Senior Associate Editor, IEEE* Spectrum
IEEE Spectrum Radio
What does it take to build a computer lab in sub-Saharan Africa? IEEE Spectrum’s Harry Goldstein travelled to Nigeria to investigate the use of recently installed fiber-optic cables, but ended up spearheading the construction of a computing center for students at the Federal University of Technology Owerri.
The computer lab was to replace the cumbersome system of taking hand written notes to internet cafes to send as e-mail, and provide internet access to the students of FUTO. Goldstein encountered several challenges in securing funding and support to build the lab. Together with a grant from the IEEE foundation, Hewlett Packard donated the computers and equipment to fill the lab.
Despite the multi-million dollar fiber optic cable connection, internet access was hugely expensive and only available through satellite connections. Besides having to find reliable sources of electricity, there also remained the problem of providing adequate network support. Listen to how a dedicated group found solutions to most of the lingering problems, providing an invaluable educational resource for Nigeria’s future scientists and engineers.
*The IEEE, a non-profit organization, is the world’s leading professional association for the advancement of technology.
The full name of the IEEE is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., although the organization is referred to by the letters I-E-E-E and pronounced Eye-triple-E.