Microsoft Virtual Research Center Unites Latin American Scientists

Latin American doesn't want to be left behind by India and China.

Microsoft announced on May 9 the creation of a Latin American virtual research foundation dedicated to unifying the region's scientists on potentially world-changing projects. Microsoft said the Latin American Collaborative Research Federation will enable scientists separated by borders or languages in Latin America and the Caribbean to work together to solve pressing problems.

"Latin America is home to some of the finest minds in technology and science today," Microsoft chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie said at an academic summit in the Chilean city of Vina del Mar about 100 kilometers from Santiago. "New approaches in information and communication technologies can have great impact in a wide range of areas that are crucial to the region, including education, healthcare, agribusiness, micro-economies, energy and the environment."

Microsoft is providing nearly a million dollars in funding for the federation, which is a "virtual institute" administered by Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and the Universidad de Chile. The universities will form a "hub" connecting via Internet technology with academic institutions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, according to Microsoft director of external research and programs Sailesh Chutani.

"In Latin America they are really concerned about being left behind by India and China, and see the payoff of investment in research and development and education in those countries," said Sailesh Chutani, Microsoft director of external research and programs.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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