– SPIDER, Swedish Program for Information and
Communication Technology (ICT) in Developing Regions
– SYSLAB, the Information Systems Laboratory
Postal address: Stockholm University/KTH, DSV (Institutionen för Data- och Systemvetenskap),
Forum 100, SE-164 40 Kista, Sweden
Visiting address: Isafjordsgatan 39
Web page: http://dsv.su.se/en/
Contact persons: Prof. Love Ekenberg, Head of department, phone: +46 (0)8 16 16 79
Project Assistant Rodolfo Candia, phone: +46 (0)8 161 175.
The Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) is part of the IT University in Kista, focusing on bridging the gap, between on the one hand information technology, and on the other hand the social sciences, the behavioral sciences as well as the humanities. The department co-operates with more than 30 universities all over the world. DSV is a joint department between Stockholm University, and KTH.
Within DSV, there are five laboratories from systems and software to services and solutions:
• Software development laboratory
• Security laboratory
• Communication and Cognition laboratory
• Information Systems laboratory (SYSLAB)
• Mobile Life laboratory
It is of high concern for DSV that the spread of ICT shall be constructive and beneficial to global development. Therefore, since 1998, DSV has collaboration with universities in a number of developing countries. The projects have for the most part been supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the EU. More information about DSV’s international development cooperation: http://www.dsv.su.se/en/its/itincoop/
South Asia related research
On Friday 25 September 2015, 13.00–15.00, the Forum for Asian Studies at Stockholm University organises an open seminar entitled ”How to bridge the Digital Divide in Sri Lankan Tea Estate Areas”. The participants are Professor K.P. Hewagamage (photo) from the School of Computing at University of Columbo, and four researchers from the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, namely Sirkku Männikkö, Thomas Westin, Ranil Peiris, and Peter Mozelius. Venue: F702 (Building F, 7th floor), Stockholm University, Frescati. More information about the seminar.
This presentation is about a Swedish – Sri Lankan project with the aim to bridge the internal digital divide and to promote education in tea estate areas.
Project abstract: Sri Lanka’s recent development has been fast but heterogeneous. While the former gap between its capital and European cities like Stockholm has decreased, the internal digital divide is increasing, i.e. “the gulf between those who have access to computers and Internet, and those who do not” within the country has widened. The tea estate areas in the central highlands, where people of Tamil origin live and work in the tea industry, have been neglected when it comes to infrastructure and education.
Linnaeus Palme collaboration projects with South Asia
In March 2013, the department recieved SEK 40 000 as an initial grant from the Swedish International Programme Office for Education and Training, when it decided upon the thirteenth round of Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme grants, for the period 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014. It was an exchange programme regarding teachers and students with the International Institute of Information Technology (IIITB) in Bangalore, India. The Swedish coordinator is Associate Professor Harko Verhagen. The contact person on the Indian side. More information about the South Asia related Linnaeus Palme projects for 2013-14.
December 2011 DVS visitied IIIB. The meetings resulted in an memorandum of understanding of research collaboration. The collaboration also got funding from the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) for two workshops during 2011. The IIIB research contact was Balaji Parthasarathy, and the internationalization contact Prof. Neelam Sinha. The research trip in 2011 had support from Stockhoom University through the Academic Initiative and the Forum for Asian Studies. Prof. Brita Hermelin (cultural geography) was leader for the research project.
In mid-March 2014, the Swedish International Programme Office for Education and Training decided upon the fourteenth round of Linnaeus Palme Exchange Programme grants, for the period 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2015. The department was again one of the successful applicants, and was awarded SEK 80 000 to launch a collaborative exchange of teachers and students with University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. More information about South Asia related Linnaeus Palme programme grants for 2014-15.
Earlier South Asia related research at the department:
• ICT in Academic Development in Sri Lanka.
A Split PhD program for Sri Lankan doctoral students has been run during the periods 1999–2003 and 2003-2009.
More information on this project
DSV coordinates this program in collaboration with the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) as main partner. Other collaborating universities in Sri Lanka are University of Peradeniya (Dept. of Electrical Engineering), the University of Ruhuna (Dept. of Computer Science); and the Lanka Educational and the Research Network (LEARN) Technical Unit based at the University of Moratuwa. The program is supported by Sida/SAREC, and deals with:
During the 1999-2004 phase the project had two components: (a) A PhD program, and (b) an Infrastructure development program.
(a) Through the PhD program students from Sri Lanka conducted their PhD studies at DSV, Uppsala University and Halmstad University. Eight Sri Lankan scholars attained their Swedish Licentiate degrees, and three of them got their Doctorate degrees in this period. Among them:
• Kasun De Zoysa, form University of Colombo. Got his PhD degree at DSV in 2003. Title of the Thesis:”A Model of Security Architecture for Multi-Party Transactions”.
• Prasad M. Jayaweera, from University of Ruhuna. Got his PhD degree att DSV in 2004. Title of the Thesis:” A Unified Framework for e-Commerce Systems Development: Business Process Patterns Perspective”. Dr. Jayaweere now works as a post-doc in the department’s SYSLAB laboratory. More information below.
• Lalith Premaratne, from University of Colombo. Got his PhD degree at School of Information Science, Computer and Electrical Engineering, Halmstad University and Chalmers University of Technology, in 2005. Thesis Title: ”Recognition of Printed Sinhala Characters by Direction Fields”.
(b) The general purpose of the infrastructure development component was to improve the networking infrastructure in Sri Lankan Universities. During this first phase campus-wide networks were constructed at five universities.
During the 2003-2009-phase ten additional students conducted their PhD studies at DSV and Uppsala University, and have attained their Licentiate degrees.
More information on the Sri Lankan PhD students.
Programme coordinator for this project has been Rodolfo Candia. Since 2000, Mr. Candia (photo to the right), originally from Argentina, works at the department with the co-ordination and administration of projects in the field of ICT, in cooperation with universities in a number of developing countries. Previously, between 1988 and 2000, he had similar functions at the Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering at KTH, where he coordinated multidisciplinary projects concerning areas such as the Environment and Natural Disaster Prevention.
Mr. Candia participated in the SASNET workshop on ”The role of South Asia in the internationalisation of higher education in Sweden” held in Stockholm 29-29 November 2006, where he gave a presentation in the session about ”Empowerment of academic communities in developing countries through ICT”. Read Rodolfo Candia’s presentation at the workshop (as a pdf-file)
• Asia eBIT – A model for net-based learning to help bridge the knowledge divide.
The Asia eBIT project was conceived between DSV and University of Colombo for improving the conditions for students at the University of Colombo’s external course “Bachelor of Information Technology” (BIT), to conclude their studies successfully. This is done by implementing an innovative curriculum based on collaborative e-learning pedagogy, net-based course content and on-line course management. The expected effect from the project is to raise the number of students that obtain a degree from University of Colombo’s external BIT program. The specific objective is to improve the capacity at University of Colombo to (a) develop the new, adapted curricula of the BIT external program, (b) develop skills in collaborative e-learning pedagogy and, (c) effective management of collaborative on-line courses. More information on the Asia eBIT project
Funding : EU
Project period : 2005-2008
Partners: Technical University Delft, Netherlands, University of Colombo School of Computing. Sri Lanka
Contact person: Rodolfo Candia
• NeLC, National e-learning centre, Sri Lanka More information on this project
Well aware of e-Learning’s potential for making education more accessible to more people, University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), has established its National e-Learning Centre (NeLC). NeLC shall promote e-Learning in all sectors of education in Sri Lanka. DSV and the Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology in Developing Regions (SPIDER) collaborate with UCSC to develop the needed human resources in order to create a centre of excellence for research in all aspects concerning on-line learning environments. The results of this project are going to be of value in expanding the initiative to other kinds of learning needs and for the replication of the model in other developing countries. DSV has been delegated the coordination of the cooperation between UCSC and Swedish universities in the NeLC project. More information on NeLC
Partners: University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), Sri Lanka, SPIDER, DSV.
Project period 2007-2009
Contact person: Lars Glimbert
SPIDER, Swedish Program for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Developing Regions
Postal address: SPIDER, IT University, DSV, Forum 100, SE-164 40 Kista, Sweden
Visiting address: Isafjordsgatan 39
Web pages: SPIDER – http://www.spidercenter.org/
Contact person: Dr Paula Uimonen, Director of SPIDER , phone: +46 (0)8 161693
SPIDER was formally constituted in July 2004. It grew out of the Unit for Development Cooperation that was established at the Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) some years earlier. SPIDER was officially inaugurated on Friday 18 March 2005.
During the first five years of existence, up till 31 December 2009, the Program had the organizational form of an academic center, hosted by the Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, but constituting a national entity. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, has been the main sponsor of SPIDER, with a purpose to promote and diffuse information, build human capacity and enhance progress in developing regions.
The Centre has acted as a meeting place and a catalyst for ICT experts and entrepreneurs, with an interest in strengthening their commitment to the UN millennium Development Goals. SPIDER has given financial support to many ICT projects at various Swedish universities with a purpose to stimulate cooperation with developing countries (in South Asia mostly with Sri Lanka).
SPIDER was also created with a view to act as a Swedish resource base in the area of ICT, and thus one of its important functions has been to provide advice and assistance to Sida, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Embassies in developing countries. During the funding period 2007-2009, Sida has contributed SEK 55 m and KTH an additional SEK 5 m for the core funding of SPIDER.
From January 1, 2010, SPIDER is hosted solely by Stockholm University. This is due to a reorganization at KTH. SPIDER remains a Centre within the Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences, but the connection with KTH ended. From January 2011, Dr. Paula Uimonen is the director of SPIDER. In December 2015, Stockholm university/Spidersigned a new agreement with Sida for cooperation and funding for 2016-2019. Sida has approved Spider’s application for renewed funding, an agreement that will support the work now mostly focusing on Africa.
Dr. Afzal Sher was instrumental in taking the first initiatives to mainstream ICT into the Swedish Development Cooperation while working as a Senior Research Officer at Sida’s Department for Research Cooperation (SAREC), prior to working for SPIDER. His efforts include computerizing and connecting to the Internet a number of universities in several developing countries, including Sri Lanka. He has a PhD from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden and has a vast experience of supporting ICT, research and capacity building in the developing countries.
Born in Pakistan and educated in Pakistan, ex-Soviet Union and Sweden, he is very well familiar with the working and cultural environment of both the developing and the developed world.
On 1 January 2010, Dr. Sher left his position as SPIDER Director. He has thereafter worked as Counsellor, Senior Program Officer for Research, at the Embassy of Sweden, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
In collaboration with Jönköping University, SPIDER organised a workshop entitled “Empowering people through ICT for sustainable development” on 6–7 December 2006. Among invited key note speakers were Anders Granlund from the Sida funded Swedish Environmental Secretariat for Asia(SENSA) in Bangkok, Thailand, who discussed the importance of raising the awareness of our environmental future and the increasing challenges with e-waste. Jac Stienen from the International Institute for Communication and Development(IICD) in The Netherlands explained how ICT for development is tightly connected to the potential of achieving the MDGs. The former Director of the Institute of Future Studies, Prof. Åke E. Andersson, raised the importance of education, decrease in knowledge inequalities and access to information and communication in order to achieve democracy and development. The key note speeches were ending with Prof. Mathew J. Manimala (Professor of Organization Behaviour and Jamuna Raghavan Chair Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India) who pointed out the need for entrepreneurial actions in order to ascertain sustainable development. More information about the Jönköping workshop.
SPIDER supported adult education project in India
On 8 December 2006, the SPIDER board approved a three-year collaboration project between partners in Kenya, India and Sweden, entitled ”ICT and adult education for alternative livelihood opportunities”. The overall objective is to empower Self Help Groups (SHGs), in coastal communities to identify viable livelihood opportunities in order to improve their socio-economic status, whilst ascertaining that the wellbeing of the environment is brought into the equation. This will eventually make their communities more resistant to environmental and economic shocks. ICTs will be introduced in parallel with education following the Swedish adult educational form – “folkbildning”.
The fundamental idea of folkbildning is to help people acquire tools to improve their own life situations. It is a bottomup learning process, where participants are considered active, able and responsible agents in their own learning. The values of folkbildning, regardless of participants and subjects studied, remain focused on equality, personal growth and responsibility, strengthening of citizenship and democratic processes. Folkbildning together with the access to information and communication technologies will therefore provide necessary tools to empower members of coastal communities to search alternative livelihood opportunities that also protect the sensitive environment. Implementation will primarily be carried out in communities along the Kenyan coast and in the costal district of Tamil Nadu in India.
The two collaborating institutions responsible for implementation of the project are the Sida supported Coastal Oceans Research and Development – Indian Ocean (CORDIO) in Kenya and the Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute(SDMRI) in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, India. In both areas the project will draw on existing relationships with villages in the areas and it is believed that the two organisations will benefit from collaboration and sharing of information and experience. The educational component will be provided by Nyköpings folkhögskola in Sweden.
National Research and Development Centre for Wireless Ad hoc and Sensor Networks at the University of Colombo School of Computing in Sri Lanka
With support from SPIDER, the establishment of a National Research and Development centre for Wireless Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks (WASNs) at the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) in Sri Lanka started in January 2006. The current vision for the WASN centre is to establish itself as a leading research centre for wireless communication and sensor networks in the South Asian region. The WASN centre is offering a 15-week course, starting in January 2007 in the fourth year of the undergraduate program for Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at UCSC. This course is covering wireless ad-hoc communication and sensor networks with emphasis on hands-on studies. At the moment there are five ongoing research projects in the WASN centre. In short these are:
• Vehicle mounted sensors for road condition monitoring • Vehicle mounted sensors for environmental monitoring • Statistical modelling of sensor network traffic • Surveillance camera network • Power efficiency modelling
During 2006, two public research workshops were conducted in Sri Lanka, with participation from other universities and the industry, and also in October 2006 one international research workshop, held in Colombo. Dr. Kasun De Zoysa is lecturer and coordinator of the WASN centre including a WASN course. He was one of the students earlier involved in the split PhD programme for Srilankan doctoral students 1999–2004 (see above).
In November 2006, a team from the WASN centre, including Dr. Kasun De Zoysa, Dr. Chamath Keppitiyagama (advisor for WASN centre) and Mr. Kenneth Manjula Thilakarathna (research assistant and technical project manager for project students) visited Sweden. The tour included visits to Ericsson AB, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS) and Halmstad University – where the team exchanged their programming experience with researchers at the university.
A two-day workshop on Porting Scientific Applications on to Computational Grids was held from 11–13 December, 2006 at the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC). The workshop was led by Dr Abhaya Induruwa from Canterbury Christ Church University, UK and attended by delegates from University of Colombo, IBMBB (institute of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics), UCSC and University of Peradeniya.
The Sri Lanka project was completed in 2008. More information.
Other SPIDER funded projects in South Asia
A number of projects has been started with an initiative originated from developing countries. They include:
• A project on “Appropriate and sustainable ICT centre for rural people in Bangladesh“, coordinated by Dr. Mannan Mridha, Dept. of Applied Information Technology, School of Information and Communication Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, carried out in collaboration with Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The project period was March 2006 – February 2007, and it was funded with SEK 275 000 from SPIDER. More information.
• A project on ”ICT in rural development in Bangladesh“, also coordinated by Dr. Mannan Mridha, Dept. of Applied Information Technology, School of Information and Communication Technology, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, carried out in collaboration with Grameen Communications, Bangladesh, Grameen Phone, Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Bangladesh, and International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad, India. The project period is September 2007–December 2009, and it has been funded with SEK 1.6 million from SPIDER. More information.
• A project on ”National Research and Development Center for Wireless Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks (WASN)”, coordinated by Martin Gustavsson, Ericsson Microwave Systems AB, and Kazun De Zoysa, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. It has been a collaboration project between Ericsson Microwave Systems AB, Sweden; Volvo Technology, Sweden; and the School of Computing at University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The project period was October 2005 – October 2007, and the project was funded with SEK 1.2 million from SPIDER. The objective of the project was to:
1. Set up a R&D center for WASN
2. Conduct applied research specially in environmental monitoring and health care
3. Develop WASN applications to solve real-life problems in Sri Lanka
4. Enhance the WASN education in Sri Lanka
SPIDER has provided funds to Swedish universities to develop joint collaboration with universities in developing countries.
For 2005-2006, the SPIDER board approved funding for one South Asia related project:
• A project titled ”Bangladesh Virtual Classroom“, coordinated by Professor Åke Grönlund at the University School of Business, Örebro University. It was conducted from October 2005 to May 2007, as a collaboration project between the Universities of Örebro, Umeå, and BRAC in Dhaka, Bangladesh. During the course of the project also Bangladesh Open University (BOU) joined by means of a Memorandum of Understanding setting the framework for cooperation in pursuing field trials.
The project had two parts:
1: Using Mobile Technology to Create a Virtual Interactive Participatory Classroom using sms technology.
2: Conducting an Educate the Educator Program to introduce interactive teaching methods.
The project was funded with SEK 900 000 from SPIDER.
More information about the Bangladesh Virtual Classroom Project.
• SPIDER decided to give more funding to this project for the period 2007–2009. SEK 1 million was given to the project now titled ”Bangladesh Virtual Classroom sustained”, coordinated by Prof. Grönlund at ESI, Örebro University. It now targeted a large-scale implementation of an interactive TV and SMS “classroom” setting for ICT-enabled distance tuition at Bangladesh Open University. The project deliverables also included development of pedagogical methods, methods for economic production of interactive courses and methods for technically and economically feasible delivery of such courses throughout Bangladesh.
For 2007-2009, the SPIDER board also approved funding for a few other South Asia projects:
• A project on ”Agricultural market information for farmers”, also coordinated by Professor Åke Grönlund at the Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics (ESI), Örebro University. The project, also focusing on Bangladesh, was given SEK 1 million.
Abstract: The project will develop an agricultural market information system to improve local agricultural markets and empower small farmers in rural Bangladesh using low-cost existing SMS infrastructure to create a viable local organization for information collection and dissemination. Focus is on the collection and distribution of market information to beneficiaries rather than on the in-formation system as such, using appropriate technology given the local context.
• A project on ”Mobile ATMs for Developing Countries”, coordinated by Sead Muftic at the Dept. of Computer and Systems Sciences, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, focusing on Sri Lanka, was given SEK 800 000 from SPIDER:
Abstract: Few people use ATM or credit cards in developing countries such as Sri Lanka given that they do not have sufficient income levels and/or the fact that few ATMs are available in rural areas. The project will provide basic ATM services to people who have mobile phones, especially in rural areas. With the proposed solution people can withdraw money from a Mobile-ATM (M-ATM) without going to a traditional ATM machine. The M-ATM system uses cheap mobiles phones, functioning as payment terminals.
Stockholm workshop on E-health in low resource settings
Karolinska Institutet Medical University, Karolinska University Hospital, and the Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine/WHO Collaborating Centre for Telemedicine and e-health organised a workshop on ”E-health in low resource settings: The path to sustainability” in Stockholm 30–31 March 2009. The workshop was supported by SPIDER, and offered interesting keynote speeches addressing the sustainability issue of developing e-health in a low resource setting, combined with presentations of successful projects that have achieved sustainability. The event brought together researchers and practitioners alike from the e-health community. Rustam Nabiev from Karolinska University Hospital was the workshop coordinator.
SYSLAB, the Information Systems Laboratory
Web page: http://syslab.dsv.su.se/
SYSLAB, the Information Systems Laboratory, is a part of the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University and the Royal Institute of Technology. Most research at SYSLAB is carried out in projects in cooperation with industry.
Dr. Prasad M. Jayaweera has worked as a postdoctoral researcher and an affiliated member of SYSLAB. Jayaweera, who hails from Colombo, Sri Lanka, also hold a senior lecturer position in computer science at the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka. He defended his PhD thesis entitled ”Unified Framework for e-Commerce Systems Development: Business Process Patterns Perspective” at DSV, Stockholm University on 24 September 2004 (photo from the occasion). Faculty opponent was Prof. Hans Weigand, Tilburg University, Netherlands.
Jayaweera belonged to the group of eight Srilankan students in the Sida-sponsored split PhD programme administered by DSV, see above. He has since published his research work at several national as well as international forums on process modeling, process patterns, and electronic commerce systems designing. Jayaweera has also involved in many different research projects during his research activities at DSV in Sweden and at DCS in Sri Lanka. Dr. Jayaweera later worked as a post-doc at PReCISE, a research center of the University of Namur, France, but he is now (2015) back in Sri Lanka, working as a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science & eCommerce at the Department if ComputerScience, University of Sri Jayewardenepura in Gangodawila, Nugegoda.
In recent years, there has been a number of South Asian PhD candidates connected to SYSLAB. In 2009 they were:
– Ahmad Salman Khan from Faisalabad, Pakistan. IT Systems (software maintenance and evolution, software transition).
– Tharaka Ilayperuma from Matara, Sri Lanka. He received his Degree of Licentiate of Philosophy (PhL) from the Stockholm University in 2007 and later read towards PhD under the supervision of Professor Paul Johannesson at DSV . He was on study leave from the the University of Ruhuna, Matara, Sri Lanka.
– Ananda Edirisuriya from Colombo, Sri Lanka. IT Systems (business process management, enterprise modelling). On Tuesday 20 November 2009, he defended his doctoral thesis at the Dept. of Computer Science. Mr. Edirisuriya received his B.Sc. in Mathematics from University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka in 1990 and his MS.C. in Computer Science from Shanghai University, China in 1994. He is working as a senior lecture in the department of Statistics and Computer Sciences, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka. He works in the area of Business models, Goal models Process models and IT alignment. He successfully defended his Philosophy of Licentiate thesis on October, 2007 titled “On the Alignment of Business Models and Process Models”. Edirisuriya has published work on Goal Models and Business Model integration, Business models and Process models integration, Business models integration and analyzing of tradable value resources.
– M Khurram Shahzad from Lahore, Pakistan. IT Systems (business process management, data warehousing). He was on study leave from COMSATS Insitute of Information Technology (CIIT), where he is working as Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Science.