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Nuwan Waidyanatha

Senior Research Fellow

Nuwan has strong credentials in disaster management, especially with emergency communication and early warning systems design and development. The work in the emergency communications and early warning systems is not just with developing low-cost national and community-based Information Communication Technology (ICT) systems but also in developing the policies and procedures to accompany them. They include developing a “country’s alerting profile” (specifically the Common Alerting Protocol Profile) and formulating the “register of alerting authorities” for decentralized but observable (or monitored) and regulated alerting practices. He also emphasises on certification regimes in his capacity building exercises.

His research is highly regarded and continuously promoted by international organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Organization for the Advancement of Standardized Information Systems (OASIS) and the United Nations System for Influenza Coordination (UNSIC). Additionally, disaster management researchers and practitioners from the North Americas and the Asia Pacific consult to benefit from his first hand knowledge in the subject.

Operations Research and Systems Theory oriented interests, with a social science touch, are geared towards developing and evaluating early warning systems and information exchange platforms for emergency communication. These systems evolve from the use of mobile cellular technologies, Internet technologies, High Frequency (HF) radio spectrum data platforms, Frequency Modulation (FM) Radio Data System (RDS), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), and Satellite radio technologies. Further, experimentations hinge on the adaptation of semantic interoperability, especially, content standards and ontologies such as the OASIS managed Emergency Data Exchange Language (EDXL). Several studies used the EDXL’s Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standard for all-hazards all-media warning, alerting and situational-awareness.

Nuwan has lead the design, implementation, and evaluation of several noteworthy innovations. His present research focus, as a Research Fellow, is in enabling voice-based systems, such as the use of Interactive Voice Response with mobile proliferation, for standardized alerting and situational reporting that is easy to use and useful for predominantly vocal, computer-illiterate, and multi-lingual societies in the developing world. Now he is stepping in to the Agriculture domain towards finding ways to address the sustainability issue around local innovations and low-cost information systems through a Communities of Practice approach.

As a Senior Researcher/Project Director, he lead LIRNEasia’s mobile health-related (mHealth) project:Evaluating a Real-Time Biosurveillance Program for the rapid detection and mitigation of public health events using low-cost technologies. Previously, he was the Researcher/Project Manager for LIRNEasia’s disaster related project: Evaluating Last-Mile Hazard Information Dissemination in Sri Lanka (also termed as the HazInfo project), which was a community-based early warning pilot that adopted wireless technologies for bridging the last-mile. All of his projects contribute to his overall goal of developing an abstract framework for comparing and contrasting early-warning systems with an aim towards classifying early-warning systems.

The Sahana Software Foundation has granted him membership along with a post in the Standards and Interoperability Committee. Prior to that he was also a Sahana Project Management Committee member. He regularly mentors students in events such as the Google Summer of Code (since 2009) and Google Code-In (since 2010) to help the Sahana foundation with community and code developments. This marriage with Sahana provides a platform for him to contribute his experience towards developing the Sahana Messaging/Alerting Broker, a much needed tool for multi-agency situational-awareness that allows for integrating national and international organizations for the vertical and horizontal exchange of risk information. His devotion to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) binds him with other groups such as OpenRosa, District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2), Java Agent Development Platform (JADE), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Pubsubhuhbub group, to name a few.

He is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Spot On Solutions, which provides specialized affordable “service type” information technology solutions using Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and other low-cost systems, especially targeting small/medium industries and Governments in low/middle income developing nations.

Nuwan is advising and works very closely with the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, Sri Lanka’s largest community-based development and humanitarian organization, on the use of ICT risk information exchange for community resilience. This collaboration has given rise to developing and operationalize Sarvodaya’s Hazard Information Hub (HIH) at their Community-based Disaster Management Centre. The HIH is equipped with systems to relay government warnings to the last-mile communities and acts as a disaster management capacity building centre and laboratory for testing national ICT-based Disaster Risk Reduction systems.

He was a founding member and is a board member of the 2004 Indian Ocean post-tsunami-work volunteer group: Community Focused Disaster Response, an ongoing project focused on giving a helping hand to large scale disaster victims. The first initiatives began with recovery efforts in the East-coast village of Komari, Sri Lanka, giving them a better life. Other initiatives include aiding 2010 Haiti earthquake victims and assisting war veterans in USA to overcome their trauma.

Previously he worked in the private sector as a Software Architect/Operation Research Analyst for Infocraft Limited (Sri Lanka), Business Analyst for Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (Sri Lanka), Analyst Programmer for APS Healthcare (USA), Lecturer in Operations Research at the University of Montana Department of Mathematical Sciences (USA) and an Analyst Programmer at the Montana World Trade Centre (USA).

Nuwan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Discrete Mathematics and Computer Engineering from the University of Maine in USA (1996), a Master of Arts in Operations Research from the University of Montana in USA (1999), and studied for a Master of Science degree in Industrial Automation at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka (2006).

Nuwan lives with his wife and daughter in Kunming, China, where he does his desk work (telecommutes) and visits the field research locations in the Asia Pacific from time to time.

His expertise are in ICT system design and actionable research working collaboratively with multiple national and international stakeholders applying the academic and industrial experience in being a valued entrepreneur that recognizes new developments in technology and anticipates trends in order to offer clients the latest available ICT services.

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OTHER AFFILIATIONS:

www.oasis-open.org www.sahanafoundation.org
www.spoton.lk
www.oasis-open.org

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