Bill Gates


Bill Gates makes eminent sense, most of the time. One could not be both a college drop out and world’s richest man unless one is incredibly intelligent. In a recent report on the mHealth Summit, the Economist reports thus. Mr Gates, however, warned the participants not to celebrate too soon. Just because an m-health pilot scheme appears to work in some remote locale, he insisted, don’t “fool yourself” into thinking it really works unless it can be replicated at scale.
After showcasing our work at ICTD2009 (see poster), where our work: real-time biosurveillance program (RTBP) was highlighted along with Bill Gates in a Qatar media article, Prof. Artur Dubrawski (Director Auton Lab) and I returned to Sri Lanka to engage in work related to our pilot project: RTBP. Prof. Dubrawski’s visit included a workshop on T-Cube web interface in support ot the RTBP for the RTBP researchers at Sarvodaya head quarters in Moratuwa (see workshop program), a colloquium on Machine Learning in Support of Biomedical Security for the faculty and students at the University of Colombo School of Computing, and participating in the health worker m-HealthSurvey training program in Kuliyapitiya. The work under taken, April 21 – 25, is elaborated in the trip report.
A paper authored jointly by Professor Subhash Bhatnagar and Nupur Singh titled “Results from a study of impact of eGovernment projects in India”, was selected as the Best Paper at ICTD 2009 held recently in Doha. Our warm congratulations to Professor Bhatnagar and his co-author. Subhash, who is leading the work on one of our Mobile 2.0 components, had a 20 minute one-on-one with the Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates. ICTD 2009 was attended on a scholarship by Nirmali Sivapragasam of LIRNEasia.
The Economist annual prizes recognise successful innovators in eight categories. Here are this year’s winners: Bioscience: Martin Evans, director of the school of biosciences and professor of mammalian genetics at Cardiff University, for his work in stem-cell research and the development of “knockout” mice. Sir Martin performed pioneering research into stem cells, and used them to create mice with a specific genetic disorder. This led to the creation of “knockout” mice, which are used to model human diseases by deactivating a specific gene. Business Process: Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia for the promotion of online public collaboration as a means of content development.
LIRNEasia is sending its Lead Economist Harsha de Silva to participate on a MIT scholarship to the first ever executive course offered by the Poverty Action Lab this summer. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, a unit within MIT’s Department of Economics, serves as a focal point for development and poverty research based on “randomized trials”. According to Harsha, this program can significantly contribute to WDR & LIRNEasia’s ongoing and future research projects on ICTs. For example, “In the Teleuse on Shoestring project it is difficult to measure how much the poor actually benefitted from having access to the phone. There are a number of variables like cultural background, access to other infrastructure services, level of education etc which make it difficult for us to pinpoint how much access to telephone had in improving the quality of life of the poor in India and Sri Lanka,” said Harsha.