Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vivek Kundra: Applying Information Technology to Government

Vivek Kundra became the Chief Information Officer for Washington, DC earlier this year. He replaced the city's antiquated tech system with a new one that provides information for the city's mayor in real time. This will allow those who run the US capital to more efficiently track how money is spent.

Vivek Kundra was an instrumental member and leader of Obama administration's tech team that set up, which provides information on how stimulus money is being and has been spent. He has also been tasked with numerous information technology projects in the District of Columbia, from middle schools to ensuring that the District of Columbia's various agencies provide information on police response times, crime rates, health care, and other data.

His unique upbringing has made Vivek Kundra very aware of the value of money. Born in India and growing up in Tanzania, he saw the poverty endemic in Third World countries, and perhaps because of this he is more able to find solutions that are economical. He has urged the US federal government to move away from costly solutions that include heavy investment in infrastructure and instead look to less costly ways in which to store data, including outsourcing to private IT providers, consolidating servers, virtualization, cloud computing, and shared services. In any case, it is good to know that there are some government employees like Vivek Kundra that are working hard to save American taxpayers money.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Stevanovich Center for Financial Mathematics

The University of Chicago is one of the most prestigious universities in the midwestern United States, so it comes as no surprise that a man like Steve G. Stevanovich would allow his name to be put on to an educational center like the Stevanovich Center for Financial Mathematics. Steve G. Stevanovich donated $7 million to the University of Chicago to make this center possible. His reasons for doing so can be told best in his own words:
"World financial markets are becoming more and more complex and mathematics is increasingly becoming an invaluable and necessary tool in understanding these markets. The financial mathematics program at the University of Chicago is at the forefront of providing students the necessary tools to filter and decode this complexity. It is an honor for me to be a part of this endeavor and to continue the legacy of excellence at the University of Chicago."

Steve G. Stevanovich received his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago and went on to found an asset management firm that has offices in North America, Asia, and Europe. The Stevanovich Center for Financial Mathematics brings together financial professionals and mathematical scholars in order to help solve the problems facing the financial industry. Looking at what has happened in the past few years to this industry, this is indeed the time for the Stevanovich Center for Financial Mathematics to make its mark on the world.

Sak Narwal Can Now Play the Blues

Harmonicas are a big part of American folk music, and Sak Narwal has developed an affinity for this instrument, known also as a blues harp, french harp, mouth harp, and mouth organ. Sak Narwal discovered the harmonica while on a business trip to Trossingen, Germany, where Hohner harmonicas are made. While attending a harmonica competition there, he decided to learn how to play it.

As a successful entrepreneur, Sak Narwal worked hard to become successful, and he also put this same spirit into learning the mouth organ. Considering all his successful business endeavors, one would not think he would be able to master an instrument that has been linked so essentially to the blues. Yet, as with his business endeavors, he was able to play songs within a week of taking lessons. That in itself is an accomplishment of note!