Jones Seminar: Technology for the Other 3-4 Billion Inhabitants

Victor B. Lawrence, Charles Batchelor Chair Professor of Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology

Friday, April 22, 2016, 3:30–4:30pm

Spanos Auditorium, Cummings Hall

This talk will address the challenges of serving the 3-4 billion individuals on the other side of the digital divide. It will examine the current economic and living conditions in the poorest parts of the world and the communications and computing infrastructure required for socio-economic development in these areas. The talk will pay particular attention to the technical solutions for connecting these regions to the Internet and the applications that may be of the greatest value for civic society and good governance, such as, e-education, e-health, e-agriculture, e-government, and e-commerce.

The talk will also describe a $700 million state-of-the-art submarine fiber optic network being developed to meet the needs of Africa. This is a 12.85 Tbps (terabits per second) subsea cable spanning 17,000 Km (kilometers) from Cape Town, South Africa to Penmarch in France and connecting every coastal country on Africa’s west coast, including many countries that have never had access to international fiber optic submarine cables.

About the Speaker

Victor B. Lawrence

Victor B. Lawrence is Charles Batchelor Chair Professor of Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, and Chairman of Baharicom Development Co. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. He will be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May 2016. Lawrence was Vice President at Bell Laboratories where he spent most of his career. He has made a significant impact on the global telecommunications industry in the last 30 years. His pioneering work has improved transmission for the modern Internet, made high-speed connections more universally available, and stimulated the growth of the global Internet. His work has advanced data encoding and transmission, modem technology, DSL, silicon chip design, ATM/IP switching and protocols, speech and audio coding, and digital video. Born in Ghana, Lawrence received BSc, MS, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from the University of London. An advocate of bringing Internet access to the world’s poorest countries, Lawrence has spearheaded efforts to lay high-capacity fiber optic cable along the west coast of Africa.

For more information, contact Jessica Widdicombe at