[2021-04-16] Dr. William Wu and Dr. Jiehua Chen, Quantitative Engineering Design (QED), "Bringing the Hacker Spirit to Global Development"

Poster:Post date:2021-04-12
Title: Bringing the Hacker Spirit to Global Development
Date: 2021-04-16 2:20pm-3:30pm
Location: R103, CSIE
Speaker: Dr. William Wu and Dr. Jiehua Chen, Quantitative Engineering Design (QED)
Hosted by: Prof. Chi-Sheng (Daniel) Shih


“I want to encourage software developers, inventors, and scientists, to consider how they can use their skills to fight inequity.” - Bill Gates
2.5 billion people each day struggle to survive through extreme poverty, earning less than 2 USD per day and fighting a relentless battle against malnutrition and disease. The plight of the world’s poor has worsened through COVID-19, which has regressed global progress against malaria, HIV, and TB, and is pushing families and businesses through Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to the point of no return. The resulting disruption of global supply chains has illuminated the inextricable linkages between nations, and demonstrated that epidemics should be tackled in solidarity to maximize security for all people.
By working in the field of international development, we are challenged to help developing countries with the strengthening of extremely fragile health and food systems. The common stigma of such work is that it should be delegated to doctors and volunteers. However, our thesis is that computer scientists and engineers have a monumental role to play, by building the technologies needed for system-level reforms.
To demonstrate our thesis, we first retrace the story of our entry into this field, from the perspective of a Taiwanese-American that visited Africa a decade ago and discovered a world of technical challenges and opportunities. We then describe several projects in more detail, including tracking of under-5 deaths, malaria, and covid-19; delivery of influenza vaccines and HIV antiretrovirals to remote populations; and mapping smallholder farms at national scale, all facilitated using software engineering and artificial intelligence. QED sustains its work as a social enterprise working in partnership with organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, Global Fund, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dr. William Wu is the Director of Quantitative Engineering Design (QED), a mission-oriented technology company that empowers health and agriculture organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Together with his team, Dr. Wu has built data systems used by hundreds of medical clinics across Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi, and artificial intelligence tools used in Nigeria, Ghana, and Nepal. Dr. Wu earned his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of California Berkeley, and his M.S. in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, both from Stanford University, and has previously worked and lived in East Africa. Prior to co-founding QED, he worked at a diverse array of tech companies, including the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. In 2019 he was featured as one of Bill Gates’ Goalkeepers in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr. Jiehua Chen (“JC”) is the Chief Statistician of Quantitative Engineering Design (QED). She received her B.Sc. in Math and Physics from Tsinghua University summa cum laude, followed by an M.S. in Economics and Ph.D. in Statistics at Stanford University. She has extensive experience in spatial-temporal statistics, randomized experiment design, and juxtaposing modern machine learning with traditional statistical models. She has worked on international development projects since 2008, and is passionate about working on problems that matter for all people, particularly in health and agriculture.
Last modification time:2021-04-12 AM 9:48

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