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Aneesh Chopra Lives up to ‘Rock Star’ Image

mp_main_wide_AneeshChopra061109_452-300x198Rock star” Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra is living up to the hype that emanated from many quarters—not least of all, Silicon Valley—when he was appointed the nation’s first CTO in April 2009.

Online magazine Xconomy caught up with Chopra last week at a healthcare IT summit in San Francisco, where, the mag reported, he extolled the virtues of the current administration and its measures “to adopt the latest infotech innovations coming out of Silicon Valley, and to shape federal regulation to encourage entrepreneurial solutions to big challenges like improving public health and nutrition.”

Those big challenges are often being solved by outside developers poring over the feds’ extensive data sets, conveniently supplied by the tech-and-innovation-oriented government.

After all, as Chopra pointed out in his speech, as reported by Xconomy: “In the Obama administration, entrepreneurs are welcome.”

Among the success stories are a redesigned and overhauled www.FederalRegister.com and the Apps for Healthy Kids design competition, which put a decidedly techie spin on first lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to combat childhood obesity.

In an interview with Xconomy following his speech, Chopra raved about the possibilities behind design challenges, essentially competitive, crowd-sourced research-and-development projects. The most visible was probably the Automotive X Prize, which challenged participants to design a car able to travel 100 miles on a single gallon of gas.

In most cases, Chopra said, it’s not just about the prize money, although that is an incentive. It’s about “the chance to participate.” Make that democratic, civically-engaged research-and-development projects.

And he promised “tons more” such competitions.“That’s my job,” he told Xconomy.

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