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Rob Ryan-Silva: How Hardware Learns - The Role of Iteration in the inventive/inn

Event Details

October 17, 2019
4:00 pm-5:15 pm

Agricultural Engineering Building

Room: 114

UMass Amherst Campus

Handicap access available
Free admission
Charlie Schweik

How Hardware Learns: Iteration is central to the process of making almost anything, as design ideas change as they come into contact with reality. Rob Ryan-Silva builds hardware for foreign aid projects around the world, and the contexts in which he iterates his designs often present unexpected feedback. He will talk about a sonar flood early warning device and how its design has evolved based on deployments in various countries.

Rob Ryan-Silva is an international development professional with nearly 25 years of experience using systems approaches to achieve development results. Rob joined DAI in 2002. As Director of the DAI Maker Lab, Rob builds hardware and capacities around building hardware in support of DAI’s projects worldwide. Previously, as Project Director for the five-year, $185 million RESPOND project, Rob worked with government ministries, academia, multilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, and donors in Africa and Southeast Asia to create new opportunities to build the capacity to prevent and respond to outbreaks of emerging infectious disease. He has led DAI’s Governance practice, worked on redevelopment in Iraq and Afghanistan, and managed efforts to contain avian influenza. He attributes his success in these disparate areas to an approach that emphasizes understanding the perspectives and incentives of partners and using that understanding to create space for collaborative work toward common objectives. He has experience working with projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan, Egypt, El Salvador, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, and Pakistan. Prior to joining DAI, Rob managed operations for the Egypt field office of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), and worked for other international development organizations. And he received B.A. in Political Science here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


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