Shouldn’t All Those Internet Scientists Be Curing Cancer?

Klint Finley | Wired | April 29, 2013

Mike Miller is a particle physicist. Or at least he was. In 2008, he and two other MIT physicists founded Cloudant, a company that offers a database service that lets you store information on the net. For years, he led a double life, working both as chief scientist for Cloudant and as an assistant professor at the University of Washington. But in 2012, he resigned from the university, in favor of the internet.

The path from physics professor to startup founder may sound unusual, but Miller says the two worlds are actually quite similar. “We spend a lot of time in science building the technology needed to do science,” he says. “Building technology is the full-time job. You analyze the data in your free time.”

In fact, Cloudant’s technology is based on the work the trio did while analyzing data from the Large Hadron Collider. They were disappointed with existing tools for dealing with large volumes of data, so they created their own version of the open source CouchDB database called BigCouch.