The funds' main objective is to increase the level of practical skills as well as research in computing and telecommunications
The government of Ireland through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has extended support worth Euros 250,000 (about sh1b) to support computing and telecommunication research lab at Makerere University.
The funds whose main objective is to increase the level of practical skills, as well as research in computing and telecommunications, was used in the setting up Core Networking Labs at the College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT).
The EPA is the body in Ireland responsible for front line protection and policing of Ireland's environment as well as ensuring that the people of Ireland are protected from the harmful effects of radiation
Speaking during the launch of the labs at CEDAT, Dr Dorothy Okello the principal investigator of the project in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering said the Core Networking Lab is a four in one labs hoped to increase practical skills of the learners.
“We have a lab for core networking equipment with high-speed equipment typically found with telecom operators to allow students have experience on the type of equipment they can engage with, when in the field including practically setting it up during filed work, “she said on Thursday.
The next lab, she said, is for artificial intelligence and machine learning saying the world today in computing and the power that can be harnessed continue to increase with artificial intelligence and machine learning where a diagnosis can be made quickly and simply.
“What we have demonstrated now is the identification of pest and diseases through artificial intelligence, where several images of different type of diseases can be captured quickly and sort them with a high degree of accuracy.
Imagine if this was done manually, you would look at the disease may be the photo of the pest, then you go through checking until completion which is very hectic, “she said.
She explained that through computing, several types of data can be processed quickly especially in case of errors where a lot of collecting information outside is needed.
The fourth lab she said includes wireless and advanced laboratory saying in developing countries the only way to get a connection is through wireless internet on mobile phones.
“In the developed countries they have landlines whereas for the developing countries it’s the mobile phones. So wireless as a technology is very important for us in terms of communication the reason for the equipment to facilitate the training of students in wireless communication which can help improve communication in form of videos or pictures for the illiterates.
While officiating at the launch of the labs, Ambassador William Carlow said the lab will help Uganda to further its reach into the whole area of technology which is so important to the development of this country.
“I have observed that the skills learnt are plying in the very particular aspect of ensuring that people especially farmers can get better money for their products through improving what they are producing in the end to reduce poverty, “he said.
He applauded Uganda towards embracing technological advancement which is part and parcel for economic transformation.
“I’m confident that this lab donated by the EPA in Ireland and all the other links with IT will promote further cooperation in computing and telecommunications Research and Development (R&D) and facilitate joint innovation activities and projects between colleges, businesses and countries, “he said.
The CEDAT deputy principle, Venny Nakazibwe, said the communication equipment will greatly help in impacting on real issues that happen in the community.
“Through the artificial intelligence, we are able to identify that passion fruit has challenges and the system will be able to capture photographs or visuals of the types of diseased fruits and put the information into the central system that can enable the researchers to forward it to relevant experts to finally address the problem.
They have been programmed in such a way that they can be able to identify the conditions and release information on the type of disease, “she said.
Gorret Namulondo a student of computer engineering said the labs will help farmers know the problem and its cause for easy redress.