Computing for Global Development: Is it Computer Science Research?

By: 
Kentaro Toyama and Muneeb Ali
Appears in: 
CCR October 2009

Poverty and the associated sufferings remain a global challenge, with over a billion people surviving on less than a dollar a day. Technology, applied appropriately, can help improve their lives. Despite some clear examples of technical research playing a key role in global development, there is a question that repeatedly arises in this area: can technologies for developing regions be considered a core area of computer science research? In this note, we examine some of the arguments on both sides of this question, deliberately avoid answering the question itself (for the lack of community consensus), and provide some suggestions for the case where the answer is in the affirmative.