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By Jacky Achan


Cassava disease diagnosis is to improve in Uganda with the development of the Mobile Crop Surveillance project (mCROPS) disease recognition app (named the Whitefly app) which is in its final stages at Makerere University, College of Computing and Information Sciences under the Artificial Intelligence Lab.

Solomon Nsumba Software Developer mCROPS says the app aims to diagnose viral crop diseases in cassava crops.

“The whitefly app has already been tested by researchers at National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI) and is set to boost cassava production,” he says.

Cassava originated from tropical America and was first introduced into Africa in the Congo basin by the Portuguese around 1558. Today, it is a dietary staple in much of tropical Africa including Uganda.

It is rich in carbohydrates making it the world's third largest source of carbohydrates, has calcium, vitamins B and C, and essential minerals.

But there are challenges in cassava farming as a result of pests and disease attacks.

According to agricultural experts the capacity for diagnosing cassava diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa has been held back by hurdles that include poor infrastructure, a lack of trained personnel and networking among Africa's few leading virologists.

Currently NaCRRI has to get professionals to go out to the farms, diagnose cassava disease and count white flies which takes so much time whereas the personnel is also not enough.

Anna Neuman an Undergraduate Student of Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Boston Campus, USA who joined the team to contribute towards the app development explains farmers may have diseased crops but may not know what is wrong with them, which demands that they call up an expert to diagnose the crop.



“This could take even a week and by that time help comes the crops are already dead,” she says.


Neuman says with the Whitefly app cassava farmers can just take a picture of the Cassava leaves using the mobile phone camera and diagnosis.

“It just takes like a minute and you already know the disease and treatment options and you get to save the crop before the disease spreads to other crops saving time and money,”

She adds: “the Whitefly app will bring cost effectiveness in cassava production.”

According to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, out of over 228 million tons of cassava produced worldwide in 2007, Africa accounted for 52 per cent.

In Sub-Saharan Africa the crop is mainly grown for food by small-scale farmers who sell the surplus.

Neuman says the Whitefly app development championed by the Mobile Crop Surveillance project (mCROPS) of the will help researchers and farmers vastly improve cassava production.

This as the overall goal of the project is to improve the livelihoods of small-holder cassava farmers by enhancing crop yield through the application of the smart-phone enabled field based diagnosis of plant diseases using the Whitefly app.


Monday, 07 September 2015 13:27



By Prossy Tulinomubezi


A group of PhD researchers at Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences are inventing a traffic congestion monitoring app for developing cities which is cheaper compared to the prevailing technology and can help users to always predict their traffic time.

Rose Nakibuule, a lecturer at CoCIS carrying out research on traffic flow monitoring says they were motivated by traffic congestion in Uganda that makes people spend most of their time in jam instead of doing other productive work.

“Due to the chaotic traffic congestion in Uganda, we were motivated to do more research on how it can be managed from which we came up with an image based monitoring prototype that can operate in cities like Kampala, and it is a hundred (100) times cheaper than the existing technology,” Nakibuule said.

She adds that the available monitoring systems are so expensive yet they only focus on vehicles yet they are not the only causes of traffic thus want to come up with a system that can handle that kind of situation in the developing world.

“Traffic is caused by moving vehicles, animals and moving individuals yet the conventional systems available look at only vehicles. In the same way, the cost of the available monitoring systems which use high resolution cameras is very high since a single camera can cost over 1000 dollars,”

With the event of android phones which use solar energy and a dedicated server, Nakibuule believes traffic congestion will be solved.

“We are going to come up with a potable system which we can upload anywhere on a road where it can be in position to capture images on the road using a phone as a capturing device and send them to the server for processing,” Nakibuule adds.

Computer vision techniques will be used to take a sequence of images which will be used to calculate traffic flow speeds through manual calibration. “Vision algorithms can be used to distinguish between the motion of vehicles and non-vehicles. This will help determine the average speed in kilometers per hour (km/hr),” Nakibuule said.

“Cameras will be calibrated where we mark a rectangular region on the ground with a known length and width, capture it in I form of an image and discover the number of pixels the region is covering using the image which will help us to estimate the number of kilometers each image covers on the ground,” Nakibuule explained.

She says automatic calibration can also be done on an empty ground in case of roads which have clearly marked lanes.

If the system completed and working properly, the user will just need to see a map because all the areas with cameras will be marked on the map and the speed of vehicles that particular area can be identified.

Nakibuule emphasizes that the application will help in formulation of traffic plan of all cities thus coming up with a dynamic way of managing traffic.

“After collecting traffic speed for a long time on each of the marked roads, a congestion map can be done on the road to enable users know which road is congested at a particular time of the day and then come up with a dynamic way of managing traffic such that traffic rights in one road release people depending on the amount of vehicles on the other road,” Nakibuule asserts.

The project is funded by the College of Computing and Information Sciences and the team behind it includes Rose Nakibuule, Joseph Ssennyange, Innocent Komorubuga and John Quinn.

PhD Summer School

Monday, 07 September 2015 13:26

Regional Course for PhD Students on Engaged Research Methods and Philosophy of Science
August 10 – 14, 2015


  • Prof. dr. Henk G. Sol , University of Groningen


  • Dr. Mercy Amiyo, Makerere University
  • Dr. Raphael Aregu 
  • Dr. Annabela Ejiri Habinka, Mbarara University of Science and Technology
  • Prof. dr. Jude Lubega, Uganda Management and Technology University
  • Dr. Paul Ssemaluluu, Makerere University


Dr. Gilbert Maiga,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DEAN, School of Computing and Informatics Technology, Makerere University


Drake Patrick Mirembe,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Lecturer, School of Computing and Informatics Technology, Makerere University
Edina Kyobutungi,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Makerere University, College of Computing and Information Science, Conference Room, Level 4, CIT Block A.

Course background and motivation

Graduate training in the East Africa region faces a number of challenges including; poor facilities and few PhD holders to support the growing demand for graduate training. Thus, the region has a low research output in high impact forums.  It is such observations that have motivated senior professors from universities in Europe and America to support research activities in the region. One of those professors is Prof. dr. Henk G. Sol of the University of Groningen, a world renowned scholar of information systems research. Professor Henk has supervised over 800 masters’ students, promoted 78 PhDs and currently has over 20 PhD students near completion at the University of Groningen under his PhD school of engaged scholars.

Course format

The 5 days course will enable PhD students to become more effective, efficient, and confident researchers. This is a hands-on course that emphasizes interactive examples and practice. In the first half of the course, foundation concepts of engaged research and design science will be discussed and principles of effective storytelling explained. The second half of the course focuses on issues specific to scientific writing, including: authorship, peer review, manuscript formatting, and communicating for lay audiences. This phase involve personalised individual feedback to participants from the programme facilitators and a panel of PhD supervisors.  

Who should attend?

The primary target audience are registered PhD students in both science and humanities at various levels of their research. Maximal number of participants is 30. 


  • Generally the course will cover the following areas
  • Research approaches and methodologies
  • Research philosophies
  • Developing your own research story
  • Organization; and streamlining the writing process (story line, cutting unnecessary clutter and language management)
  • The format of an original manuscript (different standards and practices for proposals, thesis etc.)
  • Issues in scientific writing (plagiarism, authorship, ghost writing, reproducible research)
  • How to communicate with the lay public


Click here to register

Saturday August 8 2015 13.15 Prof. Henk Arrival with KQ 412.  Pick up by Drake and check in Protea Hotel
    Dinner  with Prof. Jude Lubega
Sunday  August 9 2015
(Interactions with students at Protea)
09:30 - 10:30 Robert Tweheyo
  10.30 - 11.30 Emmanuel Mugenjera
  11.30 - 12.30 Hasifah Namatovu
  13.30 - 14.30 Pros Katumba
  14.30 - 15.30 Mary Komunte
  15.30 - 16.30 Rebecca Pearl Tumwebaze
  16.30 - 17.30 To be filled in
Monday August 10 2015 08:00 - 08:30 Registration
  08:30 - 09:00 Opening ceremony (Remarks from Research coordinator, Dean & Principal CoCIS)
  09:00 - 10:30 Design science and engaged research. Prof Henk
  11.00 - 11.45 Design science research. Hasifah Namatovu
  11:45 - 12:30 Engaged research and abductive reasoning. Robert Tweheyo
  12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
  14.00 - 15.00 Annabella Ejiri Habinka's story
  15.00 - 16.00 Raphael Aregu's story
  16.00 - 16.30 PhD student -Jackson B
  16.30 - 17.30 Meeting with PhD supervisors
  18:00   pm Meeting at Hotel with some Partners (Kyombogo, Gulu, MUST,etc )
Tuesday august 11 2015 09.00 - 10.00 Mercy Amiyo's story
  10.00 - 11.00 Paul Ssemaluulu story
  11:30 - 12:30 PhD Student- Thinus Bakker
  12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
  14.00 - 15.00 PhD student slot – Pros Katumba
  15.00 - 16.00 PhD student slot
  16.00 - 17.00 PhD Student slot- Emmanuel Mugenjera
  17:00 - 18.00 PhD student slot
  18:00 Return to Hotel
  18:30 Dinner with Drake Family
Wednesday August 12 2015 09:00 - 10:00 Drake Mirembes's story
  10.00 - 11:00 Frida's story
  11.30 - 12.30 Phd student slot
  12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
  14.00 – 15.00 PhD student – Pearl
  15.00 – 16.00 PhD student – Mary komunte
  16:00 - 17:00 PhD student slot
  17:30 - 18:30 Dinner with CoCIS Management, Return to Hotel
Thursday, August 13, 2015 08:30 - 12:30 PhD Student Colloquium
  12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
  14.00 – 17.00 PhD Student Colloquium
  17.00 – 18.00 Meeting with students
  18:00 Return to Hotel
  18:30 - 19:30 Free evening
Friday, August 14, 2015 08:30 - 12:30 PhD Student Colloquium
  12:30 - 14:00 Lunch Break
  14:00 - 14:30 PhD student slot for personalized feedback
  14:30 - 15:00 PhD student slot for personalized feedback
  15:00 - 15:30 PhD student slot for personalized feedback
  15:30 - 16:00 PhD student slot for personalized feedback
  16:00 - 16:30 PhD student slot for personalized feedback
  17:00 - 17:30 PhD student slot for personalized feedback
  18:00 Dinner with Prof. Henk PhD School Alumni
Saturday, August 15, 2015 09:00 - 10:30 Emmanuel Mugenjera
  11:00 - 12:30 Hasifah Namatovu
  12:30 - 14:00 Lunch
  14.00 - 15.00 PhD student Slot
  15.00 - 16.00 Pearl Rebecca
  16.00 - 21.00 Depart for Entebbe Airport and Dinner with Rebecca Pearl   
  23.30 Departure KL 562 to AMS 



By Nyerere Geoffrey


The Directorate of Graduate Research and Training (DGRT) Makerere University drew different stakeholders from different Colleges and Schools within the University on Monday to a consultative workshop to discuss the university’s Research Innovations and Communication Strategy (RICS) at the College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT).

Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi said that the out benefit of research should impact on the society, it is therefore important to get a communication strategy to enable pass on the knowledge to the people.




Dr. William Tayeebwa Head of Department Journalism and Communication MAK and RICS Lead Consultant, said that there is need to create a system for generating communication strategies. ‘Any communication activity should be planned thus an implementation framework should be realized’ he added.


The Research and Innovations Communication Strategy and Implementation Framework aims at creating a system for generating, disseminating and raise awareness about research and innovation outputs amongst the University’s key stakeholders and external publics.

The workshop saw Professors, public relations officers, website administrators, lecturers and students come together to come up with a way forward on how best communications can be made better and reach the intended public for action.

RICS responds to the challenges and opportunities of disseminating the vast research and innovation outputs produced by the University community.

It also explores how the University, through the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT), will use the most ideal channel and formats of communication like; Public Forums, Academic Journal Articles and Published Books, Traditional Print and Broadcast Mass Media, Social and New Media Technologies in disseminating the many research outputs and innovations to its internal and external publics.

By: Jacky Achan

Upcoming innovators in the Information Technology (IT) world have been counselled to properly manage changes they introduce into businesses in Uganda and beyond if their innovations are to become successful in different markets.

Hellen Nabusindo Swinnerstone the Chief Executive Officer Trends System East Africa Ltd, based in Kampala Uganda, appealed to ICT students undertaking a Flock of Birds Summer School Training at Makerere University.

“First when you introduce the product the first response from a client is of doubt, then a later a willingness to adopt, learn and put to use,” she says.

Nabusindo says besides introducing the new systems to the client, the innovators must be able to effectively communicate and manage people who are to use their invention.

“The problem is as innovators we tend to train the managers and leave out the actual workers who are going to use the system, yet we know they may not communicate correctly. Therefore it’s upon us to train, follow-up, look for the gaps and coach to ensure the system is well utilized and is a success,” she adds.

Nabusindo explained IT is now driving businesses and rallied the young innovators to equally give long term warranties to their clients to ensure that they fully help them learn how the acquired system works and grow in business.

The students from Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara and Kampala International Universities are undertaking a Mendix software development challenge at Makerere University’s College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS).

The training that takes ten weeks is now in in its sixth week. It is conducted annually so as to empower the students with different skills they can use to engage clients in the entrepreneurship world of technology and this involves software development.

Mendix is a rapid tool for software development that does not use a lot of codes. $10m has been set aside by its parent company Mendix USA and Mansystems Netherlands to improve its applicability on PCs, mobile and tablets.

The training is being supported by Mansystems, Mendix, Smile communications and Makerere University’s CoCIS.

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