The General Coordinator of Information and Communications Technologies of the University of Buenos Aires, Ernesto Chinkes, is, for the third time, the president of the Program Committee of the TICAL Conference, which will reach its fifth edition between 6 and 8 of July, in Viña del Mar, Chile. With this interview, we continue our series "Five Questions to" in which we will discover the importance given to the Conference by those who were its main characters in recent years.
Hello, Ernesto! Tell us a little about yourself and about your professional background.
Hello! I am Ernesto Chinkes, licensed in Information Systems of the Organizations at the University of Buenos Aires. Currently, in this career, I am an associate professor in charge of two cathedra (Data System and Business Intelligence), I’ve been continuously exerting university teaching for the last 20 years. In this context, I also worked in research and published three books. Professionally, for more than 25 years I've been working in Consulting and in Direction of Projects and of IT areas. In 2000 I had the opportunity to start driving ICT projects within the University of Buenos Aires and in 2009 it was created the General Coordination of Information and Communications Technology, for which I’m responsible until today.
What was your first contact with the advanced networks and how do you evaluate its development since then?
It was in 2002 that I first heard about these networks, but I got to know them better only in 2010, when I started to have direct contact with InnovaRed (the administrator of the Argentine Advanced Network) to evaluate the bandwidth that my university needed to hire. In the next year I participated in TICAL2011 and it was there that I really approached the network at the regional level and I took note of the progress in its development. From that moment, my impression is that the Argentine network is growing significantly, not only by the increase in bandwidth and in scope, but also because of the different strategies that encourage its use. It is currently a network with a great potential and we must have the intelligence to use it and strengthen the academic and research strategies. The advanced networks can offer to the various parts of the university community (researchers, teachers, students, etc. ) collaborative possibilities without geographical boundaries, besides the sharing and the exploitation of large volumes of data, access to tools and other opportunities that enhance the possibilities and capabilities that already exist in the institutions.
In this context, what is the importance of TICAL for the development of the networks and of the professionals in the field of ICT?
The Conference generated and occupied a space that, in my opinion, plays an extremely significant role to realize the full potential that the networks have to offer to the academic and scientific world. In this context, we, who are responsible for the ICT in higher education institutions in the region, have the opportunity to know which experiences are being carried out by other universities in this field, and, therefore, also in relation to the advanced networks. TICAL also allows us to relate to our partners, enabling joint projects, as well as establishing contact networks that are a substantial support to work on many of these initiatives.
You are part of the Program Committee for the fourth time and, for the third time, its president. Your participation in TICAL is very active and relevant. What lessons did you get in the different experiences?
When I hear this question it comes to my mind a multitude of lived moments that contributed to my professional and personal growth. That is why this question is not only working on my memory but also in a set of sensations inside me. TICAL is an unforgettable moment and I was fortunate to participate in its growth and evolution. However, I could say that all editions had to me the same common denominator: after TICAL, the professional that returned to Argentina was a different one. Someone with more ideas and projects, someone who felt part of a community with common problems and challenges, someone who grew up after sharing different cultures and realities, someone motivated and enthusiastic ... well, someone better.
Having participated in the four previous editions allows me to have, today, a lot of friends and colleagues distributed in the different institutions in Latin America. People with whom I know I can count. On the other hand, I also own a "reservoir" of experiences and projects which can use when needed.
Personally and professionally, what are your expectations for TICAL2015? And why the Argentines should participate?
My expectations are very high! TICAL has the virtue of evolving year after year and that is why I am convinced that the 2015 edition, in Viña del Mar, will exceed the previous edition. I know this means reaching a very high standard, but TICAL is a collective construction that has been consolidated and now has a whole community committed in supporting the initiative, where all those who will add themselves in the future will contribute to empower it even more. So far, I hope we receive a large number of papers for the three open calls, that ends in April. This year we have also incorporated a new call to promote collaborative projects between institutions. In TICAL, the main actors are the participants and that is why these papers are the main fuel for the success of the event. I also expect a large number of participants for what it can bring in relation to the representation of countries and professional wealth. Finally, I hope that once again we have the support of industry-leading companies and that we maintain the high level of lectures given by guest speakers.