Content Gazette - December 2019 - Cover2

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Ali H. Sayed | IEEE Signal Processing Society President | ali.sayed@epfl.ch

"Guilty of the Good We Did Not Do"

M

any of us marveled in awe in March
2018 at the sight of the Ghana teacher who, using colored chalk, drew
on his blackboard a snapshot of how an
open window of the Microsoft Word software would look like on the screen of a
computer [1]; see Figure 1. His school did
not have any computers and his young
students needed to prepare to pass the
Ghanaian national exam, which requires
familiarity with computing and information technology. I was not only moved by
the action of this amazingly dedicated and
patient teacher drawing his creation on the
board, but also by the sight of his attentive
students sitting on their desks and copying
the information from the blackboard onto
their notebooks. Just pause for a while and
consider how revealing these images are
about human nature and its restless drive
for knowledge.
While we take for granted our desk
computers, software packages, laptops,
and smartphones, without even giving a
thought as to how precious these tools
are, there are eager students, with great
potential, in disadvantaged regions
yearning to imagine what the screen of
a computer would look like! It appears
to them as if computers are characters
from a fictional novel. That is a shameful gap; one that continues to exist today at the dawn of the 21st century.
This past March 2019, we also witnessed a Kenyan science teacher being
awarded a US$1 million prize for being
the "world's best teacher." This teacher
spends 80% of his salary to help the

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSP.2019.2938153
Date of current version: 29 October 2019

poorest students of his school buy their
books and uniforms [2]. To the amazement of many, these types of stories do
not only occur in villages in Africa or
Asia, but also occur in wealthier countries, including in the United States of
America, where Good Samaritans frequently assist their needy students. There
is untapped potential in our world, with
great challenges to uncover. I will focus
in this editorial on Africa, knowing very
well that the same challenges and potential exist elsewhere on the globe.
According to [3], Africa generates
less than 1% of the world's research while
accounting for about 16% of the world
population. The continent has 79 scientists per million inhabitants, compared
to 4,500 for the United States [3]. These
are alarming statistics if we consider that
Africa needs to develop its science base
to meet immense challenges that are
likely to affect the continent even more
seriously than other locations, especially

in relation to climate change, agriculture, health, and population growth. The
lower research output in Africa is not for
lack of institutions of higher education.
There exist literally hundreds of universities, with those from South Africa and
Egypt often appearing among the highest ranked in the continent. Nevertheless, according to a study by the Center
for World University Rankings, there are
only 10 universities from Africa appearing in the list of the top 1,000 universities
worldwide [4]. In the opinion of many
experts, the main challenge facing African universities is the lack of sufficient
resources or adequate infrastructure
to promote a vibrant research environment, besides low salary scales. A
relatively recent study [5] suggests that
over 80% of academics and students in
sub-Saharan Africa have held unpaid
research positions.
One should also not underestimate the
consequential and damaging repercussions

FIGURE 1. Photos of Ghanian teacher, Owura Kwadwo Hottish, drawing Microsoft Word on a blackboard
have gone viral. (Source: Owura Kwadwo Hottish; used with permission.)

IEEE SIGNAL PROCESSING MAGAZINE

www.signalprocessingsociety.org

| November 2019 |

[cov2]

DECEMBER 2019

5


http://www.signalprocessingsociety.org

Content Gazette - December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Content Gazette - December 2019

Content Gazette - December 2019 - Cover1
Content Gazette - December 2019 - Cover2
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 1
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 2
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 3
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 4
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 5
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 6
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 7
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 8
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 9
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Content Gazette - December 2019 - 11
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Content Gazette - December 2019 - 14
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 15
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 16
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Content Gazette - December 2019 - 18
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 19
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 20
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 21
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Content Gazette - December 2019 - 23
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 24
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 25
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 26
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 27
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 28
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Content Gazette - December 2019 - 30
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 31
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 32
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 33
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 34
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 35
Content Gazette - December 2019 - 36
Content Gazette - December 2019 - Cover3
Content Gazette - December 2019 - Cover4
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