Database pioneer James Gray, winner of the 1998 Turing Award and founder of Microsoft's Bay Area Research Center, is missing off the coast of Northern California. On Sunday, he set out alone on his 40-foot sailboat to the Farallon Islands where he intended to scatter his late mother's ashes. He hasn't returned. The US Coast Guard is searching for Gray by boat, plane, and helicopter. Gray is known for such groundbreaking projects as the SkyServer and TerraServer. From the San Francisco Chronicle (photo from Wikipedia):
Gray's wife, Donna, told Coast Guard officials that her husband last contacted her by cell phone at about 10 a.m. Sunday and spoke of his plans. When he did not respond to her cell phone calls Sunday evening, she contacted the authorities at about 8:30 p.m.
Within an hour, the Coast Guard sent out a radio message alerting ships in the area to watch for Gray's vessel. On Tuesday, the search extended west 78 miles past the Farallon Islands...
Gray's yacht was a Canadian-made C&C 40, a sturdy fiberglass vessel with the dual capability of racing and offshore cruising. The Coast Guard said it was well-equipped with high-tech communications and safety gear, including a marine radio...
"Jim is a giant in the computer industry but a generous giant who will always take time to collaborate with other scientists or help students in their career," said UC Berkeley computer science professor David Patterson.
"We are hoping against hope he's tied up in a some cove with a dead cell phone."
Link (Thanks, Eric Paulos!)
(Via Boing Boing.)