Software giants Tor and Python head to Downtown Brooklyn

November 14, 2019 Mary Frost
Well-known software companies Tor Project and Python Software Foundation are opening their first NYC offices at NYU Tandon’s academic technology hub at 370 Jay St. in Downtown Brooklyn. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
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Two of the most prominent open-source software companies in the world are coming to Downtown Brooklyn.

Nonprofits Tor Project and Python Software Foundation are opening their first New York City offices at 370 Jay St., formerly the headquarters of the MTA.

NYU Tandon, which bought the 13-story limestone building (with its 420 perfectly uniform windows) from the MTA in 2012 and has since renovated it to the tune of $500 million, is donating the office space.

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NYU said the additions will feed into their engineering and applied sciences programs, for which the building was specially redesigned.

Tor allows users to browse the internet anonymously, protecting people from surveillance and censorship. (It is also used by those wishing to evade detection by the authorities.) Tor stands for “The Onion Router.” It is both a software and an open network of servers run by volunteers.

Python is the world’s top programming language, with a large library of functions, from multimedia to artificial intelligence to image processing. (Fun fact: Python was named not after the snake, but after British comedy group Monty Python.)

“Both the Tor Project and Python Software Foundation are stewards of open-source technologies that have profoundly changed the digital landscape, and giving their researchers a home on our campus supports their work and encourages ongoing collaborations with our students and faculty,” NYU Tandon Dean Jelena Kovačević said in a statement.

The site is part of the innovation-oriented Brooklyn Tech Triangle, encompassing Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Students and faculty at NYU Tandon (formerly Brooklyn Polytechnic University) have contributed to Tor and Python projects over the past decade. Among them is cyber security expert Justin Cappos, an NYU Tandon associate professor of computer science and engineering.

“Having researchers affiliated with these organizations on site presents tremendous learning opportunities for both students and faculty,” Cappos said.

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