Robert R. Taylor Network, Inc.
Node Network Update
Vol 1 Issue 1
July 2010
In This Newsletter
Node Network Mission
Strategies and Operations
Online Community (
LAIV Network Projects
Node Sites Updates
What people have been saying about our Network
"The staff of Government High School Bafou (Lycee de Bafou), all the students and myself ... really need the dream to come true since it will allow us to enhance our working conditions... we shall consider this project as our window to the world."
"We are with you with hope of creating a better future not just for the students of Lycee de Bafou, but for youths of the world at large"
-Mr. Ngambo Philippe (School principal)
"I feel that the RRTN site at the Hope Valley Experimental School holds great promise to change the life of the students. The introduction of Broadband Internet will only strengthen the difference these computers will make in the life and mental outlook of the students. We may never know how far reaching this contribution will be. [We] thank you on behalf of the school to the RRTN for this immense contribution."
- Ayanna Samuels (MIT alumnus)

Learn about ADIAS
Quick Links...
Join Our Mailing List
We are pleased to present to you the first issue of the LAIV Network Newsletter produced by the Robert R. Taylor Network (RRTN) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  This newsletter is targeted towards every RRTN node site and affiliate. The goal is to periodically update our network node sites and community on the progress of the design and development of our nodal network community.

To jump to a specific section, click on section headers to the left "In This Newsletter"
We are looking for contributions and feedback on the content of this newsletter. Please forward this newsletter to other team members, colleagues and prospective node sites by selecting the "Forward email" link below.  You can also add your friends and colleagues as subscribers by selecting the "Join our Mailing List" button to the left.

We look forward to your feedback,
Loic Assobmo, Christopher Luna, Xola Ntumy and Feng Wu
Node Network Team
Robert R. Taylor Network, Inc.
MIT Center for Educational Computing Initiatives
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 9-355
Cambridge, MA  02139
Node Network Mission
The Robert Robinson Taylor Network (RRTN) is a non-profit 501(C)(3)educational foundation comprised of a global network of partners connecting youth and professionals to a cultural legacy of achievement in architecture, science, technology, engineering, and math (ASTEM). The goal is to create cultural and economic impact through innovation, invention and entrepreneurship. RRTN's mission is to increase the number of underrepresented populations in architecture, science, technology, and engineering fields, while specifically increasing the number of technology entrepreneurs and companies founded by these individuals.

RRTN is creating an open cultural marketplace and community centered on architecture, science, technology, engineering, and math (ASTEM), entrepreneurship, education and innovation. This global network will be built with technology and content created or provided by RRTN, its node sites and its partners. The network facilitates and promotes collaborations in educational and entrepreneurial pursuits among its community: primarily high school and college students as well as researchers and professionals. Our node sites are currently based in Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States, and will connect via (further details below).

Students at Hope Valley Experimental School
Hope Valley Experimental School, Jamaica, W.I.
During the summer of 2009, the RRTN Node team at MIT worked with Alcar International and MIT IS&T to refurbish donated HP desktops for The Hope Valley Experimental School, our first pilot node site in Kingston, Jamaica. This elementary school is unique in Jamaica, because the approximately 1,000 students include disabled and able-bodied students learning together. Click here to read more about the school

The students at the Hope Valley Experimental School were enthused about the new equipment which they use for school work and RRTN projects. RRTN liaison, Ayanna Samuels, a Jamaican MIT alumnus of Aerospace Engineering described the students' need in these words, "The students used to sit in the empty labs and pretend that they were using computers. Now, they have real, working computers to actually use: to write reports and play educational math and science games." RRTN is currently in the process of building out a node site page for Hope Valley Experimental School on which will include information about the node site, the node site team, and the team's progress on RRTN projects.


The RRTN Node Network has already been endorsed by ten institutions and is currently working with representatives from each institution to plan their unique node sites. We are currently addressing, space, security, Internet access, and hardware needs at each institution.

The following sites have endorsed participating in RRTN's node network:
  • Tuskegee University
  • Hampton University
  • MIT
  • Brockton High School
  • Ron Burton Training Village
  • Ghana Telecom University College
  • Makerere University
  • Lycee De Bafou
  • Hope Valley Experimental School
  • Ivor Walters Primary school
We are looking for financial and in-kind support to purchase and set up development labs (hardware and software) at each site.
10-12 notebooks - 3,000 USD
Server - 3,500 USD
Please contact us for further information. 
Strategy and Operations
Node site page
RRTN is piloting an end to end process in IBM LotusLive for building our nodal network.  RRTN's site strategy involves:
  • Marketing to potential new node sites,
  • Qualifying potential node site candidates,
  • Getting commitment and endorsement from qualified sites,
  • Creating a site team at the location
  • Gathering resources from partners and funders to physically create node sites
  • On-boarding the site

This summer, Xola Ntumy, and RRTN intern from MIT is piloting this strategy with our African partners. We will report on her work in the next issue.

After mapping-out the entire node site construction process, holes were identified in the process. The first issue was identifying hardware providers for the node sites. Thus, RRTN is exploring a partnership with IBM partner, Simmtronics, to provide netbooks and desktops to RRTN node sites.  RRTN is working with IBM, MIT, and Simmtronics to develop a bundled solution of netbook, servers and software called a development lab which will be tiered into 4 suites.
  • Taylor Academy (primary school)
  • Taylor Institute (high school)
  • Taylor Labs (college)
  • Taylor Made (personal)
The second issue was identifying hardware transporters.  Additionally, RRTN is seeking to partner with shipping companies that can deliver our hardware to node sites in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States.
Online Community (RRTN.NET)
Social Networking Community website
RRTN's goal is to reach people where they are as well as to leverage and introduce modern forms of social and professional networking tools to disenfranchised communities. RRTN is creating a social/professional hub, for its node sites.

On December 7th 2009, RRTN released concept drawings of and presented it to IBM.
This will be RRTN's unique ASTEM-based community. This hub will provide basic social networking services, collaboration tools via Lotus Live, content, and node site support for all of our node sites. The hub is a nexus for the node sites, to connect, collaborate and publish their work.

RRTN seeks to create a two-way exchange between our community and the larger ASTEM community globally. Hence our presence on the following online social communities: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, MIT Techtv, Caribbean Axis and Twitter.
Feng Wu at RRTN central is currently replacing the site with an interactive web development platform utilizing Concrete 5 and IBM LotusLive. This will enable a non-technical user to build out the social platform and showcase their work.
LAIV Network Projects
LAIV Network is short for Leadership, Archive, Institute, Ventures and Network projects. LAIV Network projects Rare related to the development of the RRTN web platform and its programs.

Below is a list of some of the initial projects that we are seeking ownership and collaboration from the node sites.

ADIAS History Timeline
API Library and SDK ToolKit
LotusLive Intergration
Music Timeline
Open Course Exchange: Apple iTunes University
Open Course Exchange : Brainshark
RRTN digital archives (metamedia and dspace)
Travel Service
365 calendar mobile quiz
There is a separate email addressing these projects in more detail.  If a node site or partner is interested in leading any of the aforementioned projects, please contact Chris Luna at (
RRTN's Node Network technology solution is a hybrid model of on-premise applications and cloud based services.

Together with IBM, we are working to leverage several appliations to build our foundational network. these applications include LotusLive, a cloud-based collaboration office, IBM Client for Smart Work (ICSW), an Open Source productivity suite,  Lotus Foundation Server appliance, a high computing network server, Virtual Bridges, a virtualization networking solution, and other open-source applications from MIT and the Open Source community.

Our technology development accomplishments to date are:
  • Node site bundles have been grouped into the following: Taylor Labs, Taylor Institute, and Taylor Academy.
  • RRTN Node Site Software Stack will initially include the following:
    • Edubuntu Educational Software Add-on Package
    • VirtualBridges VERDE Client 
    • Lotus Symphony Productivity Suite
    • Eclipse Integrated Development Environment for application development
    • Aptana Integrated Development Environment for web development
    • GIMP for image creation and manipulation
    • To be determined video editing software
    • Audacity for audio recording and manipulation
    • All necessary services and applications for developing technology using the following resources: C/C++, Java, PHP, Ruby, Python, MySQL and PostgreSQL, Apache, Tomcat
    • And all other default applications included with the Ubuntu Linux distribution version 9.04
  • Prototype node site at MIT
  • Pilot hub site
  • Virtual office on LotusLive
Node Sites 
The following are high level status reports for each node site by geographic region.

Taylor Labs:  College Level
Ghana Telecom University, Ghana
Primary Contacts:
  • Dr. Osei Darkwa, President 
  • Dr. Ernest Aikins, I.T. Director 
  • Site was endorsed
  • Dedicated a secure node site location
  • Developing a solution for remote collaboration with node sites where their internet connectivity is intermittent 
  • Preparing to receive Xola Ntumy in 7/10 to complete setup of pilot node site by the end of the summer

Makerere University, Uganda
Primary Contacts:
  • Dr. Sandy Stevens Tickodri-Togboa, Deputy Vice Chancellor 
  • Professor Tom Otiti, Physics department
  • Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi, iLabs Coordinator
  • Site has been endorsed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the university
  • Dedicated a secure node site location 
  • Preparing for site setup during on-site visit
Taylor Institute, High School Level 
Lycee De Bafou, Cameroon
Primary contacts:

  • Mr. Alain Olivier Tchouaken, Principal 
  • Mr. Ngambo Philippe, Guidance Counselor
  • Site has been endorsed
  • Identified primary contacts, dedicated a school location for site
  • Recruiting node team students
  • Seeking sponsorship of computers
Liceu Domingo Ramos, Cape Verde
Primary contact:
  • Mr. Adriano Cabral (USA Regional Liasion)
  • Seeking closure on site contacts
Taylor Academy: Elementary Level
Hope Valley Experimental School, Jamaica
Primary contacts:
  • Ms. Sharon Williams, Principal 
  • Ms. Shandrene Lovelock, Teacher
  • Ms. Ayanna Samuels, Regional Liaison 
  • Received hardware from RRTN
  • Working to solve internet connectivity problems
  • Recruiting a node team to complete LAIV network projects
  • Working with RRTN to develop curriculum 
Ivor Walter Primary School, St. Kitts & Nevis
Primary contacts:

  • Ms. Lornetter Queeley-Connor, Pincipal 
  • Mr. Geran Browne, Info & Tech
  • Mr. Spencer Hanley, Nevis Air & Sea ports Authority   
  • Clinton Weekes, Liasion
  • Recent addition to the Network.
  • Identified a secure location for node site
  • Hardware on route to site
Taylor Labs: College Level
Tuskegee University, USA
Primary contacts:
  • Prof. Leland Burge, Dean of Engineering 
  • Dr. Richard Dozier, Dean of Architecture 
  • Professor Roderick Flucker, Asst. Prof. 
  • Dr. Tamara Floyd, Assoc. Prof. of Chemical Engineering 
  • Assembling a node team
  • Identifying a secure, dedicated location for site.
Hampton University, USA 
Primary contacts:
  • Dean Eric Sheppard
  • Mr. Wayne Dawkins, Assitant Prof.
  • Dr. Wesley Henderson, Assoc. Prof. of Architecture  
  • Ms. Juleit Harris, Editor 
  • Collaborating with RRTN Central on multiple projects
    • Art and Science
    • Black Architects Archive
    • Digital Newsroom 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA 
Primary contacts:

  • Professor Cardinal Warde
  • Professor Mark Jarzombek, Associate Dean
  • Judson Harward, Assoc. Director CECI
  • Xola Ntumy 
  • Committed to partnership and dedicated site location
  • Awaiting hardware in order to construct site
  • Prototyping Model Node Site
  • Working with Black MIT student groups to populate the site
  • Piloting a library at the Black Student Union Lounge 
Taylor Institute:  High School level
Brockton High School, USA
Primary contacts:
  • Mr. Lloyd Lamarre
  • Dr. Susan Szachowicz
  • Site project has been endorsed by the principal and staff
  • Recruiting students/node site team
  • Preparing a meeting with school district superintendent to get support and clarity on construction steps.
Ron Burton Training Village, USA/ Mass Impact 
Primary contact:

  • Ron Burton Jr., President
  • Thaddeus Miles, President Mass Impact 
  • Co-developing a multi-year educational program for inner city youth
  • Site has been visited
  • Site network has been endorsed
RRTN's mission is to increase the number of underrepresented populations in architecture, science, technology, and engineering fields, while specifically increasing the number of technology entrepreneurs and companies founded by these individuals.