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Company and tech news from the region. Smith professor gets open-source grant

Katherine Stewart, an assistant professor in the Decision and Information Technologies Department at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, received a $500,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award, which is for five years, will enable Stewart to examine factors that influence successful uses and applications of Open Source Software (OSS). The most commonly known OSS is Linux, the operating system that is considered a competitor to Microsoft’s Windows. The NSF grant includes integrating OSS into Stewart’s teaching activities and the curriculum at the Smith School.

Current to offer Internet over power lines

Germantown-based Current Communications is partering with an Ohio firm to offer customers high-speed Internet over power lines. Current Communications and Cinergy Broadband, a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based power company Cinergy, have formed a joint venture to roll out the services under the brand Current Communications. Current, which makes equipment used to deliver Internet over power lines, will manage the joint venture and provide marketing, customer support and back-office services. At first, the companies will offer just high-speed Internet, but eventually they will bundle the service with voice over IP technology, which allows customers to use the Internet for telephone services.

Blackboard product built on .NET framework

District-based Blackboard Inc. released a version of its e-larning product Building Blocks built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, which give clients a new way to customize their Blackboard Learning System installation. Blackboard clients can use Building Blocks to build their own .NET applications or integrate the Blackboard Learning System with Microsoft’s powerful server and productivity applications.

MobilePro to buy

Bethesda-based wireless technology company MobilePro agreed to buy, an Internet service provider based in Dallas. MobilePro said the purchase would add more than $1.5 million to its annual revenue. The deal, expected to close in April, should boost earnings beginning this year, the company said., founded in 1996, sells broadband and Web access to individuals and businesses. MobilePro said the gain would help it expand its telecommunications offerings.

Sourcefire, Tenable ‘companies to watch’

Howard County technology companies Sourcefire and Tenable Network Security have been named to Network Computing magazine’s list of companies to watch in 2004.

Sourcefire, a Columbia-based network security firm, recently announced plans to expand by as many as 35 employees after receiving $15 million in funding from California-based Sequoia Capital. Tenable Network Security is developing software to secure networks in a simple, automated fashion. Both companies have received venture capital investments from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s venture capital fund.

SureScripts teams with McKesson

Alexandria, Va.-based SureScripts announced an agreement with McKesson Corporation to work together to make it easier for doctors’ offices to send prescriptions to pharmacists electronically. McKesson will integrate SureScripts Messenger Services, the largest network for electronic prescriptions, with McKesson’s physician office applications and Pharmaserv, its pharmacy management system. McKesson will become a SureScripts Certified Solution Provider, helping to make it possible for pharmacists and eventually physicians using McKesson products to exchange prescription information in a two-way true electronic fashion.

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