Shopping Lists for Researchers (Relevance is a huge motivator...)
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Imagine we had a whole (large) university's worth of Undergrad, Masters and PhD candidates in everything from Computer Science, Engineering, Education, History and Medicine, Art and Design (and hundreds more). Imagine that we could ask them to look into research topics in order to solve X, Y, or Z problem, combining resources from multiple departments, with the will to simply get the job done that we need to get done:
* What would we need them to solve?
* What would we want them to solve first?
If we had such a university's worth of research and development available, what are the problems that we would like them to solve?
Some ideas to kick start discussions:
* How can we restructure the software networking stack so that it reduces interference between senders to reduce power?
* How can we provide robust and usable email, backup and web-browsing over "sneaker net" configurations without user interaction?
* How can we increase security in the case of lost machines, regime change and the like without impacting the 6-year-old-who-can't-read case?
* How can we eke out longer life from the flash drives?
* How can we provide robust multi-lingual textual input via the pressure-sensitive tablet within our processing budget?
* How can we scale up the interface smoothly for older children and adults?
* How can we teach children primary educational curricula when there are no teachers available at all? How can we do it better when there are teachers? How can we maximize the country's investments in their educational efforts?
* How can we provide "guidance office" services to millions of children?
* How can we gang the resources of the children's individual machines together to handle more involved processing tasks in a way that doesn't require the children to understand cluster computing?
* How can we teach subject X effectively in remote educational situations? How can we make it engaging and interesting?
Think blue-sky here. Want do we want/need to make these computers the most effective platform for learning on the planet. What big questions do we need/want addressed?
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John on 10/10/2007 8:33 a.m. #
Great list...<br />
Get each idea, to a group that wants to work on that one only.<br />
Interface for older children and adults. That is what I like.<br />
Mike Fletcher on 10/10/2007 5:15 p.m. #
Yes, but we need to collect more ideas and debate the relative merits of them. We might only have 2000 or so developers, we need to make sure they're working on what we really need/want.