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Academic runner-up: Joseph Hellerstein
Professor of Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley

Computers have become cheap in recent years, but software is a growing expense for companies. That's where Hellerstein comes in. Not many programmers can write code that brings together multiple computers to solve one problem. But with his Berkeley colleagues, Hellerstein, 42, is collaborating with Yahoo Research on Bloom, a programming language that integrates disparate machines and "harnesses the power of the cloud," he says. The database systems expert serves on the technical advisory boards of EMC and Greenplum and was a co-founder of Cohera Corp., now part of Oracle. --B.K.

NEXT: Academic Runner-up: Fiorenzo Omenetto
Last updated July 09 2010: 1:19 PM ET