A Kickstarter-style campaign may be the key to advancing Nepal’s scientific community.
After waiting more than three years for government assistance, Internet Hall of Fame inductee Mahabir Pun turned to the public to help make his dream of a National Innovation Center a reality.
Since the campaign’s launch almost six months ago, Nepalis worldwide have donated 50 million rupees towards the project’s goal of 500 million rupees for construction and start-up costs.
The center, which is slated to take five years to complete, aims to help Nepali researchers in product development to advance the country’s economic development. According to the World Bank, developed countries spend up to 4 percent of their gross domestic product on scientific innovation and technological advancement, while developing countries, such as Nepal, expend around 2 percent.
Getting universities and governments to fund new programs is never easy. Throw in a few civil wars and even the most dogged of academics might be deterred.
Not Abhaya Induruwa. While other academics in Sri Lanka were fighting for the basic “blackboard and chalk” type resources in the late 1980s, he leveraged his unique position as head of a new computing department to bring data communications—and eventually the Internet—to the embattled island nation.
The first student to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in electrical engineering from the University of Sri Lanka (now the University of Moratuwa), Induruwa said he got his first taste of computing in the 1970s when the school installed an IBM mainframe system with punched card input. He was introduced to even larger systems, “with remote job entry and all that,” while working on his PhD at the Imperial College in London.
He returned to Sri Lanka in 1980, and three years later was appointed to set up the first computer science and engineering department at the University of Moratuwa, the only department of its kind in a Sri Lankan university.
“That is how everything began,” he explained recently to the Internet Hall of Fame.
Although most of even his close colleagues didn’t feel the Internet was necessarily a requirement of higher education claiming, “there are more basic things that people needed.” He said he had an energetic young staff...
An early network pioneer of Sri Lanka’s Internet, Abhaya Induruwa has turned his attention in recent years to Internet of Things (IoT) security and forensics.
“My line of argument is that the Internet is a fantastic thing for probably 99.5 percent of the user population,” he said. “But there is this small minority who will create problems for everyone. This is going to exacerbate with the advent of the Internet of Things where billions of devices get connected to the Internet. Some of the less secure IoT devices will become an easy target for hackers and provide attack surfaces involving millions, if not billions, of compromised IoT devices. When something bad happens we have to investigate, and forensics will be an area that is quite important. Forensics is important after the event, but we also have to prevent attacks before they happen so security is very important too.”
As head of the Centre for Cybercrime and Security Innovation in the School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing at the Canterbury Christ Church University in the United Kingdom, Induruwa says much of his work today focuses on smart mobile devices and the IoT, which he says present the next wave of disruptions, threats and opportunities.
During a recent keynote speech to the 34th National IT Conference of the Computer Society of Sri Lanka in Colombo, Induruwa reminded participants of the need to prepare for what he said is the beginning of “the evolution of the Internet to the...
For one South American country, Internet access would be just a dream without the contributions of one woman.
One of the first women to study computer science at Uruguay's University of the Republic, Ida Holz graduated almost 20 years before the country had widespread Internet access.
Despite being introduced to computers via Fortran punch cards, Holz went on to become one of Uruguay's most vocal advocates for email development and Internet access expansion in her home country in the 1980s and early 1990s. In a Spanish language interview with El Observador recently, she noted:
"When we began with the Internet here, we looked at each other sideways," she said. "I remember the lawyers told us that the Internet couldn't happen here because there were no owners, no regulations. They kept assuring us it would be anarchy. But it happened, in a way that nobody expected.
"We don't know what's going to happen within 10 years, but the world advances and the speed with which it has changed in these last 20 years is impressive."
The Internet Hall of Fame has translated into English the full interview from El Observador below.
Ida Holz: The Uruguayan of the Internet
Despite the average web page only lasting 100 days before being deleted or edited, international efforts are underway to preserve the Internet in all its ethereal glory.
Inductee and pioneer in artificial intelligence and supercomputing, Brewster Kahle began bulk-capturing the web in 1996 and storing it on the Wayback Machine, which now carries more than 273 billion often-defunct web pages.
The Wayback Machine is part of Kahle's Internet Archive, a nonprofit Internet library dedicated to ensuring that historic web pages are preserved as cultural artifacts, and accessible to everyone.
Based in San Francisco, the 20-year-old archive adds more than 250 million pages per week, including an extensive trove of Balinese-language material, old GeoCities pages and, in the near future, Vine videos.
In an interview with the Irish Times, Kahle said he firmly believes in making all human knowledge...