Samuel Madden, 29
Simplifying wireless sensor nets
Wireless sensor networks enable the remote monitoring of everything from the habitat of an endangered bird species to a buildings response to an earthquake. The problem, says computer scientist Samuel Madden, is that proper programming of the nets data-gathering "motes" can require months of expert attention. In 2003, while a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Madden created software called TinyDB that translates high-level queries like "Whats the average temperature in the forest?" into precise instructions. Madden, an assistant professor of computer science, is now installing sensors in cars to monitor operating conditions and figure out faster routes.