Community Projects Highlight Need for Security Volunteers

Community Projects Highlight Need for Security Volunteers
From university courses to open source self-starters, community software projects aim to solve problems for populations in need. A focus on security is required as well.
Image: sebra via Adobe Stock

In 2008, the Georgia Institute of Technology kicked off a course to give computer science students experience in creating applications and software for communities that might not otherwise have the resources to purchase technology. 

Known as Computing for Good, the course produced some early successes. The Vein-to-Vein project created — in collaboration with Center for Disease Control (CDC) — an open source blood safety management system for clinics in Africa that could electronically track information related to specific blood samples. Similarly, the Basic Laboratory Information System (BLIS) project worked with the CDC and several nations' ministries of health to create a system to help medical and hospital laboratories manage tests and specimens.

Other projects have included creating a system that helps manage workflow in schools for students with disabilities, and a system that analyzes images to look for illegal mining operations. 

A decade later, many of these systems are still in use in some form — a testament to the power of volunteering coding skills for community projects, says Santosh Vempala, the Frederick G. Storey chair in computing and a pro ..