Remembering Gaetano Borriello

February 1st, 2015 by Waylon Brunette


We have tremendously sad news. Our friend, colleague, and advisor Gaetano Borriello has passed away. Gaetano was the visionary and leader behind Open Data Kit. It was his idea that started ODK and his focus on academic research that improves the lives of the underserved that created this community.

There is an official announcement, but Carl, Yaw, and I wanted to share a personal story about Gaetano.

When we started working on ODK in 2008, Gaetano had just been diagnosed with cancer. Although he was given a few months to live, he refused to change course, instead doubling down on making ODK a reality. Over the last six years, Gaetano fought cancer with his unique brand of stubborn optimism. He drew his strength from this community and was so proud of ODK’s global impact.

It's a difficult time for all of us involved with ODK, but we have Gaetano’s example to guide us. The last thing he asked of us was to continue doing good work. It’s a responsibility we have planned for and take very seriously. ODK research and development will continue for years to come.

In remembrance of Gaetano’s legacy, the University of Washington has established two funds that accept donations: one supports Open Data Kit research and the other is a student fellowship for improving the lives of the underserved.