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Tufts professor sparks app contest for teens

Karen Panetta of Tufts says she developed the idea after hearing a speech by Bill Clinton.
Karen Panetta of Tufts says she developed the idea after hearing a speech by Bill Clinton.

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Can a software app change the world? Perhaps, if you can find the right teenager to design it.

So a Tufts University dean and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers have launched a contest for young people 13 and older to devise apps to deal with global problems such as health care, education and clean energy.

Karen Panetta, IEEE fellow and associate dean at the Tufts graduate school of engineering, said the goal is to aid low-income people worldwide, using the most common computing device on the planet.

“One of the most key technologies out there is the cellphone,” Panetta said. “Even if they’re poor, they have a cellphone.”

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