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How Cheap Smartphones and off-the-shelf Machine Learning are Changing the Government in Pakistan

October 30, 2018

MC 2-850

  • This talk will focus on three areas:

    (1) Agriculture: The platform, FoodAtHome.org, uses free multi-spectral imagery, smartphone-based ground-truthing and distributed volunteer-computing to make weekly crop yield predictions in Punjab.

    (2) Vaccination: The system, eVaccs, uses smartphones to track mobile vaccinators and satellite imagery to detect population clusters, resulting in vaccination improvement from 43% to 87%.

    (3) Data Collection: The platform, SurveyAuto, enables an uber-style market place for crowdsourcing local data and uses machine learning to automatically analyze the quality of crowdsourced data.     


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    Chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board

    Prof. Saif is Chairman of the Punjab Informational Technology Board (PITB), heading all public-sector IT projects in Punjab, Pakistan. He is also founding Vice Chancellor of ITU, a newly setup research university in Lahore. He holds a PhD from Cambridge University and worked at MIT for several years before returning to Pakistan. Prof. Saif was awarded Sitara-I-Imtiaz, one of the highest civil awards by the government of Pakistan, and he was named among the 500 most influential Muslims in the world in 2015-2018. Dr. Saif was appointed the UNESCO Chair for ICT for Development in 2018.

  • DIME is a World Bank-wide program to generate knowledge on the effectiveness of development policies. Working across 18 thematic areas, DIME collaborates with 300 agencies in 72 countries to improve the effectiveness of policies and programs and strengthen country capacity for real-time evidence-based policy-making. More »