Monday, March 28, 4:30 pm, CSE 110, University of Washington
Title: How $100 Smartphones are Transforming the Government in Pakistan
Pakistan is the 6th largest country in the world by population. Over half of
the population lives below $2 poverty line; 40% of the adult population is
unable to read or write; 30% lack access to clean drinking water; 85% of the
world's polio cases are from Pakistan. At the same time, with over 137 Million
cellphone users in Pakistan, almost every household has a cellphone;
Pakistani's sent over 320 Billion SMS last year; you can buy a smartphone for
less than $50 in Pakistan.
In this talk, I will present a number of smartphone-based systems we have
developed to monitor government work, improve civic services and collect
citizen feedback in Pakistan. This talk will explain how we used smartphones to
track and contain a Dengue epidemic, identify crime hotspots, measure teacher
presence and monitor visits of rural doctors. I will specifically talk about an
innovative vaccinator tracking application that has totally transformed the
vaccination program in Pakistan to eradicate Polio.
Prof. Umar Saif works as the Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology
Board (PITB), heading all public-sector IT projects in Punjab. He is also the
founding Vice Chancellor of ITU, a newly setup research university in Lahore.
Prof. Saif received his PhD in 2001 at University of Cambridge and worked at
MIT for several years before returning to Pakistan. He was named as one of the
top 35 young innovators by the MIT Technology Review (TR35) in 2011 and a Young
Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010. He received a Google Faculty
Research award in 2011. In 2014, Prof. Saif was awarded Sitara-i-Imtiaz, one of
the highest civil awards by government of Pakistan. He was named among the 500
most influential Muslims in the world in 2015 and 2016.
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