ICTD2009 highlights new developments in technology for developing countries

ICTD2009 highlights new developments in technology for developing countries

DOHA, QATAR – The 3rd International Conference on Information and Communications Technology and Development (ICTD2009) opened on April 17 at Carnegie Mellon Qatar's new building in Education City. ICTD is the premiere conference for innovating technology benefiting developing countries, where academic researchers, practitioners, technologists and social scientists who study or design information and communication technologies present original and unpublished works around information and communications technology.

The conference opened with workshops and panels gathering ICTD instructors and researchers to discuss current efforts in ICTD teachings and to facilitate discussion on work-in-progress research, field experience, and opportunities and challenges facing the sector. Panels examined the visions of development that dominate ICTD research; the balancing and influencing of often competing positions among constituencies in the ICTD sector; and the emerging opportunities in ICTD as the result of the penetration of mobile telephony.

Dr. Artur Dubrawski, Director of the AutonLab at Carnegie Mellon University and Mr. Nuwan Waidyanatha, Senior Researcher and Project Director of LIRNEAsia in Sri Lanka, are presenting their collaborative project using mobile telephony. The project uses the T-Cube Web Interface, a tool developed by Carnegie Mellon University to visualize and manipulate large scale multivariate time series datasets, to support real-time bio-surveillance.

"We are excited to present our project at this year's conference", says Mr. Waidyanatha. "Health workers in the field will input patient and symptom data into a form on their mobile phones, which will immediately update a central database. The database will be available to central health organizations, and is designed to support rapid detection and mitigation of bio-medical threats in developing countries by improving the response time to analyzing the data." The program is currently in pilot in Sri Lanka and India. "We see many different applications for this type of program across other areas," comments Dr. Dubrawaki. "We look forward to meeting the other delegates at the conference and presenting our program, with the intention to expand our own project to other fields as well as to learn about their technologies".

Day two (April 18) of the conference offers open sessions presenting healthcare issues in Africa, a discussion of interfaces which access health information, and e-government projects. The sessions on April 18 will conclude with Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation, as the featured keynote speaker. Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are involved in numerous ICT projects across the globe including promoting programs which deliver ICTD training and affordable access to technology in developing countries.

The sessions on day three (April 19) of the conference revolve around discussions on ICT dynamics of small and social enterprises, education and literacy, and project design innovations. Carlos A. Primo Braga, Director Economic Policy at The World Bank is the featured keynote speaker closing the event. Braga will discuss the opportunities and challenges of using ICT for economic development.

With more than 350 scholars, practitioners and attendees registered from around the world, the ICTD organizers have declared that the conference kicked off to a successful start.

Carnegie Mellon University is the hosting organization for the ICTD 2009 conference, with the TechBridgeWorld research group at Carnegie Mellon taking the lead organizing role. The Supreme Council of Information & Communication Technology (ictQATAR) is the organizing partner of the conference. Al Jazeera Children's Channel is the media partner. Platinum sponsors are the Qatar National Research Fund, Qatar Telecom (Qtel) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Canada. ExxonMobil and Microsoft are Gold sponsors. IBM and Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon Qatar are Bronze sponsors. The technical sponsors for the conference are the IEEE and ACM professional organizations.

ABOUT CARNEGIE MELLON

With more than a century of academic excellence and innovative research, Carnegie Mellon University is a global leader in education with real-world applications. Consistently top ranked, Carnegie Mellon offers a distinct mix of programs to its 10,000 students around the globe. Core values of innovation, creativity, problem solving and collaborative teamwork provide the foundation for everything we do.

At the invitation of Qatar Foundation, Carnegie Mellon joined Education City in 2004. Here, Qatar Foundation has created a world-class center for scholarship and research that is the ideal complement to Carnegie Mellon's tradition of innovation through collaboration. Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar offers its highly regarded undergraduate programs in business administration, computer science and information systems to students in Qatar and the Gulf Region.

related links: ictd2009.org

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