Published on April 17th, 2009 | by Arsalan Mir7
LUMS gets MIT Technovator Award for 2008
The MIT Technovators Awards, instituted in 2003, recognize and felicitate distinguished young innovators of South Asian origin working at the confluence of technology research and entrepreneurship. The awards emphasize the need to honor young, upcoming individuals; and focus on emerging technologies that are bound to have a far-reaching impact on the world as we know it today.
Dr. Umar Saif from LUMS (Lahore University for Managements Sciences) has won an award in Grassroot and Development Technology in MIT Technovators Award 2008.
Prof. Umar Saif is Associate Professor of Computer Science at LUMS, Pakistan and a social entrepreneur. He received his academic training from LUMS, Cambridge and MIT. He did his BSc (Hons) from LUMS (1998), PhD from University of Cambridge (2001) and Postdoctorate from MIT (2002), all in Computer Science. Dr. Saif worked and taught at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) as a research scientist for four years, where he was part of the group (O2S) that developed system technologies for project Oxygen — a US$28 million project sponsored by the US Department of Defense (DARPA) and an industrial Alliance of world-class companies including Nokia, HP, Compaq, NTT DoCommo, Phillips, Acer and Delta. While at MIT, Dr. Saif also managed the multi-million dollar collaboration on future computing technologies between University of Cambridge and MIT sponsored by the Cambridge-MIT Institute (CMI) and a consortium of high-tech British companies. Dr. Saif is a Fellow of the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust. He was awarded the Mark Weiser Award at IEEE Percom’08, Digital Inclusion Award from Microsoft Research in 2006 and the IDG CIO Technology Pioneer Award in 2008. His research has been featured in popular media, including BBC, New Scientist, MIT Technology Review, Distributed Systems Online, and Dawn News.
Dr. Saif currently leads the Dritte.org initiative (http://www.dritte.org) for bridging the digital divide. Funded by Microsoft Research, USAID/US State Department, Higher Education Commission and the Punjab Information Technology Board, Dritte focuses on developing both hardware and software infrastructure, specifically designed for the physical, social and economic realities of developing countries. Dr. Saif’s recent work on Poor Mana’s Broadband and Donatebandwidth.net are aimed at developing a radical new Internet architecture for the developing-world. Poor Mana’s Broadband and Donatebandwidth.net enable users in the developing-world to access Internet at a much higher speed than is possible in the developing-world. Using Dr. Saif’s technologies, users can dynamically donate the bandwidth of their dialup connections to help those with low-bandwidth connections to download data faster.
Dr. Saif has successfully commercialized some of his technology solutions for the developing-world. His venture ChOpaal.pk (http://www.chopaal.pk) enables a mailing-list style communication over the cell-phone SMS service. Often dubbed the Twitter of Pakistan, ChOpaal is currently the largest mobile social network in Pakistan and routes millions of SMS per month for many communities including political activists, rescue workers, health workers, NGOs, student groups etc.
Likewise, Dr. Saif is a co-founder of See`n`Report (http://www.seenreport.com) — Pakistan’s largest citizen journalism service, which became the de facto place for the civil society to report news and voice their opinions during times of political unrest, emergency and media bans in Pakistan.
Telecompk.net congratulates Dr. Saif for this achievement.
[source Global Indus Technovators Award]