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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.



Written by Monday, 07 September 2015 13:27 Published in News Details comment



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

Written by Monday, 07 September 2015 13:26 Published in News Details comment

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.




By Prossy Tulinomubezi


The College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) in collaboration with the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) and the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) with other stakeholders from government and private sector have laid strategies for coming up with a winning proposal to be in position to receive funds from the World Bank Africa Center of Excellence (ACE) initiative.

This has been arrived at in the stakeholder’s consultative meeting for the Africa Center of Excellence in Information Technology and Engineering studies (ACE-ITES) held Tuesday July 14, 2015 at CoCIS.

Dr. Solange Uwituze , a representative of RUFORUM said funds will help in producing innovative and relevant graduates on the job market since they will cater for advanced specialized studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Given priority in areas of Science, technology, mathematics and engineering by the World Bank ACE initiative, this will not only help financially but also will help to produce quality graduates for the job market and bring about excellency in running of businesses,” Uwituze said

Dr Julianne Sansa-Otim said it will be achieved by creating open educational resources to empower several stakeholders to carry out relevant research within the region in areas of infrastructures that can improve the quality of education offered in universities.

“We need to put in place innovative e-Services, affordable communications infrastructures, energy systems to power the infrastructures which will contribute to improved education quality and poverty reduction, in e-Learning environment” Sansa said.

She adds that the initiative also tends to cater for 46.8% people in sub-Saharan Africa who leave below the poverty line.

Assoc. Prof. Constant Okello Obara, the principal CoCIS Asserts that working in a team, they will be in position to cater for the major areas in the project.

“Since we decided to take a lead after consultation with our partner RUFORUM, with a hand from the CEDAT and CEES, the aims of the project will be achieved,” Obura said.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the principal CEDAT said that with a winning team, a clear proposal with a clear mission will be written which will win the project support.

“We should form a winning team, make a clear proposal with a mission which puts into account National priorities such s the vision and the National Development Plan thus contributing to the development of the nation at large,” Alinaitwe said.

Uwituze also advised the stakeholders to have the ability to develop both their internal and external partnerships.

“Focus needs to be put in areas of partnerships which must be based on trust, transparency and time along with staff capacity, learning paradigm and learning environment,” Uwituze said.

Dr. Gilbert Maiga, the dean School of Computing and Informatics Technologh (SCIT), said the way forward for the project is to re-constitute the team, get additional objectives and form a timeline which will direct the team on what to do at a particular time until the final proposal will be drafted.

Partners in the project include; RUFORUM, UCC, NITA-U, Internet Society of Uganda, Uganda Institute of Professional Engineers, UMEME, MTN, Huawei, MUNI University, U.M.I, Hive Colab, Outbox, Vodafone and Ericson among others.

The World Bank launched the Center of Excellence project at the 13th Association of African Universities Conference of Rectors, Vice-chancellors and Presidents of African Universities (COREVIP), which was held in Gabon’s capital Libreville with an aim of promoting regional specialization among participating universities and strengthen their ability to deliver quality training and research.


Libraries should be equipped with Web 2.0

Written by Monday, 07 September 2015 13:22 Published in News Details comment



By Nyerere Geoffrey


Ugandan Libraries should be equipped with web 2.0 to improve service delivery and accessibility to users, Mr Maxwell Omwenga has said

Mr. Omwenga, the head Corporate Relations Office, website designer and administrator at the College of Computing and Information Sciences was speaking at the MIT workshop held at the College of Computing and Information Sciences

Mr. Omwenga said that, Web 2.0 has an array of dynamically generated Websites that allow information sharing between users which make it easy for users to access information easily from one another.

“Web 2.0 sites function as applications, or programs, that can be updated from any computer and therefore, since the sites have built-in editing functions (WYSIWYG) it is easy for users to contribute to the content of sites,” Omwenga said.

In his presentation, he says web 2.0 has a variety of tools that can help library users in communication and social networking.

“Web 2.0 can be applied for social networking sites that allow for, email, instant messaging, video- and photo- sharing and comment posting, and all these tools help library users to communicate and socialize with each other and staff,” he added.

Web 2.0 has key features such as instant messaging; streaming media, News Feeds and tagging that make it more preferable in library use.

The MIT workshop is a program where masters students from different selected universities in Africa undertaking library studies come together in a bid to improve their skills in library management.


By: Jacky Achan

Kampala continues to gain the attention of academic researchers as a top African city rolling out more PHD graduates in the field of Computer Science than any other city in Africa outside of South Africa.

Professor Gregg Pascal Zachary of Arizona State University recently visited Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) to conduct a study on this development.

“I have had a long interest in studying the emergence of computer science as an academic discipline in research area in African cities” he said.

“Kampala is the leading cluster for computer science in the sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa and is home to more PHDs in Computer Science than any other city in Africa also outside of South Africa,” Zachary added.

He met with the Dean for the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (CIT) Dr. Gilbert Maiga at the College.

Prof. Zachary says 20-35 PHD graduates emerge in Computer Science that Makerere University and other Universities within Kampala graduates.

He says the PHD graduates in the field of Computer Science in Kampala are emerging as a powerful force that can help develop society and the country.

Prof. Zachary says his research focus is on how to sustain the PHD community to become progressive but it is still a work in progress.

Below: Professor Gregg Pascal Zachary of Arizona State University with the Dean for the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (CIT) Dr. Gilbert Maiga at Makerere University





By Nyerere Geoffrey


Scientists have been urged to collaborate with Policy makers to come up with policies that can help advance on weather information

Speaking at WIMEA-ICT workshop held at College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)Makerere UnivsersityThursday June 25, 2015  Dr. Freddie Ssengooba, Associate Professor from the College of Health Sciences, Makerere University said that it is very vital for scientists already in the field to provide weather information to policy makers to enable them come up with policies intended to improve weather information and circulation in the country.

‘It is essential for the scientists to break down complex issues into essential facts that can be easily understood by the policy makers in formulating their policies,’ he said

Ms. Milly Nattimba asserted that researchers should evaluate alternative action for course in matters of policy making especially in providing weather information to people and provide recommendations for action.

‘Collecting data and never sending it to the public makes weather information useless, automatic weather stations can be attained quickly in areas where there is limited skilled labor for people to easily obtain weather information’ she added.

Nattimba added that there should be a public information strategy developed to guide the public on matters of weather information so that they can get weather information in the cheapest and best way possible.

The media has also been called upon to provide a platform for weather information to be carried and spread to the people





By: Jacky Achan & Prossy Tulinomubezi

Over 20 Librarians from select countries across Africa undertaking a Masters in Information Technology (MIT) have completed a two weeks research study at Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS).

Assoc. Prof. Constant Okello- Obura, the College Principal says the study is as result of a collaboration between Makerere University East African School of Library and Information Science (EASLIS), University of Pretoria and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee under the Master of Information Technology (MIT) Carnegie-supported programme.

“This training has boosted the knowledge base of the students who had to interact with professors from Makerere University and their supervisors from the University of Pretoria. We value and will continue the collaboration,” he said.

The MIT programme designed to expose students to the latest technologies applied in teaching, research and information management is run online with scheduled sessions for face-to-face lectures at the University of Pretoria, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (USA) University of Illinois and EASLIS.

Professor in Information science and Head of Department at the University of Pretoria in South Africa Theo Bothma says research and presentations made by the students during the trip to Makerere University is both academically and socially worthwhile in terms of networking.



Dr Marlene Holmner a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Information Science at University of Pretoria South Africa and MIT as well as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) course Coordinator says they currently have five intakes with one intake to go. “We have guided them on how to go about their research, the methodology and data collection tools to enable them finalize their dissertation,” she said.


Students were drawn from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and Uganda.

The MIT Masters aims to build capacity within sub-Saharan African countries to empower the next generation of library and information professionals with knowledge and skills to apply modern information communication and technology (ICT), in order to support academics and research in Africa


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