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One of Their Own

A very moving story about the search for James Gray: 

When James Gray failed to return home from a sailing trip on Sunday night, Silicon Valley’s best and brightest went out to help find him...

The United States Coast Guard, which started a search Sunday night, suspended it on Thursday, after sending aircraft and boats to scour 132,000 square miles of ocean, stretching from the Channel Islands in Southern California to the Oregon border. Teams turned up nothing, not so much as a shard of aluminum hull or a swatch of sail from Dr. Gray’s 40-foot sailboat, Tenacious.

In the meantime, as word swept through the high-technology community, dozens of Dr. Gray’s colleagues, friends and former students began banding together on Monday to supplement the Coast Guard’s efforts with the tool they know best: computer technology.

The flurry of activity, which began in earnest on Tuesday, escalated as the days and nights passed. A veritable Who’s Who of computer scientists from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, NASA and universities across the country spent sleepless nights writing ad hoc software, creating a blog and reconfiguring satellite images so that dozens of volunteers could pore over them, searching for a speck of red hull and white deck among a sea of gray pixels.

Full story here at the New York Times