Kurtis Heimerl

Assistant Professor of Computer Science
University of Washington
Kurtis Heimerl is an assistant professor of Computer Science at the University of Washington working on Information and Communication Technology and International Development (ICTD), specifically universal Internet access. Before that, he received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, working under Professors Eric Brewer and Tapan Parikh. Kurtis cofounded Endaga, which joined Facebook in 2015. Kurtis has also published widely, including top conferences such as ICTD, CHI, and NSDI. He was a recipient of the 2014 MIT “35 under 35” award, the 2018 UW early career Diamond Award, and has won paper awards at CHI, CSCW, ASSETS, NSDI, and DySPAN.
By ITU estimates, Internet connectivity has reached 51% of the world's population, bringing information access to a large percentage of people around the world. Yet despite this rapid diffusion, the expansion of Internet connectivity has slowed in recent years as relatively easier
to serve markets and populations saturate. Community networking, the act of deploying, operating, and maintaining networks by and for community members themselves, offers a promising approach to bringing sustainable connectivity. Community network (CN) operators take advantage of local knowledge, social connections, and existing community resources to provide Internet connectivity with substantially lower capital and operational costs, and higher personal engagement, than traditional operators. In this talk, we describe our own history of and learnings in co-creating community networks in Indonesia and the Philippines, specifically focused on our efforts to make those networks financially and organizationally sustainable, as well as our ongoing efforts in our home of Puget Sound and the Canadian Arctic.