John Mitchell
Monday, January 5, 2009
The future of computing in emerging economies lies in handheld devices. A case in point is India, where mobile phone penetration is much higher than PCs. The increasing use of increasingly powerful mobile devices leads to many possible research opportunities, including research on wireless and cellular infrastructure, and applications that would run well on handheld devices. I would like to see how educational applications can be mounted on these devices and then given away to school children in rural areas; as this would help address a lot of learning issues. Some collaborators have tried this in other areas, and India is a natural place to try it.

Since India came onto the information highway quite late, there may be fewer legacy problems. The wireless infrastructure and mobile phone networks provide much room for flexibility, and it will be interesting to see the wave of research that comes out from India.

Personally, I like research projects that combine a core scientific problem with a compelling application. Indian researchers can raise awareness about the problems they face and the future needs they hope to serve. This could lead to basic scientific research that addresses application areas important to India.
Increasingly, research meetings are being held across the globe. While a decade ago most prominent scientific meetings were concentrated in North America and Western Europe, with every passing year, we are having them in more diverse locations. This trend will help build an international research community that recognizes specific regional technology needs and research trends.
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