Pace of Change

In September 1992 I visited Vietnam, a country whose population is highly-educated, as a scientific guest of National Centre for Scientific Research Institute of Informatics, Hanoi and two organizations in Ho Chi Minh City, a University and a Mathematical Society. This UNESCO sponsored travel deepened my awareness of the rapid change taking place all over the world, and the number of well trained scientists in what we normally think of as developing countries, in computers and mathematics.

This image of rural Vietnam should be placed against the reality of my hosts' depth and their numerous students educational breadth. I met many individuals trained in Russia and Ukraine to the Ph.D. level, large numbers of bright knowledgeable computer scientists whose programming skill outstripped my own and many UCLA students', and watched the Institute in Hanoi become an active participant in the internet during my visit.

For an idea of the speed of change, March 1998 travel in China provides some contrast at the academic side. A newspaper article from May 1998 makes this evident at a human level with respect to a notable social event.