Kentaro Toyama

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Kentaro Toyama is a computer scientist and development studies researcher, who works on the relationship of technology and international development. He is a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information.[1]

Toyama was founding assistant director of Microsoft Research India, a Bangalore-based computer science laboratory, where he established the Technology for Emerging Markets group which conducts interdisciplinary research in the field of "information and communication technologies for development" (ICT4D).[2][3][4] Together with AnnaLee Saxenian and Raj Reddy, he co-founded the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, a global platform for rigorous, academic, interdisciplinary research in ICT4D.[5]

In 2002, he taught calculus at Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana.[6]


Toyama received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Yale University, and an A.B. in Physics from Harvard University.[4]

Academic Research[edit]

Toyama's research spans several disparate areas, including ICT4D, development studies, computer vision, human-computer interaction, geographic information systems, and multimedia.[1][2][3][7] He is best known for his research in ICT4D, which includes technology projects such as MultiPoint,[8][9] Text-Free User Interfaces,[2] Warana Unwired,[2] and Digital_Green,[9] as well as observational studies of rural telecenters,[10][11] mobile phones in developing countries,[12] and the limits of technology for international development.[13]

He is an outspoken critic of the "technological utopianism" that he sees in initiatives such as One Laptop Per Child, and argues that technology only magnifies existing human intent and capacity.[1][13] A two-part essay making this point appears in a Boston Review forum.[14][15]

Toyama's research in computer vision involves automated tracking of objects in video. A paper he co-authored with Andrew Blake was awarded the Marr Prize at the 2001 International Conference on Computer Vision.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b c Stross, Randall. (2010) "Two billion laptops? It may not be enough". The New York Times. Apr. 17, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Bahree, Megha. (2008) "Computing at the Bottom of the Pyramid". Forbes Magazine. Sept. 29, 2008.
  3. ^ a b Radjou, Navi. (2009) "Microsoft reinvents its global R&D model". Harvard Business Review Blogs. June 25, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Microsoft Research. (n.d.) "Kentaro Toyama". Retrieved Oct. 15, 2010.
  5. ^ Microsoft News Center. (2009) "Research & (Economic) Development". Apr. 17, 2009.
  6. ^ Ashesi University. (n.d.) "Visiting Faculty". Retrieved Oct. 15, 2010.
  7. ^ O'Connell, Pamela Licalzi. (2003) "Online Diary: Location Shot". The New York Times. Oct. 23, 2003.
  8. ^ Roush, Wade. (2006) "Microsoft in India". Technology Review. June 1, 2006.
  9. ^ a b Vance, Ashlee. (2008) "Microsoft goes far afield to study emerging markets". The New York Times. Oct. 26, 2008.
  10. ^ Toyama, Kentaro and Ken Keniston. (2008) "Telecenter Debates". In Telecentre Magazine. March, 2008.
  11. ^ Kuriyan, R., Ray, I., and Toyama, K. (2008) "Information and Communication Technologies for Development: The Bottom of the Pyramid Model in Practice". The Information Society 24(2):93-104. Mar. 2008.
  12. ^ Smyth, T. N., Kumar, S., Medhi, I., and Toyama, K. (2010) "Where there's a will there's a way: mobile media sharing in urban india". In Proceedings of the 28th international Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI '10. ACM, New York, NY, 753-762.
  13. ^ a b Toyama, Kentaro. (2010) "The Myth of Scale". TEDxTokyo. May 15, 2010.
  14. ^ Toyama, Kentaro. (2010) "Can Technology End Poverty". Boston Review, Nov/Dec 2010.
  15. ^ Toyama, Kentaro. (2010) "Response". Boston Review, Nov/Dec 2010.
  16. ^ IEEE Computer Society. (n.d.) "CVPR and ICCV Best Paper Awards". Retrieved Oct. 15, 2010.
  17. ^ Marr Prize. (n.d.) In Wikipedia. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2010, from

External links[edit]