At the the CS Colloquium this afternoon, Robin Murphy presented her work on using robots to find disaster victims; she based her talk on her 15 years of experience in disaster relief. Her encounters range from the Oklahoma City Bombing to 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina. Her methodology reminded me of the trends that doing computer science research on Information Communication Technology for Developing Regions, or ICTD, uniquely requires.
Robin Murphy (Texas A&M) on "Being There"
Discovery as Feedback Loop and Problems Motivated by Real World Experience. From the more senior members in the Computer Science ICTD space, the biggest complaint I have heard is that not enough would-be do-gooders fail to spend enough time in the field. As a zeroth-year graduate student in this space, my hope is that I don’t fall into the cliche trap of solving a problem that my response to background reading conjures. I hope to find my problems from being on the ground and directly seeing the challenges encountered by individuals who call developing regions home. Alternatively, I hope that I rely on the firsthand testimony of experienced ICTD people instead of young, overly-ambitious observation.