Ken Calvert of the National Science Foundation (NSF).
In the past, starting a business required a major investment in hardware and systems but now, “really, all you need is an idea and a little bit of skill to have a business,” Calvert noted. “There’s never been a better idea to be an entrepreneur.”
Calvert would know. As director of NSF’s Division of Computer and Network Systems and Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE), he is in the business of supporting research into the technologies that will drive future computer-related business and make their way into other aspects of everyday life.
Calvert spoke about his agency’s mission recently as part of the Research and Innovation Lecture Series, sponsored by Dr. Mo Dehghani, Vice Provost for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Calvert addressed an audience of Stevens faculty, students and staff as part of a pair of events in November that also included a poster session featuring research by Stevens’ students and faculty in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) Doctoral Fellowship Program, I&E Summer Scholars Program, Pinnacle and Stevens Scholars Programs.
In fiscal 2017 alone, Calvert said, CISE had a $937 million research budget that was spread among promising technology projects the organization believes will drive U.S. competitiveness and make a major impact. CISE examined 8,700 proposals, made 1,819 research awards.
"Modern society depends on cyberspace,” he noted.
During his visit, Calvert also met with faculty members and viewed some of the work going on at Stevens. He has more than a passing familiarity with the university; Dr. Susanne Wetzel, a computer science professor in Stevens’ Charles V. Schaefer School of Engineering and Science, serves as a program officer in his division.
“I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen today,” he said. “I think Stevens has a number of exciting things going on.”
Calvert has been with the NSF on rotation from the University of Kentucky, where he is Gartner Group Professor in Network Engineering and former chair of the Department of Computer Science.
He has made contributions in various areas, including network topology modeling, active/programmable networks and future Internet architecture.
He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin. He holds an M.S. in computer science from Stanford University and a B.S. in computer science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to his appointment at the University of Kentucky, he was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ, and served on the faculty at the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.