In Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) we sought to link our students with research focused on science and technology. An area of research that has greatly impacted the development of the country is Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) that has emerged from the Center for Studies in Applied Informatics (CEIA).
The CEIA’s, one of the eleven centers of the UVG Research Institute, main objective is to encourage the application of methodologies and ICT to develop sustainable solutions that increase the competitiveness of Guatemala and the region. The principles on which the center is based are:
- Research of appropriate solutions for the national reality, taking advantage of low-cost resources, including open source software.
- Scientific verification of the proposed solutions.
- Use of methodologies for technology transfer and implementation of the proposed solutions.
- Relationship with industry and government to integrate efforts into national development agendas.
Currently the following lines of research are:
- Educational informatics
- Modeling and simulation
- Data Sciences (Big Data)
- Next generation networks
The CASE and the first Internet connection
In the early 1990s personal computers were not yet common in Guatemala, so collecting and compiling statistics manually was a laborious task. This is how the Center for Systems Analysis and Statistics (CASE in Spanish) was born, with the objective of supporting other research centers in systems and statistical analysis.
One of the first CASE projects was the interconnection of Guatemala to the large research networks that already existed in other countries; this is how in 1991 the UVG was the first institution in Guatemala to connect to the Internet.
As the number of users grew, the needs also grew, and one of them was to have their own domain name for emails. Luis Furlán says: “We were looking for the uvg.edu domain for Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, but Dr. Jon Postel replied that we were the first in Guatemala to be connected and he proposed to the university that it administer the .gt domain names.”
What started in 1992 with an excel file, with half a dozen registered domain names, is now a unit that economically drives the CEIA and other centers of the research institute.
Quickly all the research centers began to have their personal computers to be able to keep their calculations and statistics, so the main objective of CASE no longer made sense. So its objective changed, and it is the one that is still preserved, focusing on how to use new technologies, mainly low cost, for the solution of problems of all kinds.
Guatemalan Advanced Network for Research and Education
The Guatemalan Advanced Network for Research and Education (RAGIE in Spanish) is another project that grew out of the CEIA. It became a nonprofit civil association constituted by universities, research institutes and other Guatemalan institutions dedicated to research and education, which develops projects to achieve its goals through networks and the exploitation of telecommunications.
Using advanced networks, academics and researchers can collaborate with their peers across different countries and continents, regardless of distances or borders.
ICTs continue to evolve
The CEIA is currently working on the creation of a data center. Furlán says that several data analysis projects have already been carried out but the Data Center has not yet been formalized. It is expected that this center will later offer services to UVG users, as well as externally, as the demand for data science and analysis continues to grow.
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