LAHORE: Pakistani scholar among MIT’s top 35 innovators

Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) Associate Professor Dr Umar has been recognised by the MIT Technology Review as one of the top 35 innovators (TR35) in the world.

The announcement was made by LUMS SSE on Tuesday, according to which Dr Umar is the first Pakistani scholar to have been selected for the prestigious TR35 award in the last decade.

According to MIT Technology Review, “The TR35 recognises the world’s top 35 young innovators that are radically transforming technology as we know it. Their work – spanning medicine, computing, communications, energy, electronics and nanotechnology — is changing our world.” Dr Umar has been honoured for his work on technologies for the developing-world. Technologies developed by Dr Umar’s research group and startups are used by millions of people in the developing world. Notable among these are BitMate – that enhances the speed of Internet in the developing-world using peer-to-peer technology, and SMSall.pk – Pakistan’s largest SMS social network that has sent close to 4 billion SMS for users in Pakistan.

Previous winners of this award include co-founders of Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive, Tumbler founder David Karp, Harvard Professor Alán Aspuru-Guzik for his work on Quantum computers, and MIT neuroscientist Ed Boyden, one of the inventors of the emerging field of optogenetics, which makes it possible to control neurons with light.

MIT Technology Review selects the top innovators after a rigorous evaluation process. The judges, who are leading experts in their fields from universities such as MIT, Stanford and Harvard, consider hundreds of high-impact researchers and entrepreneurs from all over the world, out of which top 35 are chosen for the award.

“This year’s group of TR35 recipients is driving the next wave of transformative technology and making an impact on the way we live, work and interact”, said Jason Pontin, editor-in-chief and publisher of the MIT Technology Review.

Dr Umar has won numerous awards for his innovative technology solutions for the developing world. He was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010.

He is a recipient of the MIT Technovator Award (Grassroot Technologies), Mark Weiser Award for best paper award at PERCOM, the top-rated conference in the field of pervasive computing, Digital Inclusion Award from Microsoft Research and the IDG CIO Technology Pioneer Award.

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