February 15, 2006 8:21 AM PST

MIT Media Lab co-founder steps down

Nicholas Negroponte has stepped down as chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab to pursue his $100 computer initiative, and entrepreneur Frank Moss has been named the lab's new director, the university said Wednesday.

Negroponte
Nicholas Negroponte

Negroponte left the Media Lab, which he co-founded in 1985, to devote his time to a nonprofit called One Laptop Per Child that is working to develop the low-cost laptops.

In September, Negroponte detailed the specifications for a $100 windup-powered laptop, meant to improve the education of children in developing countries. That plan has gained the endorsement of the United Nations.

Lab director Walter Bender is also taking a two-year leave of absence from MIT to serve as president for software and content development at One Laptop Per Child.

Moss, who will replace Bender, founded Tivoli Systems and Bowstreet, two software companies that were acquired by IBM. He also worked for a few years at Boston-area biotechnology companies.

The leadership changes were effective Feb. 1, the university said.

Moss
Frank Moss

MIT President Susan Hockfield said that Moss' experience in different fields meshes well with the mission of the Media Lab.

His "interests in the computer and life sciences and in technological enhancement of human capability align beautifully with the lab's vision, and with MIT's distinctive cross-disciplinary collaborations, which embrace not only science and engineering but also humanities and the arts," Hockfield said in a statement.

The Media Lab is involved in a wide range of research areas and technology applications, from wearable computers to mesh networks.

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