Bill Tucker Biography
My name is William D. Tucker. Most people call me Bill. I am an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Western Cape (UWC) in South Africa. My research group is called BANG: Bridging Application and Network Gaps. We do social innovation and social enterprise with and amplified by information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D). BANG mostly concerns two long-running community-based initiatives in partnership with local NGOs and informal governance structures. Both projects address alternative and inexpensive forms of information and communication in predominantly local languages: a mobile assistive technology project with and for poor Deaf people in the Western Cape with a focus on health priorities in South African Sign Language video, and a rural solar-powered wireless community network project with and for communities in the remote Eastern Cape with a focus on voice and data services and interfaces in isiXhosa.
BANG's research efforts have attracted both international and national attention. In 2017 we were a semi-finalist in Mozilla Foundation's Equal Rating Challenge, and we won Best Innovation with Social Impact from the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST). Our current research funders include: South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF), Telkom SA, Aria Technologies SA, Internet Society (ISOC), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), AFRINIC FIRE, and DST TIA (Technology Innovation Agency) Seed fund. Previous funders include: Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Cisco SA, Siemens SA, Canada's IDRC, the Dutch government's SANPAD initiative and the European Commission’s FP7.
I have a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Sociology and Business Administration, and a minor in Computer Science, from Trinity University in Texas (1988), a Master's in Computer Science from Arizona State University (1995), and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Cape Town (2009). Before moving to Cape Town in 1997, I spent six years as a programmer and systems administrator in a start-up called UniKix Technologies in the original dot com boom. Based at UWC since 1998, I have worked my way up from Technical Assistant to Lecturer to Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor in 2012. In 2013, I chaired the 4th ACM Annual Symposium on Computing for Development (DEV) and also helped co-chair ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development). I was the Africa chair for PPDD (Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide) in 2017. I am an Associate Editor for ITID (Information Technologies and International Development) since 2014. My research outputs can be found on UWC's Open Access Repository and on Google Scholar.