Professor Emeritus of Telecommunication Systems at KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Although I’m extremely focused on my research, I also think it’s essential to be able to see past it. I want to see the connections, and I want my work to be useful. To do that, you have to have a perspective that goes beyond the lab.”
Professor Emeritus of Telecommunication Systems at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Björn Pehrson is a researcher with a broad perspective ― encompassing both Sweden and the global community. Regardless of the project he’s working on, there is a demonstrated relevancy to the world outside of academia. His attraction to what lies beyond the doors of academia surpasses that of most researchers; so the path from research to practical application is always a short one.
Fiber Hunt in Africa
IT-development in Africa looms large on Pehrson’s horizon. He knew little about the continent when he began advising an African doctoral student some years ago. But everything changed after Pehrson’s first trip to Mozambique, in 2002.
“We found a fiber there!” Pehrson exclaims with enthusiasm. “It fed into a power line and was used by the power company ― several 10 Gbit/s fiber, of which the power company was using only a very small fraction!” Pehrson’s excitement over the discovery becomes clear when put into perspective: all of Mozambique had a capacity equivalent to only 1 Mbps, half of which the university used at the price 15,000 USD/Mbps/month!
Since, Björn Pehrson has been searching for fiber options in all 54 African countries with support from EU, IDRC and Sida. These efforts supprted the formation of organizations establishing regional backbones in Eastern-Southern Africa (Ubuntunet Alliance) and West and Central Afeica (WACREN) connecting the national universities networks, as they emerge, to each other and to the global research and education network via GÉANT, the European backbone.
Pehrson is all about making it cross-disciplinary. He would like to see a convergence between the university’s three-pronged missions: research, education, and community outreach. This is the logic at play in the course Communication Systems Design, where teams of students from universities and different programs around the world enroll to work together to solve real world problems. This cooperation eventually led KTH to initiate he formation of Technology Transfer Alliance of universities that provide opportunities for their students to problem-oriented, project-driven learning for academic credit in projects that make a difference.
Click on the links below to read more about Björn Pehrsons work in Africa and elsewhere.
Björn Pehrson – An Entreprenurial Researcher
Students share IT learning model with African universities
Next Crosstalks February 19, 6:00 PM CET