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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Eddie Kohler, 33

A better operating system

University of California, Los Angeles

Operating systems are the software foundation for all computers, from laptops to servers--but most were designed decades ago, without Internet security in mind. Small flaws in the operating system or software on, say, a bank’s server could compromise millions of dollars’ worth of sensitive data.

To make such information more secure, computer scientist Eddie Kohler and his team designed Asbestos, an operating system that keeps private data from falling into the wrong hands even when other software on a computer has failed. Asbestos keeps personal data secure by "tagging" it with information about which programs or users can access it.

Usually, this sort of tagging requires a large amount of memory, but Kohler has structured the tag data to use minimal system resources. Initial tests have been promising, and Kohler hopes that within a few years, Asbestos will be an alternative to server operating systems such as Linux and Windows.

--Kate Greene

2006 TR35 Winners

Roger Dingledine

When your Internet communications absolutely, positively need to be anonymous

Jason Fried

Keeping online collaboration simple

Matthew Herren

Beaming textbooks across Africa

Eddie Kohler

A better operating system

Joshua Napoli

Super-high-resolution 3-D displays could change the way people look at everything from tumors to drug targets and natural gas deposits.

Nikos Paragios

Clearer computer vision

Paul Rademacher

The man who opened up the map

Joshua Schachter

How tags exploit the self-interest of individuals to organize the Web for everyone.

Ben Zhao

Perfecting peer-to-peer networks

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