ROLE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS INSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: OUR EXPERIENCE Sandro M. Radicella Aeronomy and Radiopropagation Laboratory
Technological innovationTechnological innovation is essentialfor human development.From the printing press to thecomputer, people have devised toolsfor facilitating learning andcommunication.Technology is not inherently good orbad, the outcome depends on how it isused.
Information andcommunications technology¬ Information and communications technology (ICT) involves innovations in microelectronics, computing (hardware and software), telecom- munications and opto-electronics —micro- processors,semiconductors, fibre optics.¬ These innovations enable the processing and storage of enormous amounts of information,along with rapid distribution of information through communication networks.
The role of ICT¬ It is accepted that telecommunication is a basic infrastructure necessary for economic and social development of a country.¬ This is even becoming more strong than ever as information related economic activities are growing.¬ Information and communications technology may be described as the support of the central nervous system of complex societies, transmitting and processing information and commands among the various parts of such societies.¬ Internet plays a fundamental function in ICT role
Benefits from ICTInformation and communications technologycarries on high promise both in human andeconomic terms.Benefits could be obtained in: ¬ Education ¬ Job training ¬ Health care ¬ Food security ¬ Environment management ¬ Government efficiency And specifically in Science and Technology: ¬ Speed up dissemination of scientific results world-wide through scientific knowledge sharing and exchange ¬ Allows to set up of Virtual Labs for communications and remote instrument
Rapid evolution of ICT¬ Predictions indicate the doubling of computing power every 18 –24 months and the doubling of communications power every 6 months. Both are accompanied by months huge reductions in costs and massive increases in speed and quantity.¬ In 2001 more information can be sent over a single cable in a second than in 1997 was sent over the entire Internet in a month.
Internet growth indeveloping and emerging countries
The digital devideThe distribution ofInternet users showuneven distribution in theworld.Connecting a majorportion of the populationis a challenge indeveloping regions .Limitations are theoutdated public telephonenetwork and the arbitraryhigh cost of the services.To beat this problem,solutions based on themost advanced techniquesbut with accessible costshave to be devised. Radio
ICT and collaborative research and innovation¬ Thanks to ICT scientific research and innovation —the original networked communication between universities that allowed the birth of the Internet —is increasingly collaborative between institutions and countries.¬ From 1995 –97, scientists in the United States coauthored articles with scientists from 173 other countries;scientists in Brazil with 114,in Kenya with 81,in Algeria 59.13
A Premise for Action at the Abdus Salam ICTP The growth of the ICT poses the challenge of providing developing countries with an adequate way to be linked with the rest of the world to avoid the risk of being cut out from main stream of information flow. The academic community is the obvious starting point for these efforts that will permeate to the rest of society. It is recognized that the underlying problem is the lack of sufficient well qualified human resources able to handle the new systems and technologies.
The action at the Centre• This premise motivated the Abdus Salam ICTP to carry out Intensive Training Activities for participants from developing countries and to establish a Programme of Training and System Development on Networking and Radiocommunications with the collaboration of the United Nations University. University• Both radio technology and computer networking have been used to help building up the ability of academic institutions in developing countries to access ICT
Training Activities (milestones)• 1989 -1st College on Theoretical and Experimental - Radiopropagation Physics ( first of a series of biannual Colleges on the same topic)• 1991-2nd College on Theoretical and Experimental 1991 Radiopropagation Physics ( with scientific and financial support from URSI)• 1993-3rd College on Theoretical and Experimental 1993 Radiopropagation Physics ( first with financial support from URSI and ITU/BDT)• 1993 to 1996- Activities cosponsored with ITU/BDT 1996• 1997- ICTP-URSI-ITU/BDT Workshop on the use of Radio for 1997 digital communications in developing countries• 1998- 1st ICTP-URSI-ITU/BDT School on the use of Radio for 1998 digital communications in developing countries ( its 5th yearly edition in 2002)
The new ProgrammeThe objective of the Programme of Trainingand System Development on Networking andRadiocommunications was to providetechnical assistance and training toacademic and scientific institutions indeveloping countries requesting help toestablish small area computer networks andtheir connection to the Internet, eitherdirectly or through national networks.
Main Projects in Africaá Pilot project: computer network for education and research at the Obafemi Awolowo University of Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Successfully completed by June 1996, with the use of spread spectrum radio technology .á Intensive Training, in Trieste, with support of the World Bank, of 26 academic network managers and 16 network engineers representing 26 Nigerian Universities, December 1996.á Follow up training activity for the NUNet of Nigeria in Ile-Ife and Abuja, Nigeria, 6 - 27 October 1997. Staff from all the 40 Nigerian Universities were trained in computer networking with the use of radio links.á Workshop on the use of Radio for Computer Networking at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, 31 August - 11 September 1998. Supported also by the United Nations University (UNU) , the University of Cape Coast (UCC), and other local organisations. A basic Radiocommunications Training Laboratory has been implemented at the University of Cape Coast for this purpose.á Training Activity on Networking and Radiocommunications in Trieste,14 September- 4
Projects in Romaniaá Pilot project for the establishment of a full Internet Connectivity between the National Institute for Material Physics located at the Magurele Physics Platform and the node of the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania , successfully carried out during July 1997.á Seminar on Networking and Radiocommunication carried out in Bucharest,Romania, 13-17 December 1999, co- Organized with the University of Bucharest (CREDIS) and financed by the World Bank.
Other activitiesSince 2000 the group has been involved inTraining Activities and Technical Advise inthe use of radio for computer networking inBenin, Peru, Romania, Sudan and Venezuela.The group created also the S&T CollaboriumInitiative.