Thursday, November 4, 2010
TITLE: Computing for Development: A New High Impact Research Area
TALK SLIDES: PDF
To address the first challenge, I will describe our experiences with developing Wireless Rural Extensions (WiRE) and Hermes, two contrasting solutions to the connectivity problem. WiRE is a clean-slate, solar-powered rural connectivity architecture that aims to change the existing cellular connectivity model and provide focused, reliable high bandwidth connectivity to rural regions with no dependence on the power grid. Hermes, on the other hand, aims to provide a new data connectivity on top of the existing cellular voice connectivity channels which are extremely unpredictable and hard to model. Hermes is designed as a replacement to SMS, which unfortunately is the only data connectivity solution available in most rural settings.
To address the Web access challenge, I will specifically describe a new Web architecture stack for developing regions which supports a low-bandwidth transport layer, a contextual Web caching layer, a content adaptation layer and an intermittency-aware Web application layer. Given the poor connectivity conditions, complexity of Web pages and high levels of network sharing, traditional networking solutions completely break down in these environments and we need to fundamentally rethink how to enhance Web access in these settings across all layers of the protocol stack. I will conclude the talk describing the hardships we have faced on the ground deploying many of our solutions.
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