Computer Science in the DPRK

A view into technology on the other side of the world

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This talk will reflect on teaching Computer Science in Pyongyang over the last two years, and look at how technology has been integrated into civilian life in the DPRK. Remaining an extremely isolated country, many people would be surprised to hear that cellphones have become commonplace within the capitol, let alone that the country invests in custom hardware and software. I'll talk through the current state of desktop and mobile technology in pyongyang, and what's changing.

From redstar OS, a custom redhat-derived linux desktop and server environment, to the arirang cellphone and tablet, technology in the DPRK is different from what you are likely to see anywhere else in the world. Most systems are not widely available, and exist as much in rumor as reality. Partially from language barrier, and partially due to restrictive import, export, and communication policies, there are large gaps and large amounts of misinformation around most aspects of the country.

I've spent the last two falls teaching Computer Science, specifically Operating Systems and Databases, to undergraduates at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. In the course of life in Pyongyang, I've been able to observe the growing prevalence of mobile technology, and get a firsthand look at the state of consumer technology in the country.

In this talk I'll provide a demonstration of redstar 3.0, the current generation of the desktop operating system, and offer the caveat that it is seldom used in practice. I will also bring a samjiyong android tablet, to demonstrate the state of mobile technology. I'll focus the talk on discussing what international technology is and isn't applicable to the country, and the opportunities going forwards.

Talk ID
Saal 2
9:15 p.m.
Ethics, Society & Politics
Type of
Will Scott
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