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...
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.
In chronicling billions of websites and digital files, Brewster Kahle may now have earned himself the title of official historian of the Internet.
As founder and director of the Internet Archive, a not-for-profit, free digital library that archives Internet documents and makes them universally accessible, Kahle has assembled a digital collection of more than 4,000,000 e-books, millions of concerts and films, and 279 billion archived web pages. Everything is free to the public.
But Kahle has done more than archive – he’s helped establish a definitive history of the creation of the Internet, and in the process, has become a leading advocate in the effort to keep it free and accessible.
Kahle has been involved in Internet technology since the late 80s. In 1989, he invented the Internet's first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS (Wide Area Information Server). In 1996, he started his analytics firm, Alexa Internet, which he sold to Amazon in 1999. That same year, he founded the Internet Archive, and in 2012, he was inducted into the inaugural Internet Hall of Fame for his contributions.
As the Internet Hall of Fame opens nominations for the 2017 awards, we caught up with Kahle to talk not only about his continued mission with...
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...