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Distinguished Lecture

Technology for Developing Regions

Eric BrewerProfessorUniversity of California, Berkeley

Abstract – 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. Our flagship project has been the development of long-distance WiFi for rural connectivity and its use for telemedicine in rural India. Working with the Aravind Eye Hospital, we currently are supporting doctor/patient videoconferencing in 13 rural villages at the rate of roughly 5000 patient exams per month and over 125,000 to date. More than 20,000 people have had their blindness cured due to these exams.

Biography – 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 (so far), and including communications, health, education, and e-government. In 1996, he co-founded Inktomi Corporation with a Berkeley grad student based on their research prototype, and helped lead it onto the Nasdaq 100 before it was bought by Yahoo! in March 2003.

In 2000, he founded the Federal Search Foundation, a 501-3(c) organization focused on improving consumer access to government information. Working with President Clinton, Dr. Brewer helped to create USA.gov, the official portal of the Federal government, which launched in September 2000. He received an MS and Ph.D. in EECS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BS in EECS from UC Berkeley. He was named a “global Leader for Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum, by the Industry Standard as the “most influential person on the architecture of the Internet” , by InfoWorld as one of their top ten innovators, by Technology Review as one of the top 100 most influential people for the 21st century (the “tR100” ), and by Forbes as one of their 12 “e-mavericks” , for which he appeared on the cover. He was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering, for leading the development of scalable servers, and named an ACM Fellow.

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