Mihoko Sakurai and Jiro Kokuryo (Keio University, Japan); Rick Watson (University of Georgia, USA); and Chon Abraham (College of William and Mary, USA) took the first prize of $5,000 at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Kaleidoscope conference at Kyoto in April. Chon has a PhD in Management Information Systems from Terry.

Their winning paper, “Sustaining life during the early stages of disaster relief with a Frugal Information System: Learning from the Great East Japan Earthquake,” advocates for the use of cell phones and the mobile Internet as the standard platform for creating information systems that can be deployed with minimal resources immediately following a disaster. Such a frugal IS is designed to support essential relief work in the first one to two days after a catastrophic event that disrupts computer and communication system, such as the Great East Japan earthquake.

A frugal IS is  “…an information system that is developed and deployed with minimal resources to meet the preeminent goal of the client.” Rick Watson, Niki Kunene (University of Louisville), and Sirajul Islam (Örebo University, Sweden) introduced the concept of a frugal IS in an earlier paper.

The winning paper will feed into the work of the ITU-T Focus Group on Disaster Relief Systems, Network Resilience and Recovery.