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Technology for Developing Regions
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, I 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. Working with the Aravind Eye Hospital, we currently support doctor/patient videoconferencing in 25 rural villages; more than 20,000 people have had their blindness cured due to these exams. Storage systems have an important role to play, given the limited connectivity, especially in rural areas. The two most obvious needs are information distribution and personal health records. However, the focus will need to be on disconnected operation, intermittent connectivity, and support for sneaker nets. USB keys are already widely used, as are SIM cards, but the storage systems and synchronization are ad hoc at best in practice. Eric Brewer is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Brewer focuses on all aspects of Internet-based systems, including technology, strategy, and government. As a researcher, he has led projects on scalable servers, search engines, network infrastructure, sensor networks, and security. His current focus is (high) technology for developing regions, with projects in India, Ghana, and Uganda among others, and including communications, health care, education, and e-government.
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