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Technology for Developing Regions

Posted by who am I On December - 30 - 2008

Technology for Developing Regions
Eric Brewer [Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, UC Berkeley]
Abstract:

The historic focus of development has rightfully been on macroeconomics and good governance, but technology has an increasingly large role to play. In this talk, we review several novel technologies that we have deployed in India and Africa, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of this new subfield of EECS research. Our flagship project has been the development of long-distance WiFi for rural connectivity and its use for telemedicine in rural India. Working with the Aravind Eye Hospital, we currently supporting doctor/patient videoconferencing in 24 rural villages at the rate of roughly 5000 patient exams per month and over 80,000 to date. More than 14,000 people can see today that could not see before these exams. Finally, I argue for a new model of development that is much more decentralized that traditional top-down large-scale projects, and that leverages not only the Internet, but decentralized funding in the form of microfinance and remittances.

Biography:

Dr. Brewer focuses on all aspects of Internet-based systems, including technology, strategy and government. He has led projects on scalable servers, search engines, network infrastructure, sensor networks and security. His current focus is high technology for developing regions.

In 2000, working with President Clinton, Dr. Brewer helped to create USA.gov, the official portal of the United States Federal government. Among other accolades, he was recently named an ACM Fellow and elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

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