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CS Distinguished Lecture Series Continues with Internationally Respected Telecom Inventor, Dr. Sam Pitroda

The UT Dallas Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series continued on March 4th with Dr. Sam Pitroda, internationally respected telecom engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker, and policy maker. Dr. Pitroda is a serial entrepreneur having started several companies in the United States. He holds over 15 honorary PhD’s, close to 100 worldwide patents, and has spent over 50 years in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and related global and national developments.

On March 4th, Dr. Sam Pitroda delivered his talk, “The m-Power Initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).” In his talk, Dr. Pitroda discussed how the m-Powering Development Initiative is designed to create a resource and an action plan to deploy ICT services, from m-Health, m-Learning, m-Governance to m-Commerce and m-Sport. Pitroda explained the benefits of the initiative by saying; “It can cut costs and reshape public service delivery for many millions of individuals, particularly those living in in remote or rural areas of the world, for the better.”

Dr. Pitroda also discussed his personal experiences in building indigenous technology in India where he is credited with having laid the foundation for India’s telecommunications and technology revolution in the 1980s. Dr. Sam Pitroda has been the one of the leading campaigners to help bridge the global digital divide.

Dr. Pitroda is an internationally recognized telecom inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker, and policy maker who has spent over 50 years in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), as well as related global and national developments. He has served as Advisor on Technology Missions to India’s Prime Minister, Rajiv Ghandi, during which time he launched the Center for the Development of Telematics (C-DOT). During his tenure as Advisor to the Prime Minster, Dr. Pitroda led six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy production, and oil seeds.

He was also the founder and first Chairman of India’s Telecom Commission. In both of these positions, Dr. Pitroda helped revolutionize India’s development philosophies and policies with a focus on access to technology, as the key to social change.

As a way to induce the second phase of India’s technology revolution, in 2005, From 2005-2009, Dr. Pitroda headed India’s National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory body to the Prime Minister of India, to give policy recommendations for improving knowledge related institutions and infrastructure in the country. During its term, the National Knowledge Commission submitted approximately 300 recommendations on 27 focus areas.

Dr. Pitroda also founded the National Innovation Council, (2010), and served as the Advisor to the Prime Minister with rank of a cabinet minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovation, to help democratize information. He served as the chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force, as well as the committees to reform public broadcasting, modernize railways, deliver e-governance, and other developmental activities.

Dr. Pitroda is a founding Commissioner of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development and Chairman of the International Telecommunication Union’s m-Powering Development Board that looks to empower developing countries with the use of mobile technology. Dr. Pitroda founded and served as Chairman of C-SAM. The company maintains its headquarters in Chicago with offices in Singapore, Tokyo, Pune, Mumbai and Vadodara.

Currently, Dr. Pitroda holds approximately 100 technology patents, has been involved in several start-ups and lectures extensively. He has received countless awards including a Dataquest Lifetime Achievement award (2002), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conferred the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award to Dr. Pitroda (2011), IEEE Communication Society’s Award for Public Service in the Field of Telecommunications (2007), and was elected in 2008 as a world prominent leader by the World Network of Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs.

He helped to establish (with Darshan Shankar) the Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Tradition and its Institution of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology near Bangalore in India. He is chairman of the m-Powering Development Initiative of the ITU in Geneva, Board Member of the World Wide Web Foundation, founding partner of the Young Indian Company, India (now the majority owner of National Herald), and a board member of the Institute of Design in Chicago. In addition, Dr. Pitroda is a serial entrepreneur having started several companies in the United States. He lives in Chicago with his wife.

From the left: Drs. Gopal Gupta, Sam Pitroda, and Raj Menon.

From the left: Drs. Gopal Gupta, Sam Pitroda, and Raj Menon.


 About the UT Dallas Computer Science Department

The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.

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