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News - 2004

IIT Bombay News Archive - 2004
Archive of News Updates
December 2004
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has announced the formation of a CII Council of Indian Americans. The council will initially support initiatives in the area of rural economy, education, healthcare, water, energy and tourism. CII president Sunil Kant Munjal said the council would be chaired by Mr Sam Pitroda and Mr Anil Kumar (BTech ME '80 - IIT Bombay), both residents in the US. Mr Anil Kumar, co-chairman of the council and director, McKinsey & Company, said, "the council would plan to change the current involvement of the diaspora with India ..."  link
    • He can talk about semiconductors and rare Carnatic ragas with equal felicity. Enjoys music as much as his role as head of a corporate software group. When one talks with Surya Santanagopalan, many myths about "techies" get dispelled. Heading a global software team for Germany's Infineon Technologies — the only one of that company in India — is more than a job. "It strengthens India's role in software and naturally it's located in Bangalore where all the action is," he says. Mr. Santanagopalan is a product of IIT (Bombay) and though he went on to study in the U.S. — at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among other places — the IIT experience really opened his eyes, he says. "It was a humbling experience; at school I thought I was among the best and at IIT, I had to compete with the very best. It is a highly competitive environment and the faculty keep challenging you to do even better ... You just have to accomplish more," he says. link
    • Sequence Design is using the upcoming VLSI Design 2005 Conference in Kolkata, India to once again demonstrate its technology leadership in low-power design tools and techniques ... Sequence enjoys a growing customer base of multinational semiconductor companies in India, especially in Bangalore's technology-rich environment, according to company president and CEO Vic Kulkarni, a 1974 IIT Bombay graduate. Kulkarni said he expects to double Sequence India's strength in 2005 ... the company is planning to implement a new educational and advanced research program with leading Indian universities in 2005. link
       
  • Mood Indigo in the news ...
  • The Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay's youth cultural festival, Mood Indigo -- or Mood I as everyone calls it -- began long before fests became the buzzword among the hip and happening college crowd. It started in 1973 with a frugal budget of Rs 5,000, and by about 1976 became the most awaited event of the year. From the very beginning, the core of Mood I was competitions that provided a platform for young talent. A certain (Ustad) Amjad Khan shone on the dramatics stage in Mood I's early editions and a young assistant director called Mani Ratnam directed an award-winning play here. The rest, as they say, is history. Mood I's high wattage rock competition Livewire has been the launching pad for most of the country's big rock acts. Parikrama, Zero and Pentagram became poster boys for rockers in the country after performing at Livewire. Zakir Hussain performed for five years consecutively from 1980 to 1984. "I have performed twice in Mood Indigo and it was a great experience. It's heartening to see that all kinds of music from folk, classical to rock are appreciated there. I am really looking forward to performing in Mood Indigo again," says Hariharan, who teams up with Colonial Cousins partner Leslie Lewis for Mood I 2005. "Mood Indigo as an event is an institution for Indian bands and music. It is a great honour to be performing here," says Lucky Ali. link
     
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Entropic Communications, a semiconductor company providing technologies that enable home networking for digital entertainment via coaxial cable, today announced that Umesh Padval has joined its board of directors. Padval is currently LSI Logic's executive vice president for consumer products ... Padval received a bachelor's degree in Technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and master's degrees in Engineering from Pennsylvania State and Stanford Universities. "There are very few individuals who can match the background of Umesh in consumer and set-top box silicon solutions -- he has literally been a force in the industry from its inception," said Patrick Henry, Entropic's president and CEO. link
       
  • Global demand for IITs, IIMs rising ... Exactly two years after an expert committee set up by the the University Grants Commission suggested that premier Indian Institutes of Technology and managements (IITs/IIMs) be allowed to set shop on global shores, the human resources development ministry stands flooded with inquiries from abroad. A senior ministry official said that as many 18-20 inquiries have been received in the last six months alone. While Singapore, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates are keen to forge a tie-up with these institutions of repute, inquiries are also coming in from the US and Europe. "They are particularly interested in having a twinning arrangement with IIMs/IITs, both for the students as well as the teaching community in specific areas," the official said. link
     
  • IITBHF's Faculty Academic Network (FAN) and IIT Bombay are organizing a Nanotechnology workshop in Powai from January 6-8, 2005. The main themes of the workshop are Nano-Materials, Nano-Biotechnology and Nano-Electronics. The workshop is expected to have over 25 participants from the US, including experts in various areas of Nano-Technology, in addition to faculty and students of IIT Bombay. Besides presentation of state-of-the-art research, the participants will have an opportunity to share resources and expertise, and the workshop is expected to facilitate exchange of students and faculty. link
     
  • STALL number 102 had just four jeans-clad youngsters, two laptops and a bunch of printouts. But the bedlam of literally hundreds of pajama-kurta-topi clad farmers thronging seed, farm machinery, fertiliser, pesticide, horticulture stalls, fruit and vegetable shows, the boys from IIT Bombay were in no way blindsided. All they had were a few projects, but ones which offered next generation tech-based agri-solutions, and that wasn't lost on the agri community that descended on Kisan '04, a large-scale agri expo being held at the Agricultural Produce Committee ground on the Pune-Nashik highway at Moshi. Under the name of Media Lab Asia (MLA), the IITians had on offer innovative IT-based equipment, such as the 'Poly-Sens' - a system for water quality assessment. MLA claim that the microchip-controlled instrument can give results across several chemical parameters, within a minute. "This saves waiting for several days for results. As of now, the instrument costs upto Rs 10,000, but with a manufacturing tie-up, the price would come down a lot," says S Phatak, an ex-IITian working with MLA. link
     
  • Brain drain also has a flip side. Thanks to the men and women who pass out every year from the Indian Institutes of Technology, Brand IIT has acquired an international aura. From Microsoft to Bell, everyone swears by IITians. No wonder then that the government is flooded with requests from many countries - Singapore, Mauritius, the UAE and Sri Lanka to name some - to set up IITs in their countries. While most foreign offers are still at the proposal stage, negotiations with Singapore are under way and are expected to reach a concrete level soon. According to HRD ministry sources, the tie-up will be finalised between IIT Bombay and the National University of Singapore (NUS) by next month. The negotiations are part of the Indo-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). link
     
  • 2000 Chemistry Nobel laureate Professor Alan G Macdiarmid has accepted the position of a distinguished guest professorship at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai. IIT has also offered him a distinguished chair in Science and Technology in the Department of Chemistry, considering his rich experience as a teacher and researcher, said an IIT media statement released on Friday. "It is a great honour to accept a position from one of India’s most prestigious universities," said Macdiarmid. "It would be a tremendous opportunity for both the universities (IIT and Pennsylvania University—where he currently works) to find ways to enhance each other’s research capabilities and international visibilities." link
     
  • There were films and stars and merchants of dreams at Goa's ongoing International Film Festival of India but someone who managed his projection the best was Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar. He had participants eating out of his hand at an "open house" session here Sunday night. Clearly impressed by the colour and glitter and the clean and uncluttered roads - even if restricted to just one section of this state capital - and an infrastructure that locals say has come at a huge cost, the delegates were already well disposed in their attitude to Parrikar. He narrated how he was part of a "larger group" that had started the Mood Indigo campus fest at the Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai and how he saw Goa being built up as a state known for art and culture - with cinema being one part of this. His view was that the film festival came to Goa "in spite of a lot of competition" and was optimistic that it would continue here. link
     
  • California-based venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has gifted $5 million for a school on information technology at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and is funding a series of micro-credit foundations in India. "I am contributing $5 million towards the school at IIT Delhi where I studied. The name of the school has not been decided yet," said Khosla, partner in the Melno Park (California)-based venture fund Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. link
     
  • The PanIIT Board has announced a Global IIT alumni meet on December 24-25, 2004 in New Delhi, India. The meet will be the largest ever congregation of IIT alumni in one country, in one city and with one purpose. link
     
  • iit2005, the biennial Global IIT Alumni Conference for alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will be held on May 20-22, 2005. Attendees will include a large number of IIT alumni, luminaries from the industry and academia, and a variety of organizations looking to participate in this large exclusive gathering of IITians. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed a keen interest to speak at the PanIIT Global Alumni conference (iit2005) to be held at the Marriott Conference Center and hotel in Metropolitan Washington. link
     
  • When Pune-based IIT-Mumbai alumni Abhi Gholap decided to make foray into the nichĂ© area of developing softwares for pathologists, very few believed that his products will be used by the national aeronautics and space administration (Nasa) and US Labs today. Co-founder and managing director of BioImagene, a start-up venture, started in San Jose in January 2003 along with bio-technologist Gauri Naik, the two software (packages) — one that assists pathologists in detection, counting, classification and evaluation of cells and tissues automatically (Pathiam); and the other, named Histogrid, with morphology-based algorithms, allowing researchers to assess individual cores for high productivity development in the pre-clinical stage of a drug development process — are much in demand. link
     
  • Chetan Bhagat was awarded the prestigious Society Young Achiever's award in literature for his debut novel Five Point Someone: What not to do at IIT. This adds formal critical recognition to the already hugely successful novel. The novel was released just over six months ago, and continues to rule near the top of the bestseller list for the last 30 weeks, competing with world bestsellers like Da Vinci Code . The novel is already in its eighth edition, and has sold close to 1,00,000 copies - a record number for any Indian novel in such a time-frame. link
November 2004
  • "We want Northern Ireland to become a sort of aircraft carrier for Indian businesses to export their products and do business with Europe and even America," said the Northern Ireland Minister Barry Gardiner to Hindustan Times. A move has been initiated for a tripartite agreement between the two famous Belfast institutions, Queen's University and Ulster University with IIT Mumbai for exchange programmes, which would include exchange of students and even academic staff. link
     
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Jasper Design Automation, provider of breakthrough high-level formal verification solutions for provably correct design, named Nafees Qureshy as its new Vice President of Engineering. Nafees received a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. link
    • Infineon Technologies has appointed Santanagopalan Surya as senior vice president and head of Corporate Software of Infineon Technologies, Munich, Germany and managing director of Infineon Technologies India. Surya will be based in Bangalore, India. Surya earned a Bachelors Degree in electrical engineering from IIT Mumbai. link
       
  • As some American universities regroup to ensure their students remain competitive globally, India's flagship institution continues to turn out thousands of technologically trained graduates each year. Modeled originally after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the seven-campus Indian Institute of Technology system has been training Indian undergraduate and graduate students for nearly 60 years. About 200,000 students begin the IIT application process each year, but just 3,000 students are admitted nationwide, officials report. link
     
  • Oxford and Cambridge are among the world's top ten universities, according to a new global ranking ... they were fifth and sixth respectively in the league table of the world's 200 best universities. Harvard, which boasts an endowment of nearly $23billion (£12.7billion), was first in the list produced by The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES). American institutions occupied seven of the top ten places, with Oxbridge the highest-ranked outside the United States. In Asia, Japan’s Tokyo University was evaluated as the best university, ranking 12th, and China’s Beijing University and National University of Singapore formed the leading group, ranking 17th and 18th respectively. Among other Asian universities that were placed within the top fifty were Kyoto University (29th), Hong Kong University (39th), Indian Institute of Technology (41st), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (42nd), and Singapore Nanyang Technological University (50th). Tokyo Technological University Japan ranked 51st, Tsinghua University China 62nd, Osaka University Japan 69th, and Taiwan University 102nd, leaving Seoul National University behind them. link
     
  • A senior administrator of Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, Asia's oldest technical institution, while expostulating on the recent achievements of the institute ... very proudly mentioned that over 150 graduating engineers (out of the current class size of about 500) have been taken by just two leading IT companies operating out of Bangalore. A bigger surprise was that practically none of these 150 was actually from the electronics and communication engineering disciplines but from other apparently "slow-moving" disciplines such as civil and metallurgical engineering and even architecture! Hence, while the institute's management took pride in achieving almost 100 per cent success in placements ... the remarkable success of India's IT sector and thereby its voracious appetite for hiring is inadvertently sowing the seeds of a bigger problem for India's future wherein the country's brightest engineers and MBAs will end up working in just one sector, and in practically one discipline (coding/software implementation) rather than manning research and development, product engineering, and product management activities in a host of other equally important sectors. link
     
  • "US no longer the dream destination for IITians" ... Aparajit Raghavan, a final year B.Tech Computer Science student at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Chennai, had long ago set his eyes on a MS degree from the United States. However, a job windfall down here has now left him weighing his options. A few weeks ago, recruiters of the Information Technology major Trilogy came head-hunting at the IIT Chennai and decided to pick Raghavan for placement as a Technical Analyst. His monthly remuneration package has been worked out at Rs 70,000, a mind-boggling sum for the 20-year old. "I am thinking over it." link
     
  • Elections for three Directors of the IIT Bombay Alumni Association (IITBAA) are scheduled to be held on December 26, 2004. Nominations are due by December 10th. The Mumbai Chapter will also hold its elections at the same time, for six Executive Committee members for the Mumbai Chapter of the IIT Bombay Alumni Association. link
     
  • A Linux Resource Center has been set up at the KR School of Information Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The center, which will work on Linux-based solutions for the educational institutes, is a result of collaboration between the IIT and Intel. Intel will provide technology and training to support the center's development of advanced learning solutions. The objective is to provide rich educational content for remote and online users. Other support includes performance optimization, application compatibility testing and a lab for solution testing. "Establishing a Linux Resource Center together with Intel is critical to the successful adoption of rich, standards-based Linux solutions for education," said Professor DB Phatak, Chair Professor, and Head-School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. "By working together, the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and Intel will provide thousands of students a connected and interactive learning experience," said Shane Wall, a Vice president in Intel. link
  • Financial Express - "IITian speeds on Autobahn": Here is one alumni IIT Powai would like to celebrate. An engineer who does pure engineering work and has climbed his way up the ladder in the hallowed portals of German engineering. He is part of the core team that designs and engineers next generation cars at DaimlerChrysler AG in Singelfingen, Germany. He is the only Indian in the 11-member R&D team. Meet Prof Dr Bharat Balasubramanian. He is vice-president, Mercedes Car Group, (development engineering technologies and regulatory affairs) and has been involved in almost all the major technological developments that have come out of the German company’s assembly line. An automobile freak since childhood, his choice of moving to Germany instead of following the herd to USA was driven by the fact, that the auto magazines he read spoke highly of Germany engineering and how engineers drove the company that made the Mercedes, says Mr Balasubramanian. A six-month traineeship with the company marked the beginning of Mr Balasubramanian’s 30 year journey at the company. He says it was not difficult to get into the company that was traditional and close-knit but his South Indian traits of thrift and hardwork made integration easy, he quips. On a serious note, the 1973 batch IIT graduate says, he never found any problem at the company and was never treated differently because he was an Asian. link 
  • Indian Express - "Meet the man who’s working those Mercs": "As a child, Bharat would love to tinker with his Dad’s 1939 Studebaker Champion and even managed to repair it a couple of times. As he became older, his interest in all things on four wheels grew and ultimately acquired the shape of a dream: to work in DaimlerChrysler (DC), the ‘‘best automobile engineering company’’. Having worked on his dream throughout his IIT Powai days, Bharat Balasubramanian has been successfully living it for the last 30 years — in DC, today as Vice-President Engineering Technologies and Regulatory Affairs. ‘‘Countries like India and China need to first tackle the question of impurities in fuel,’’ he says, in line with other European car manufacturers focusing on diesel technology. Balasubramanian is a key figure in developing Mercedes’ high-performance diesel engines that now account for 57 per cent of sales. On what he would like to see in India, Balasubramanian said, ‘‘I would like to see more academia-industry interface. How many top industrial leaders come and teach at the graduate or under-graduate levels in India,’’ the Professor asked. link
     
  • Bloomberg.com - "Indian Institutes of Technology Produce CEOs, Bankers, Anxiety" -- Varun Rao, 16 ... spends four days a week, including Sundays, studying to become the one applicant in every 50 who will get into the Indian Institutes of Technology, whose seven campuses are the nation's best schools for engineers and computer scientists. Rao would have a better shot at Harvard University, which accepted one of every 10 undergraduate candidates for the year that began in September 2004. Indian Icons Since 1951, when India converted a former British-run jail into the first IIT in order to turn out engineers for the newly independent nation, the government-funded schools have developed the country's brightest minds. Alumni span the globe. Ajit Jain, 53, heads Omaha, Nebraska- based Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s reinsurance unit. In March, CEO Warren Buffett praised Jain in his annual letter to shareholders. Arun Sarin, 50, runs the world's biggest mobile phone service company as CEO of Newbury, England-based Vodafone Group Plc. Nandan Nilekani, 49, CEO of Infosys Technologies Ltd., leads India's second-largest software exporter. Nilekani attended IIT Bombay with Arjun Divecha, 48, who now manages $10 billion in emerging-market shares at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. in Berkeley, California. Another classmate, Narendra Karmarkar, 48, a Bell Labs scientist, invented a computer-programming algorithm that bears his name.  link
October 2004
  • For a guy whose professional activities generate such passionate and polarized reactions in two of the largest countries on earth, Nandan Nilekani cuts a strikingly unprepossessing figure. With his boxy suit and black mustache, the 49-year-old CEO of outsourcing giant Infosys looks like a small-town bank manager and sounds like a business school professor, rattling on about "global delivery models" and "execution engines." Make no mistake, Nilekani is forceful, articulate, and at times a bit cocky. ("We are among the early inventors of the way the world is going to do business.") Yet to cast him as either a hero or a villain seems an act of willful perversity. What Nilekani wants is to turn Infosys into a new kind of IT services conglomerate -- one that can deliver, on a worldwide basis, low-cost software and high-end consulting in a single irresistible package. In other words, he wants to turn himself into the Sam Palmisano of India. The hurdles confronting him in this quest are large and undeniably daunting. But given his history and the forces of globalization, I wouldn't bet more than a single-shot latte against his pulling it off. Nilekani has repeatedly overcome long odds. As a kid growing up in the 1970s in a village near Bangalore, he beat out hundreds of thousands of rivals for a coveted spot at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay (now called Mumbai). link
     
  • "Making India the chip hub: the IIT way" ... Forget the chip on the shoulder. Former IITians are chipping in with chips of another kind to give back to India as good as they got. In another instance of brain drain becoming brain gain, IITians who went to top-notch universities like MIT, Berkley, Cornell and Stanford, are now coming back to India with cutting-edge technology such as radio frequency identification (RFID) chips. It all started in the US in 2001 when three IITians got together to start an RFID company in Massachusetts. It had as its chief technology officer, Dr Sanjay Sarma, who led MIT's Auto-ID centre, where retail majors such as Wal-Mart, Hewlett-Packard, Gillette, pharmaceutical companies and the US Department of Defence used microchips to their advantage. These professionals, numbering 20, are now setting up an office in Bangalore. "Almost 25 per cent of our India office is made up of IITians. It's time India goes from being just a services hub and also became a location for world-class software product development. Our intellectual property is our strength. IITians need no longer go abroad for product development; it can be done right here in India," says Jasjit Mangat, head of consulting, Asia, OAT Systems. link 
  • Giving back to society is the theme behind IIT Bombay Alumni Association’s Pune chapter meet on October 23. This time, it’s not nostalgia that’s getting this group of alumni together. It’s a focus on causes and on Pune. As the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB) Alumni Association, Pune chapter get together on Saturday, the discussion will stress on giving back to society. "How and what can an alumnus from IITB and the alumni association do to help further the basic aims and objectives of the IITs and meet the expectations of society, that will be the focus of the meet," says Shantaram Kane, president of the Pune chapter. So, while memories of their time at IITB take a backseat, this meet to be hosted at the IUCAA’s Chandrashekhar auditorium on October 23 is to be devoted only to brainstorming. With Pune’s IT boom, there are at least 2000 IITB alumni here in the city and so networking to build the IIT brand is another objective. link
     
  • Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland, has signed an agreement with the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (SJSOM) of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay for a customised management course in manufacturing excellence for its engineers. It is the first ever tie-up by a company for a specialised course in manufacturing with IIT Bombay. Significantly, SJSOM had provided their expertise to carry out a company wide competency mapping exercise for Ashok Leyland. This identified knowledge and skill gaps, which provided the basis for development of a custom-designed curriculum for the 15-month course comprising six modules and a live project. Fifty four on-site contact days are built in whereby the 40 executives will get to interact with the IIT professors at the Company's Management Development Centre. Peer interaction is facilitated by e-groups, through Ashok Leyland's e-learning Centre. link
     
  • A NEW LPG stove designed for the visually-impaired, a prototype autorickshaw with an extra passenger seat, and an electric car that zips along at 80 km/h. Just some of the innovations and bright ideas that wowed Avenues 2004, the Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai’s annual business festival that brings together the best of academia with the best of the corporate world. The two-day event, now in its third year, opened on Saturday morning and will conclude on Sunday. It seeks to forge synergy among enterprise, innovation and management with a slew of competitions, workshops, talks and exhibitions. Jointly organized by IIT’s Entrepreneurship Cell and the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, the festival has representatives from over 60 management institutes and 40 engineering colleges from across the country. link
     
  • IBM has partnered with India's Center of Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), in Pune, and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), in Mumbai, to set up an Open Source Software Resource Center (OSSRC). The centre will be funded with $1.2m (£670m) over three years and will try to promote open-source software by establishing a portal for exchanging information on the subject and initiating proof of concept projects. It will also develop training programs for open source and related certifications. IBM will provide hardware, software, and project management resources for the OSSRC, while C-DAC, a research and development organisation of the Indian government, will provide the physical infrastructure, Indian language technologies, and open-source application frameworks to help kickstart open-source projects. IIT in Bombay, one of India's leading educational institutions, will focus on teacher training and educational content. IBM, C-DAC, and IIT will jointly manage the centre, which will be located at the C-DAC facility in Pune, near Mumbai, according to a spokeswoman at IBM India. link
     
  • National Semiconductor Corporation announced the promotion of Sadanand Patil to vice president of its Package Technology Group. A semiconductor industry veteran, Patil was most recently director of National's Package Technology Group and has several patents and publications to his credit. "Under Sada's leadership, National is an industry leader in package miniaturization for analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits optimized for today's smaller and thinner products including cell phones, flat-panel displays and laptop computers," said Kamal Aggarwal, executive vice president of National's Central Technology and Manufacturing Group. "His efforts have led to positive testimonials from many of our customers and have helped drive the continuing growth of our business in innovative packages." Patil holds two masters' degrees, a master's of science in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and a master's of technology from the India Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, India. link
     
  • After playing hide-and-seek for three days, the elusive crocodile was finally caught at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai, on Wednesday. After an intense team effort by Powai lake fishermen, IIT security guards and Forest Department officials with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the five-footer was trapped in an artificial pond near the IIT guesthouse. The gender of the predator is not yet known. It was released in Tulsi Lake by Forest Department officials on Wednesday evening. link
  • The Shailesh J Mehta School of Management and the Entrepreneurship Cell at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, are organising Avenues 2004, the annual business festival of IIT Mumbai. To be held from October 9 to 12, the event will include activities such as panel discussions, debates and quizzes between students and people from the corporate world. Sports on campus The sports meet between the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI), Jamshedpur, and the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, was held at XLRI on September 25 and 26. The only sporting event of its kind in the Indian B-school circuit saw XLRI beat IIM-C by a 13-8 margin. Atul Mehta of IIM-C and Vikram Dani of XLRI walked away with the best sportsperson awards. The event ended with a rock music show. The next sports meet, to be held at the IIM-C campus, will include more events, such as swimming, water polo and so on. link
     
  • Wall Street Journal: "Welcome to the Machine," Pink Floyd's rock anthem, blares from a dormitory ... the song could well be the anthem of the ... IITs in India that are churning out top-notch engineers with a regularity that thrills corporations around the world. The government-sponsored institutes are considered among the most demanding engineering schools anywhere, and their alumni can be found in top executive positions in companies around the world. Such success is the reason IIT graduates have such a high profile globally. "The brand is, by now, so well established that in the future, too, IIT graduates will continue to be very successful. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy," says Nandan Nilekani, chief executive officer of the Indian software-services company Infosys Technolgies Ltd. and a 1978 IIT Bombay graduate. At present, about 25,000 IIT graduates are working in the U.S., according to the Economic Times, an Indian financial newspaper. Over the years, Cisco Systems Inc., in San Jose, Calif., says it has hired more than 1,000 for its operations, and the director of a major U.S. research firm says the IITs are one of its most important sources of research talent, both in the U.S. and in Asia. In the past, IITs graduated an average total of 2,500 engineers each year. But an increase in space of about 2,000 students over the past few years means that if all the students admitted in 2004 graduate -- 95% usually do -- the world will be nearly 4,500 IIT engineers richer in 2008. link
 
September 2004
  • IIT Bombay alumni and faculty have bagged three out of the ten prestigious Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar awards for 2004 awarded by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Dr R.A. Mashelkar, Director-General of CSIR announced the names of the ten scientists selected for the awards at the foundation day function on September 26. The awardees include Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri of IIT Bombay and two IIT Bombay alumni, Prof. Madan Rao (M.Sc. Physics) of Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, and Dr. Chetan Chitnis (M.Sc. Physics - 5 yr. Integrated - 1983) of the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi. link
     
  • "The 7 secrets behind IITians' global success" - Economic Times. "Brand IIT is, by now, so well established that in the future too, the IIT graduates will continue to be successful," says Nandan Nilekani, CEO, Infosys , while speaking to The Wall Street Journal. Nilekani graduated from IIT Bombay in 1978. Cisco Systems Inc. , in San Jose, Calif., says it has already hired more than 1,000 IITians over the years and it plans to increase the number as per convenience. According to the director of a major US research firm, the IITs are one of its most important sources of research talent, both in the US and Asia. link
     
  • To save Powai lake from pollution caused each year during Ganesh Chaturthi, IITians create idols from lake clay for safe immersions. Some of the best examples of eco-friendly Ganesh idols can be seen at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai.  A clutch of organisations - the Save Powai Lake Committee, the Ladies Club of IIT, the Anken and Devi Temple Committees - came together for the workshop to save the lake from pollution caused by the yearly immersions during Ganesh Chaturthi. "What we are trying to instill into the people is that whatever we take from nature must be returned," explains Rashmi Misra, chairperson of the Devi Temple Committee. link
     
  • In a bid to promote grassroot innovators with excellent ideas in the country, two premier institutes -- Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Technology-Mumbai may now start working together to promote these innovations in India and abroad. Meanwhile, IIMA has also decided to work as a facilitator and pressure group on policy formation for such innovators. It would also act to bridge the gap between the innovators and entrepreneurs through its very own entity, Centre for Incubation, Innovation and Entrepreneurs. "CIIE, working since 2001, has already handled a whopping 36,000 innovations from across the country. Now we are planning to promote these grassroot innovations with technical expertise from IITs and talks for this purpose are in an advanced stage with IIT-M. IIMA is coming up with a separate building within its new campus which will house the 'Incubation Centre' where such grassroot innovators will be trained, their ideas will be polished so that they are able to take their products to the market in a much better way. "The Gujarat government has already sanctioned a fund of Rs 1.28 crore (Rs 12.8 million) for the new facility which will be opened by next September," Bakul Dholakia, director of IIMA, said on Friday. link
     
  • After three successful trials, India's Konkan Railway is ready to commercialise its technology for the sky bus, which offers solutions to transport woes of cities, inter-link cities and move freight too. "Having put to rest doubts that the sky bus suspension can carry heavy loads without shaking, we are now ready to offer the technology for commercial use," said B. Rajaram, managing director of Konkan Railway Corp and inventor of the technology. "We have also been able to prove that our sky bus technology is very cost effective," he said. "The 1.6-km test track with four coaches and two driving bogey have been set up at a cost of under Rs.500 million ($10.89 million) - the sanctioned amount," Rajaram told IANS. After the first successful run on Aug 25, the sky bus has had two subsequent test runs. The last one was on Sep 15 when some 120 people travelled in each of the two coaches of the auto pilot transport system at 60 km per hour. link
     
  • "Techie Ganeshas give a new meaning to recycling" ... To save Powai lake from pollution caused each year during Ganesh Chaturthi, IITians create idols from lake clay for safe immersions. Some of the best examples of eco-friendly Ganesh idols can be seen at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai. Over a week from September 6, a unique workshop called Navsrijan was held at the IIT campus, where participants made Ganesh idols with clay taken from Powai lake. Come Ganesh Chaturthi, these idols will be immersed back into the lake.A clutch of organisations—the Save Powai Lake Committee, the Ladies Club of IIT, the Anken and Devi Temple Committees—came together for the workshop to save the lake from pollution caused by the yearly immersions during Ganesh Chaturthi. ‘‘What we are trying to instill into the people is that whatever we take from nature must be returned,’’ explains Rashmi Misra, chairperson of the Devi Temple Committee. link
     
  • THE director of the National Institute of Training in Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Dr Tapan Bagchi, has been replaced by Professor Ashok Misra of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). Dr Bagchi was arrested and released on bail for insulting an employee belonging to the minority Buddhist community ... IIT spokesperson Aruna Thosar-Dixit confirmed Misra's appointment. Professor Misra will be acting director of NITIE in addition to his regular responsibilities at IIT- Powai. The Union Ministry of Human Resources Development issued the order this week in reaction to the case against Dr Bagchi under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. link
     
  • The IITs and the recently renamed NITs (RECs) barely account for 1% of India's engineering graduates each year as per the Rao Committee Report, a must read for those concerned about India's role as a superpower in the 21st century. Many of the NITs and institutions such as VJTI can impart an IIT-type undergraduate education easily with minor adjustments to their syllabi. Therefore, instead of regarding NITs as second-class institutions many of them can be elevated to an IIT status by giving them full autonomy, financial resources and having a PhD programme, et cetera. This alone will enable the admission of at least 6,000 more students through the current single Joint Entrance Exam system (JEE) in one stroke. With the involvement of IITs, their curricula must be brought in line with that of the IITs as a mandatory step before giving them an IIT status. Bold decisions are therefore the need of the hour. The IITs may be unduly concerned about their brand name being diluted. This need not be so. Take the state of California, for instance. It has a population of approximately 50 million with ten universities under the University of California banner, known as the UC system ... Restructuring the intake formula is critical then to creating a larger pool of well-trained students. For instance, if one looks at the 10+2 student pool in India, out of the 150,000 students who appear for the JEE, the academic credentials of 15,000 who don't make it to an IIT would be highly comparable to the intake of any top state university in the United States. Statistics show that the IITs currently account for just over 1 percent of those entering the four-year degree programme. Compare this with the top 50 schools in the USA that have a comparable undergraduate programme in engineering and account for close to 40 percent of the intake. link
Rediff.com interview with Dr. U.R. Rao, author of the Rao Committee Report. link
 
  • So why are we bringing you Kirpal’s childhood musings? Because it’s Teacher’s Day today. Because she has conceived and edited You Moved My Life (New Dawn Press, Rs 195), a collection of essays dedicated to teachers. And because- quite fittingly - it's being released in her home city Pune ... "I was always impressed with my teachers and knew that many others would be too. I thought the book is a great way to express our gratitude," says Kirpal who now conducts workshops on effective teaching in Pune. Must have been Ms Maggie’s influence ... After college, Kirpal had three offers coming her way: she could have become a probationary officer in State Bank of India, a lecturer in English at IIT Mumbai, or a fellow at IIM Ahmedabad. She had decided to teach and so opted for IIT where she served from 1974-97. She was the Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Mumbai from 1992-94. link
     
  • The Indian Institutes of Management and the management schools of IIT Delhi and Mumbai have retained their positions as the top business schools of the country in a survey by All India Management Association (AIMA). The four IIMs at Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Bangalore and Kolkata are joined in the super league 'A+' category by Xavier Labour Relations Institute (Jamshedpur), MDI (Gurgaon), SP Jain (Mumbai), NITIE (Mumbai), FMS (Delhi), Management schools of IIT Delhi and Mumbai and the Institute of Rural Management (Anand), as per the AIMA ratings released in New Delhi today. In placement season 2003, the average monthly starting pay at most of the Super League schools was upwards of Rs 50,000. link
     
  • Five leading academic institutions - the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Bangalore and Mumbai's S P Jain Institute of Management and Research - are joining hands with a private financier to offer courses designed to nurture entrepreneurial talent. The National Entrepreneurship Network, as it's called, is being funded by the US-based Wadhwani Foundation, promoted by Romesh Wadhwani, a Indian entrepreneur and an IIT, Mumbai, alumnus who dreams of giving "something back to India." The goal of the foundation is to help launch 250 new entrepreneurs every year for the next 10 years. These entrepreneurs, in turn, will help create 500,000-plus jobs over the next decade. Laura Parkin, executive director of the foundation, said the foundation has committed an initial $5.5 million to this initiative. Each of the five institutes has been given a grant of $40,000, and each has to draw up a detailed business plan on how to go about this. link
     
  • Munnabhai 'MBA': Business degrees only matter up to a point. That was the gyan given to students at the Indian Institute of Technology-Powai during the launch of Eureka! 2005 Bootcamp to encourage budding entrepreneurs. When an IITian asked the CEO of Rediff.com India Ltd, Ajit Balakrishnan, how important were IIM and MBA certificates to set up one’s own company, the dotcom chief replied with a straight face: "IIM and MBA courses are not really necessary. In fact, I find most management degrees quite useless."  link
     
  • IIT Bombay alums in the news:
    • Adil Zainulbhai, who headed McKinsey & Company's Washington, DC, office till last month, has moved to India to take charge of its Mumbai office. Zainulbhai, 50, was with the firm for 24 years in the US. In his new role, he will oversee the global management consultancy's huge expansion plans in India. link
    • Symantec Corp. announced the appointment of Dr. Ajei S. Gopal as senior vice president of technology and corporate development. Reporting directly to Symantec's Chairman and CEO, John W. Thompson, Dr. Gopal will be responsible for guiding the company's technology strategy ... Dr. Gopal received his doctorate degree in computer science from Cornell University. He also has a master of science degree from Cornell and a master of science degree from the University of Arizona. He received his bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. link
    • Defence technologist M Natarajan, the man behind the development of the country's first indigenous tank, today took over as the new Chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Dr. Natarajan, who will also hold the post of Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister ... an IIT Chennai alumnus, Dr Natarajan obtained a Masters in Engineering design from IIT Mumbai. He joined the DRDO in 1970 and later obtained a master of science degree in Military Vehicle Technology from Britain's royal military college of science in 1975. link
       
  • Life is too short to be wasted playing silly games. Unless you are Vishal Gondal. This 28-year-old director of IndiaGames Ltd has made a career out of making creative interactive computer games. Starting his own business venture at age 16 from his dad’s garage in Chembur, Gondal was heard with rapt attention by students at the launch of Eureka! 2005 Bootcamp for budding entrepreneurs at the Indian Institute of Technology-Powai, on Sunday. At the annual Eureka! 2005 Bootcamp, the Entrepreneurship cell of IIT encourages students to formulate their own business plans combining technology and vision. link
     
  • Eureka! 2005 is being conducted by The Entrepreneurship Cell in association with NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network), TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and DST (Department of Science and Technology). A maximum of ten teams, selected on the basis of their plans will make it to the finals, currently scheduled on 26th March. These teams will make a detailed presentation of their idea to a panel of judges consisting of distinguished entrepreneurs and venture capitalists from all over the globe. link
     
  • The mecca for all prospective engineers, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), is all set to make a mark the world over. The government is considering letting the institute set up its first international campus in Colombo. This may soon be followed by campuses in other countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Mauritius. Depending on the success of the Colombo venture, IIT may set up shop in other countries, a source in the ministry of human resource development said. The target destinations for IITs are those countries where Indian technical education is in demand. The Council of IITs will also monitor the syllabus, admission procedure and academic schedules of IITs, proposed to be set up abroad. link
     
  • If Silicon Valley returned Ravi Pradhan has his way, hardware vendors in India will find it rather difficult to load unsuspecting buyers with plenty of stuff that they don’t really need. As the India manager of Via Technologies, he is looking at providing affordable computing in India and this year, the company will be working on broadband technology as well. Mr Pradhan, who spent 23 years with top IT companies in the US, said, "An affordable computing solutions lab," that was set up in IIT Bombay was his first step towards this goal." The lab at IIT Bombay has some 60-plus computers of various capacities that can be used by anyone wanting to test their software functionality and hardware requirements. link
     
  • For two years, both parties sparred over the issue. Now, the fight over an estimated 4,000 sq mt of land has reached boiling point, with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ticking off the Indian Institute of Technology IIT Powai. The MMRDA wants IIT to hand over the land so it can proceed with its road-widening plan - eight lanes for the 10.5-km Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road - as part of the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The IIT is not pleased. "It’s not a small matter for us. It involves a loss of about Rs 20 crore," says Aruna Thosar-Dixit, spokesperson for the premier institute. "We are still discussing the issue," says the spokesperson, adding that they have asked the Human Resources Development Ministry to intervene. IIT is also concerned over whether it will be compensated adequately. But Chandrashekhar is unfazed. "IIT cannot refuse to hand over land just because it belongs to the Central government," he says.  link

     
August 2004
  • While many successful technology companies in Silicon Valley trace their origins to an Indian hand, few Indian technology start-ups believe they can build successful companies in India. The lack of domain knowledge and a miniscule domestic market have been restricting the creation of a company with an Indian base. Powai Labs, a start-up company based at the IIT Mumbai campus, is aiming to do this by bringing down the cost of Electronics Design Automation (EDA) tools with an innovative product. Typically, the big emulation boxes and simulation accelerators cater to a design size of 50 million ASIC gates at costs ranging from $2 million to $4 million per unit. This price tag makes the process of validating designs extremely prohibitive. There are no cost-effective options for companies which want to test smaller design sizes in the range of 2 million ASIC gates as they still have to test their designs on a bigger emulation box. Now Powai Labs is looking to disrupt the EDA space by offering tools that are so affordable that a chip design firm can give them to every engineer in the company. This means that instead of testing their designs on a big emulation box, a company can just buy emulation cards from Powai Labs and give one to each of its engineers. The product is appropriately titled IMAGE (I Made A Great Emulator). link
     
  • Designed to accommodate 150 commuters and travel at speeds as high as 100 km/hour, Sky Bus railway transit coaches built for India's Konkan Railway (Mumbai, India) by Kineco Pvt. Ltd. (Goa, India) are expected to ease public transportation in congested metro areas. Coaches will have 4 meter/13.1-ft-wide sliding passenger doors and travel in tandem above existing roadways, suspended beneath an overhead concrete-enclosed railway supported by vertical concrete columns. Inside the track enclosure, electrically powered "bogies" will travel on a patented "floating" track system. The prototype coach was developed in only three months to meet the railway's October 2003 deadline, with assistance from Bombay-based Mozaic Design and the Indian Institute of Technology. Sky Bus begins dynamic trials this month on a 1.6-km/1-mile test-track near Goa. Work could begin on the first commercial route, a 15-km/9.3-mile, $90 million+ line between the two cities of Panaji and Mapusa, in early 2005. link
     
  • Two years from now the Philippine farmers could diagnose crop pests by accessing the Internet, or share news with peers anywhere in the country by electronic mail .. the idea of putting up an open academy in the Philippines was first tossed to the Alliance by William Dar, the former Philippines agriculture secretary and now India-based ICRISAT director general ... the program drew inspiration from the experience of fisherfolk of Pondicherry in Chennai south of India. M.S. Swaminathan, former IRRI director general ... placed computers in the village center, then connected them to the Internet which the regular weather reports of the Indian astronomical office would be accessed. "They could now be able to determine low and high tide before sailing off to the sea to fish. The weather report is broadcast by loudspeakers and through VHF [very high frequency] radios," said Barroga. From the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, the cellular phone-using Indian farmers could also monitor agricultural products prices by short messaging service (SMS), or texting. Local computer scientists retooled their computers by replacing the keyboard keys with Indian characters for better communication. They also designed iconic websites for nonreading audiences. link
     
  • "At the gates of glory" ... India Abroad profiled the toppers of IIT Bombay's Class of 2004, including President's Gold Medal winner Navneet Loiwal and Institute Gold Medal winner Amol Gogate ... The seven Indian Institutes of Technology ... produce thousands of graduates each year. Their annual convocations are rites of passage for the brightest, most promising minds, picked on merit through a keenly contested nationwide entrance test. Only the keenest survive the grueling academic regimen ... As the IIT Bombay campus readied for its 42nd Convocation August 6, India Abroad trailed the toppers for a taste of their ambition, a look into the life they leave behind, and a peek at the road ahead. ... Navneet Loiwal flew down to Mumbai from San Francisco where he works with Internet search major Google to lead his graduating batch through the pledge of responsibility. "I find the Google work culture fantastic and the people extremely talented. It’s a treat to work with them," says the topper ... In about ten years, Navneet hopes to start a company that "will be just as popular as Google with that many people." "But it will be in India," he says with a winsome smile. 
    Behind every successful young man is a hand that rocked his cradle. Both toppers fondly dedicated their gold medals to their mothers. "I feel proud to be his ma," says Madhu Loiwal, tenderly kissing Navneet’s cheek ... Pramila and Subhash Gogate flew down from Aurangabad to be with Amol during his moment of pride. "The standard of education in a small town like Aurangabad is different, as is the competition level," says Gogate ... "What he achieved in adverse circumstances is the lesson others must look to learn."  link
     
  • India's Ministry of Human Resource Development has withdrawn the order issued in February 2003 requiring all donations to educational institutions to be sent through the Bharat Shiksha Kosh (BSK). "This order had taken away the autonomy of educational institutions ... causing widespread dismay. The said order has been withdrawn" as of July 27, 2004. MHRD expressed the hope that revoking the order will "restore your autonomy on this issue and will encourage donors, the former alumni and others to help you develop your institutions further." link
  • When Rabiz Foda shops for groceries, he knows the exact total of his bill before the cashier rings it in. When he plays bridge, he just can't help it: He counts cards. If you wake him up in the middle of the night, he can instantly tell you the square root of three (1.7321) and pi to the fourth digit (3.1416). Mr. Foda, 52, comes by his love affair with numbers, algorithms and complex mathematical equations honestly. He was born in Bombay, India. And he is a graduate of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), a celebrated engineering college recently described by Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes as the most important university in the world that you have never heard of, with more brain power than Harvard, MIT and Princeton put together. Yet in Canada, the value of an IIT graduate degree still doesn't resonate as much to the frustration of the engineers and high-tech gurus who immigrate here expecting to be received as enthusiastically as they are in California's Silicon Valley, only to end up working at Tim Hortons. A nuclear engineer who arrived in Toronto more than a year ago is doing door-to-door sales. "We have a great brand image in the U.S. and all over the world. In Canada, the recognition is lacking," says Mr. Foda, president of IIT Alumni Canada. "The U.S. is definitely more open and internationally minded, and the industries there have spread their wings far and wide. Canada is a little slow to pick up on trends. Why not be the leaders instead of following the U.S.?" link
     
  • When Rajesh Subramaniam left Thiruvananthapuram in the early 1980s, the idea of going to the U.S. was but a distant dream. After a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the IIT Bombay, however, Mr. Rajesh walked a "well-trodden path" to the U.S. At 38 years of age today, he heads the Canada Division of the Fedex Express, America's premier express transportation company. In a recent interview to The Hindu , Rajesh did some plain speaking on the irreversibility of globalisation, on India's strengths in the global market and how the country needs to put its act together on the infrastructure front to stay abreast of the global market. link
     
  • "Brand IIT set to go global" ... With a year left to go before the country has to open up its education sector to foreign investment under the WTO regime, the Centre is taking its first cautious step in setting up shop abroad. At a meeting with the directors of the seven IITs today, the HRD Ministry stopped short of agreeing to set up a full-fledged IIT in Singapore. But the IITs will be part of joint collaborative programmes with technical institutions, and help run post-graduate technical training projects ... Singapore will be the first case of an IIT moving out. There are several proposals for IITs abroad pending clearance from the government. Among countries seriously interested are Sri Lanka and Mauritius. This ... meeting also focused on the IITs’ funding pattern. HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s predecessor Murli Manohar Joshi had introduced the performance and research-related funding which meant the IIT directors and finance officers had to come to the ministry with a begging bowl every now and then. Singh is actively considering reverting to the earlier pattern of "block grants" whereby universities were given amounts in bulk and then expected to provide utilisation certificates. link
     
  • People join great companies, but leave bad bosses - this is the highlight of an award-winning study on HR aspects which emphasises the need for greater communication between management and employees of any organisation. Nandkishore Rathi from IIT Bombay, author of the study, highlights the fact that faces represent organisations to many employees and perceptions of turnover among software professionals and HR managers differ substantially. Rathi’s research won the Mercer Award 2003 for the most innovative and practical research on HR from Asia from among 100 research projects from 38 top Asian universities across 12 countries. link
     
  • "Wired News" - What is the square of 85? In an instant, a 17-year-old boy said without blinking, "7,225." Kamlesh Shetty had used a trick from a quaint concept called Vedic math, a compilation of arithmetic shortcuts believed to have been written by ancient Indians who lived centuries before Christ, during a glorious period in Indian history called the Vedic Age. Its math has now crawled into the 21st century to further Shetty's dream of cracking a nasty engineering entrance exam. Shetty is preparing for the prestigious Joint Entrance Exam. Over 150,000 candidates take this entrance exam every year to compete for only about 3,500 seats in the Indian Institute of Technology. Two-thirds of IIT's graduates leave for America, augmenting the thousands already there who contribute to the institute's reputation. American colleges and industry greatly favor students from IIT, a situation that has only increased competition to enter the institute. Pradeep Kumar, who teaches Vedic math in Delhi, said, "There is an increasing interest among IIT aspirants to take the help of Vedic math." Kumar charges such students about $120 for 40 hours of lessons. He teaches more than 200 students in the classroom and guides over 600 through long-distance courses. link
     
  • Harnessing of technologies will help India achieve a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 2-3 trillion in the next 15 years, from the current USD 650 billion, according to Reliance Industries Ltd chairman and managing director Mukesh D Ambani. "Technology has a crucial role to play and in the emerging knowledge age it has a decisive role in shaping India's future," Ambani said in his convocation address of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, on Friday. Stating that India has invested her meagre resources in the students, Ambani urged the IIT students to shoulder the responsibility of making the country an economical superpower, that too in their lifetime. IIT Bombay Board of Governors chairman Rahul Bajaj said, "As the Indian economy moves up the value chain and we see corresponding changes in society, we will see a large portion of our intellectual capital return back." Indians would back and contribute to the nation-building process, he added. link
     
  • Why not replace the ancient blackboard and chalk system with hi-tech multimedia learning solutions? That’s precisely the question that IIT Mumbai professor Kirti Trivedi sought to answer. The result: A solution that claims to revolutionize training; both in the corporate and academic sector. IL&FS Education & Technology Services (ETS) along with IIT Mumbai has developed a compact media centre called K-YAN, which combines the functions of a multimedia computer, a large format TV, DVD/VCD/CD Player, CD writer, LCD projector, Internet surfing, video conferencing and a visual audio studio system in a single compact unit. link
     
  • IIT Bombay alums in the news:
    • LSI Logic Corporation named Umesh Padval as executive vice president of Consumer Products, reporting to Wilf Corrigan, LSI Logic chairman and chief executive officer. "Umesh has directed LSI Logic's R&D and customer outreach activities in DVD, high-definition video and EVD. He will now draw upon his expertise in these fields to direct the company's overall consumer effort, focusing on DVD recorder, EVD player, video infrastructure, video game console and portable audio player markets." Padval received a bachelor's degree in Technology from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Master of Science degrees in Engineering from Pennsylvania State University and from Stanford University. link
    • Outsourcing is a not just a hot topic among technology companies - it is also drawing the attention of the academic world. And Vijay Gurbaxani, professor and associate dean at the University of California Irvine's Graduate School of Management, is quickly rising to the forefront. He is the author of a book, "Managing Information Systems Costs" ... he has an integrated five-year master's degree in mathematics and computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. link
    • BindView Corp. announced the appointment of Shekar Ayyar to the position of senior vice president for product marketing ... he earned a Bachelor of Science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. link
       
  • Rubble in 'bio-clean' Powai lake ... even as desilting work continues, truckers dump construction waste near the lake after midnight. In the dead of the night, at around 2.30 am, a heavy-duty dumper filled with construction debris like broken concrete tiles and earth quietly parks on the edge of Powai lake. Soon, it reverses and moves deeper into the grassy land enveloping the waterfront and in no time unloads its useless cargo before vamoosing from the scene. Such illegal dumpings at the protected lakeside have been happening regularly over the past few weeks, even as the residents restarted the ‘Save Powai Lake Campaign’ last fortnight. link
     
  • IIT Mumbai with backing from Media Labs Asia has designed a bilingual keyboard, KeyLekh, based on Indic alphabetic structure. IIT claims this is the first time a keyboard based on Indic alphabet structure has been introduced in India, meaning a user should know how to type in Hindi and would not require to learn the keyboard settings. Any operating system supporting Unicode can use this keyboard without additional software or driver. IIT is now looking to market the same and is in talks with TVSE and Logitech. The project initiated a year back is headed by Professor Aniruddha Joshi, who heads and co-funds Medialabs. IIT plans to launch more versions of KeyLekh with more scripts. link
     
  • India will begin the test run of a sky bus in Goa in the first week of August, the railway ministry said Wednesday. Several states and countries have evinced interest in the sky bus project, which promises effective transportation in busy and congested metros as the system would operate above road-level. "The sky bus has been conceived as the most economic and eco-friendly solution designed to solve bulk transportation problems in cities like Mumbai and Delhi without taking any urban space," the ministry stated. The new technology would be capable of delivering the same functions of an underground and elevated heavy metro system, while being safer and costing less than half of the quarter of foreign technologies. ELIN EGB of Austria, Bharat Earth Movers Ltd., Jindal Steel and the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai have partnered Konkan Railway in this pilot project. link
July 2004
 
 
<Faculty Alumni Network (FAN) event in Chicago on October 11-12 after PanIIT2009. link
 
Discounted rates till May 3rd for PanIIT 2009 conference is to be held in Chicago from Oct 9-11 ... register now. link
 
Get IIT Bombay news and updates via Twitter. link
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Election results for two positions on the Executive Committee of the Mumbai Chapter of IITBAA. link
  • Infosys CEO Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE) spoke to Shekhar Gupta, editor-in-chief of The Indian Express, about his focus on philanthropy, how the company’s founders are all ‘Leftists-turned-capitalists’, and on the new constituency of professionals who are shaping the policies and mindset of the country. Excerpts from the interview telecast on NDTV 24X7’s Walk the Talk:

    Q: But that is because of the reforms. You have had your brushes with politics in a different way. This is the hostel (in IIT Powai) that you built, or the heads built with their money. And this was then described or dismissed as ‘‘luxurious’’, ‘‘wasteful’’ by the last HRD minister.
    A: Well, you know what happened was this IIT had about 3,000 rooms. And this has been the status, except for the ladies’ hostel, for the last 30 years. Students were living two in a room, in rooms not meant for one person also. So both the IIT authorities and I felt that we could take this greatly forward by building a high-quality hostel. This is a great example of public-private partnership.
    Q: After the controversy, you were forbidden from giving money to IITs. You had to go through that silly Bharat Shiksha Kosh.
    A: Well, I think, we really need to go beyond all that. All of us who have contributed to IIT have a great sense of repayment of old debts. And that’s the only motivation that we have. If we can help this place become world-class, that’s all we want. So, if the spirit is understood, I don’t think all these controversies will erupt in the future.
    Q: So how much have you contributed so far to this IIT?
    A: About Rs 22 crore, of which Rs 11 crore is for this hostel.

    Full text of the interview ...
    link
     
  • Agere Systems announced that noted scientist Arun Netravali (BTech '67 EE) will join its Board of Directors, effective immediately. Netravali, a globally renowned technologist who served as Bell Labs president from 1999 to 2001, earned more than 70 patents during his 32-year career at AT&T and Lucent Technologies. In 2002, U.S. President George W. Bush awarded Netravali a National Medal of Technology for both his pioneering work in digital video and his technology leadership of Bell Labs. Netravali currently manages a $250 million venture capital fund under formation that will focus on U.S.-Indian technology companies. "We're delighted to add a technologist and innovator of Arun's stature to our board," said John Dickson, president and CEO of Agere. link
     
  • The world's largest, fastest router — a device that connects computer networks and helps them swap packets of data — will enter the next edition of the Guinness Book of Records, fuelled by key processor chips designed by the India-born hardware engineer Rajiv Deshmukh (BTech '79 EE) and his United States-based team at Cisco. The networking product leader's Carrier Routing System (CRS-1), which is specifically tailored to Internet and data service providers, shifts data at a whopping 92 terabits a second — at least 100 times larger than any offering existing. (A tera bit is a trillion bits, that is a million, million bits). In its announcement of the Guinness accolade, the company saluted the crucial role played by Rajiv Deshmukh, Director of Hardware Engineering and his team, who realised the crucial Silicon Packet Processor (SPP) chip, as well as all other application-special integrated circuits (ASICs) that helped the router achieve its zippy speed. "The numbers behind SPP, put Mr. Deshmukh in the big leagues of chip design," says Cisco. link
     
  • McKinsey Quarterly - "A richer future for India" by Diana Farrell and Adil "Scratch" Zainulbhai (BTech '77 ME) : Two industries have shown what can be achieved when the country opens itself up to the world. Now the rest of the economy should follow suit. The astonishing election upset in India has put the future of its economic-reform program in question. With the victorious Congress Party depending on Leftist parties for parliamentary support, uncertainty is running high about the future of the country’s privatization, deregulation, and foreign-investment reforms. Voters have sent a clear message about the need for broad-based economic growth that lifts all boats. But some members of the winning coalition may well misinterpret that message. India’s recent experience - and that of its Asian neighbors - shows that continuing rural poverty stems not from too much economic reform but rather from too little. link
     
  • China is challenging India as a low-cost home for software development. In the process, says Dale L. Fuller, president and chief executive of Borland Software in Scotts Valley, Calif., the technology industry is becoming ever more globalized. Following are excerpts from a conversation with him:
    Q. Is India still the country where Western companies look when they outsource technology work?
    A. It is clear today that India has the leadership, in terms of market share, for software development and outsourcing. The reason for that is that they had an early jump start. They began by being more Westernized and having more English speakers. A lot of guys who came over here from their institutes of technology and got trained here have now gone back. A lot of the start-ups during the Internet bubble were Indian, and a lot of the resources here in Silicon Valley were the holders of H-1B visas, who also transferred back after the bubble burst.
    Q. But the Chinese are catching up?
    A. Over the past couple of years, we've seen China really put the pressure on by bringing their skills sets up. They have the language barrier. But their president made the statement that everyone will be speaking English within 20 years. They're making some really big strides.
    link
     
  • New York Times - July 17, 2004: THE rooftop terrace at Cosmo Village (in Bangalore) was crowded with young partygoers savoring the temperate night air, oversize Kingfisher beers, and their place in this moment of global economic convergence. At one table, five friends from Singapore sat with a 6-foot-3, 23-year-old anomaly: Joshua Bornstein, perhaps the only native-born American among the Bangalore-based employees of Infosys Technologies, one of India's software and services giants, and one of the few Americans of his generation in Bangalore. For all the complaints about American jobs migrating here through outsourcing, few Americans have thought to follow them. Eight months ago, Josh Bornstein did. He quit his job at an investment banking firm in Los Angeles and came to this southern city on the Deccan plateau. "Everyone talks about globalization left and right," he said. "This is the way the world is moving." He works in corporate planning, helping seven units hone their business plans, and regularly sits in on meetings with the Infosys chief executive, Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE), and other senior executives. link
     
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Persistent Systems Pvt Ltd have joined hands to leverage high quality of information technology (IT) education in the institute and extending its reach to IT professionals in Pune, to upgrade themselves and keep pace with rapidly changing technology. The Persistent Remote Centre for IIT was inaugurated in Pune on Monday. Anand Deshpande, chief managing director (CMD), Persistent said the distance education programme will not only be open to employees of Persistent but also to other IT professionals in the city. However, Persistent employees would be getting a 40 per cent discount on the course fee, he added. link
     
  • In a leafy corner of the IIT Powai campus, the morning calm is broken by kindergarten children chanting a lesson. But beneath the tranquillity at the Campus School, something insidious is brewing — the unhealthy practice of academic segregation. A month ago, the school introduced a system of splitting up its class X students into two sections based on their academic performance. Accelerated programmes have been implemented for the "brighter students" in section A, while teachers are expected to maintain a slower pace for the "weaker students" of section B. An academic committee, including IIT professors and officers, decided that segregation was the solution. link
     
  • Cummins India is ... setting up a Diesel Engine laboratory at IIT, Mumbai, a formal announcement of which is expected to be made in the coming fortnight, Sanjay Jagtap, Cummins Diesel India Foundation, told Business Line when contacted ... work on Cummins India's diesel engine laboratory at IIT, Mumbai has already commenced and is expected to be complete by December this year, Jagtap said adding that the laboratory is expected to be functional by the next academic year. In addition to funding the project, the group will also provide a diesel engine and technical support along with visiting engineers from the company who will guide research students on the site. "We have an on-going research programme in diesel engines and this project will allow us to pursue research through independent researchers at IIT. In addition to making strides in business, the laboratory will also help take us nearer to the campus and attract the best talent there is available there," Jagtap said. link
     
  • "Designer rickshaws" ... A newly-designed auto rickshaw, sturdier than the existing ones, with more internal space, could soon hit the roads while hundreds of visitors who throng the Prince of Wales museum might be able to view more objects in lesser time. That's if the design projects undertaken by students of the industrial design centre at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, take shape soon. This year's two day exhibition, which began on Saturday, has two sections — visual communication and industrial design — and include a compact sports utility vehicle, a new bicycle design for adolescents, a passenger-cum-cargo microbus, low-cost three dimensional holographic projection and products in metal and glass. link
     
  • IT’S been three years since Rs 6.62 crore was sanctioned by the Union government to clean up Powai lake ... on Thursday morning, about 1,000 children from four local schools assembled on the waterfront to restart the Save Powai Lake Campaign. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) obtained BMC permission to start its own desilting operations on one side of the lake. The institute also plans to revive boating on the lake. link
     
  • The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE) in the "On the Record" segment .... "Nandan Nilekani is president and CEO of Infosys Technologies, one of the world's largest outsourcing firms, with about 25,600 employees and more than a $1 billion in revenues last year. Founded in 1981, Infosys is based in Bangalore, India, and has its U.S. headquarters in Fremont."
    Q: So, how far ahead do you think an IIT graduate would be compared to an engineering graduate from UC Berkeley?
    A: I don't know. But you have to understand that at IIT, these guys are the best and the brightest: 200,000 kids appear for this (entrance) exam and 2, 000 or something get in. So it's just that when you have a test like that, the guys who come out at the end of the final are really the best and the most brilliant of the lot. So it's a self-fulfilling thing. It's an extraordinary selection process that guarantees that they're a very high caliber.
    link
     
  • "Syntel Supremo: Bharat Desai" ... There is a picture of him shaking hands with the Pope, proof of his globetrotting experiences. On his desk rests a sculptured twirl of brass, proof of appreciation from his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. And last week, he plucked his vice president of marketing, Jonathan James, out of his comfortable Cary, NC residence and is shipping him, family and home, to India for a fairly long stint—irrefutable proof that Bharat Desai (BTech '75 EE) doesn’t just claim that he is building Syntel into a global corporation, but is executing it quietly. "From this summer, we are recruiting graduates from U.S. universities and will have them work from one of our global delivery centers in India," says James, "where they can truly learn to work in a globally-distributed model. There are no borders at Syntel and fresh graduates who can grasp this seamless culture will be immensely rich talent for any company." link
     
  • India announced it has developed a preliminary design for a hyperplane, the most ambitious project of the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Indian Parliament July 8 that DRDO scientists "have evolved" a hyperplane design based on “certain technology packages [which] are being developed with participation of academic institutions … However, no project has been sanctioned for developing a hyperplane.” A senior DRDO scientist told DefenseNews.com on July 9 that the design for the hyperplane, called Avatar, is an effort by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Hyderabad; Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai; and the Aeronautical Development Agency, Bangalore. link
     
  • "Techies on top" ... It’s boom time again for engineering students. After last year’s dismal placement scene, this batch of fourth-years have job offers pouring in for the July-August placement season ... With competition getting tougher, even the students and staff of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai, are breathing sighs of relief. ‘‘Only 65 per cent of our students were placed last year. This time, I’m sure most of them will bag jobs,’’ says Sudeep Laad, General Secretary, IIT. link
     
  • The internet is beginning to have a revolutionary effect on the 700 million people who live in villages in India - and the charge is being led by women. A project set up by one of India's leading technology institutes has put women in charge of forging the way across the digital divide as the proprietors of a fast-growing number of internet cafes or kiosks around the sub-continent. In total 80% of these new kiosks are run by women, many of whom have had very little or no acquaintance with technology before. Asha Sanjay, of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Madras that established the scheme, says that while in some places people are not able to get a bus to the next village, the net allows them to connect to the world. link
     
  • "IIT goes Lalu way" ... No one is sipping tea out of plastic cups at IIT Kharagpur these days. The institute has put a ban on the use of plastic cups within the campus. A notice to this effect has been sent to department heads, canteens, food stalls and kiosks, hostel superintendents and markets, from the director's office. "IIT-Kgp is the only one in the IIT chain to have started this. I hope others will follow our example" ... link
     
  • The IIT Bombay campus and the areas surrounding Sanjay Gandhi National Park are gripped by fear and panic over leopard attacks. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 32 attacks by leopards in Mumbai, out of which 12 cases have been fatal. Authorities are planning to release pigs and rabbits in the park and traps are being set up outside the park. A low-voltage electric fence will be built to prevent the estimated 30 leopards from leaving the park.
  • Prowling in Powai - Mumbai Newsline
June 2004
  • Wall Street Journal - "Missing the True Significance Of Outsourcing" by Prof. Amar Bhide (BTech '77 ChE): "Faced with a backlash against outsourcing in services, free-traders in Washington have demanded that India reduce its duties on imports. The argument goes that more jobs from U.S. exports would take away the argument for protectionism. For their part, Indian policy makers are betting that outsourcing has become an unstoppable trend that will soon make India an economic powerhouse regardless of what detractors say or attempt. In fact, both views represent wishful thinking and miss the true significance of the outsourcing trade. And indeed that misconception is one of the factors that cost many Indian politicians their jobs in the elections that ended in May ... favoring exports over domestic activity can hinder economic development. Such a bias is evident in a variety of Indian government policies today ... a multinational company can set up an outsourcing unit in a matter of months but will face significant obstacles if it tried to establish a subsidiary to serve the local market. Unless the government creates the same conditions for the domestic industry that have allowed exporters to flourish, the software campuses and call centers in India may well become like the oil company compounds in Nigeria. India's new rulers ignore this at their peril." link
     
  • The Faculty Alumni Network (FAN), a key initiative of the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund, successfully held the FAN 2004 meetings on May 15th and 16th at Rickey's Hyatt in Palo Alto, California. The attendees included 15 IIT Bombay faculty members, 15 FAN members as well as Deans of Engineering from Harvard, UCLA and other US universities. The primary objective of the meeting was to work together to assist IIT Bombay realize its vision of becoming a world-class research university, and the theme for FAN 2004 was "Nano-bio Technology and Entrepreneurship". The primary objective of the meeting was interaction of IIT Bombay faculty, distinguished alumni and FAN members to develop an action plan to work together to assist IIT Bombay realize its vision of becoming a world-class research university. Researchers from both countries exchanged ideas on what research is being done and how IIT Bombay can collaborate with universities in the US. link
     
  • The big cat has returned to the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology at Powai, only this time it's grown bolder. On Tuesday, it was spotted on the main street inside the campus by two students who actually fell off their bicycles in fear. Ever since they heard of the animal striking for the eighth time on Tuesday morning, resident faculty and students have started feeling the heat. "Panthers have always been spotted in the IIT grounds for over decades. But it's only now that they are being sighted so often," says Aruna Dixit, public relations officer, IIT. Dixit added that no one has ever been attacked by the animal till date and the institute will take every precaution to keep it at bay. "Students are definitely concerned about the issue but they aren't scared," says Dixit. The IIT management shall also hold a meeting to decide upon measures that can be taken for the safety of students. IIT security officer, Major Rajesh Dinkar told TNN that patrolling had been increased inside the campus, especially at night. Officers have also been armed with lathis and firecrackers to scare away the animal. link
     
  • When Uttam Ghoshal started NanoCoolers Inc. he was looking for a better way to cool refrigerators and other such appliances, but the high-tech industry came calling. Now the company is racing toward market with a cooling system for laptops and other computers. NanoCoolers' cooling system uses a tiny electromagnetic pump that circulates a "nontoxic liquid metal" along chip components, and transfers the heat from hot spots so that it dissipates, according to Ghoshal, the company's chief technology officer. Called "solid-state refrigeration," this method of cooling computers differs from previous approaches. NanoCoolers has 29 employees and is backed by about $19 million in funding. Ghoshal came to the United States in 1983 after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He also has a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Berkley. link
     
  • Former chairman of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) F.C. Kohli, fondly called the "Bheeshma Pitamaha" of the information technology (IT) revolution in India, is spearheading a movement to boost the study of micro-electronics in Indian colleges and institutions. The initiative, under the aegis of the TCS, is to give a fillip to hardware development in India. "Only about 300 micro-electronic engineers pass out every year in India, when we need about 4,000 of them per annum," said Kohli. Towards that end, he has suggested to the government to set up departments of micro-electronics in at least 100 engineering colleges across the country. According to Kohli, the government has agreed to the proposal and 44 colleges have been identified so far. The project was initiated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai, and 60 M.Techs in micro-electronics will pass out this year, he told the gathering at the CSI-Nihilent egovernance awards’ presentation ceremony in the city. link
     
  • The lush green campus of IIT Powai became, for five days, a home to over 800 delegates from India and abroad, who came together to attend the 19th National Convention of SPICMACAY from June 1 to 5. The programme was dedicated to Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Ustad Vilayat Khan and Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra. The inaugural show was in the evening. The performers for the day were shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan and kathak exponent Pt Birju Maharaj, who enthralled the audience. On the second day, Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar presented a dhrupad recital in the morning, which was followed by workshops for delegates on music, dance, theatre, yoga and handicrafts. Shabana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh staged their critically-acclaimed play Tumhari Amrita in the evening. The concerts were the highlights of the convention. The inaugural show was rated the best, with Ustad Bismillah Khan performing some of the audience’s favourite tunes on the shehnai and Pt Birju Maharaj charming one and all with his enactment of young Krishna, peacocks, ducks and, unbelievably, the telephone. Maya Jadhav’s lavani performance with her troupe was a huge hit. The performance by the Sufi singers of Wadali Bandhu was highly appreciated. The SPICMACAY magazine, The Eye, was also relaunched. Next year’s event will be held in Manipal. link
     
  • Sunday Express - "Hindu Pundamentalist" - "On a nippy winter’s day in February 1993, a taxi left New Delhi’s decidedly dowdy Lodhi Hotel for the Andrews Ganj government housing complex. Its passenger was a mousy, somewhat worried man. His company’s IPO had been undersubscribed. He was looking to a college friend, now in the Planning Commission, for help. Upon arrival, the visitor requested his host to invest Rs 10,000 in equity from the promoter’s quota. It was no avail. Like all good government servants, this one too began by saying he had no money. In any case, he cheerfully informed the frazzled entrepreneur, he didn’t buy shares. Eleven years on, Jairam Ramesh calls that refusal the "the single biggest mistake of my life". His guest that day was Nandan Nilekani, the company in question, Infosys. The chance was gone. Jairam owns no Infosys stock, still insists he has no money and has had to settle, this week, for the humble station of MP designate. link
     
  • NEW DELHI: The AICC general secretaries RK Dhawan and Mohsina Kidwai, the secretary of the Congress economic cell Jairam Ramesh, former BSP leader Rashid Alvi and 10 Janpath loyalist Capt Satish Sharma, prepared themselves to enter the Rajya Sabha, as the AICC announced its nine candidates for the Rajya Sabha elections on Tuesday ... Although Mr Ramesh is from Karnataka, he has already registered himself as a voter in AP. link
     
  • It is jubilation time at Sushant Sachdeva’s house in Pune on Thursday. Sachdeva topped the all-India common merit list for the Indian Institute of Technology— Joint Entrance Exam (IIT-JEE) mains, 2004. The IIT mains is the last of the two hurdles which aspirants are needed to clear to enter the prestigious institution. Sushant emerged top among the 4,400-odd rankings declared by the competent authority for IIT JEE for 3,500-odd seats in the seven IITs across the country, besides, the seats in the Institute of Technology Benaras Hindu University (IT-BHU), Varanasi and the Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad. "Doing well was my aim, but I never thought I would do so well" (said) an elated Sushant, who aspires for a B.Tech in computers or electronics. link
     
  • After one tragedy, many twists and countless turns, the Satyendra Dubey murder case has hit an anti-climax. More than six months after the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) project manager was shot dead, the CBI last night arrested four persons from Kataria village of Gaya on charges of killing the IIT graduate. The arrested — Babloo Mehtar, Uday Mallah, Mantoo Paswan, Tutoo Paswan — have been sent to 10 days of CBI custody. Dubey, a whistle blower to the PMO regarding alleged corruption by the contractor-official nexus in executing the GQ project, was initially suspected to have been killed by this nexus. But as it turned out, CBI sources said, he was just one among the many who routinely fall victim to lawlessness in Laloo Yadav’s Bihar. link
     
  • Spam checking is now being done for all mail sent to your IIT Bombay orwarding address. The IP address of the domain sending mail to your e-mail address is checked for a valid DNS and is also cross-checked against two industry-standard real-time blacklists of known spam domains - Spamhaus and SpamCop. Suspected spam e-mails are not deleted and are just tagged as SPAM in the subject line and by inserting an X-Header. The text inserted in the Subject line is "*****SPAM*****" and the X-Headers inserted in the message are as follows: X-IMAIL-SPAM-DNSBL (name_of_service, message_ID, IP address/reason) - The message matched a DNS black list, and X-IMAIL-SPAM-VALREVDNS (message ID) - The message failed the reverse DNS lookup validation. link
     
  • Hoshedar K. Press (BTech '70 EE), ED and President of Godrej Consumer Product Ltd. (GCPL) was interviewed by India Infoline ... GCPL is a major player in the Indian FMCG market with leadership in personal, hair, household and fabric care segments. It is the largest marketer of toilet soaps in the country with leading brands such as Cinthol, Fairglow and Godrej No 1 ... Hoshedar K. Press ... is an Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and a Management graduate from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He led the marketing division during the joint venture of Godrej Soaps with Proctor & Gamble. In his present capacity, he is responsible for the marketing, sales and manufacturing of the company's consumer products. He is also the Vice President of Indian Soap & Toiletries Association. link
     
  • Where many people may see India as part of the offshore epidemic carrying jobs overseas, one local engineer views it as a place to nurture an untold number of scientific discoveries -- and jobs in the Piedmont Triad. N. Radhakrishnan, a 66-year-old native of Chennai, India, is vice chancellor for research and economic development at N.C. A&T. He plans to churn out new biotechnology, information-technology and nanotechnology companies by recruiting the research prowess of engineers and scientists at Indian Institute of Technology, India's MIT. He will travel to India in July to sign research agreements he hopes will turn into patents and spur the creation of new firms that can commercialize them. The agreements could lead to exchanging students and faculty, he said. Through the connection with IIT, Radhakrishnan wants to lure Indian companies to invest in the Piedmont Triad, too. link
     
  • Man with the Midas Touch - Kanwal Rekhi has been championing the cause of Indians for long ... "I have a strong desire to see India emerge as a strong capitalist democracy like the US in my life time and feel it is well on its way now," he adds. Mr Rekhi has gifted $2 million to his alma mater IIT Bombay to help set up School of Information Technology. He also provided a $5-million gift to Michigan Technological University. "Success did not come easy for Mr Rekhi but he earned it. He is a role model for others who want to turn their dreams into reality through hard work," the president of Michigan Technology University, Curt Tompkins, once said. And rightly so. link
     
  • BBC News - Students at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay have been going back to their roots - at least temporarily. Teacher Ila Tiwari says too many Indian children get no exposure to classical culture The country's leading technology school has this week been hosting performances by world-renowned artists of Indian classical music and dance ... Mr Seth, alumnus of the IIT and Columbia University, gave up a plum job with Bell Laboratories to take up teaching, and is now a professor at IIT Delhi. "SPIC MACAY was born when I saw how little students knew about our culture." Mr Seth says SPIC MACAY aims to make up for what the education system lacks by introducing students to classical music, folk music and meditation. link
     
  • Five days Cultural Extravaganza to mark SPIC MACAY’s 19th National Convention at IIT, Powai ... Ustad Bismillah Khan and Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj will share the stage at IIT Powai’s annual SPICMACAY ("Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth") national convention. Besides the two, there will be Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar, Dr Balamuralikrishna and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. Also, if you have not seen the highly appreciated play Tumhari Amrita (starring Shabana Azmi and Farooque Sheikh), catch it here. (IIT Powai, June 1-5). link
     
  • Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today urged young engineers to use technological innovation for the benefit of the people and to help solve their basic problems. Addressing the sixth convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, Shekhawat told the young graduates, "I can assure you, nothing more will be satisfying than finding solutions to basic problems of the common man. Let this noble thought be always your motivation, inspiration and guiding force in your life ahead" ... The IIT, Shekhawat said, was the finest brand name that India has produced. This brand name was recognised all over the professional world for quality and excellence. "We should strive hard to preserve the distinctive features of the IIT system in the country," he said. link
     
  • Chetan Bhagat's new book "Five Point Someone" is reviewed in The Economic Times ... "A breezy read, Bhagat’s first novel takes you through the lives of three low-graders (scoring around five; hence the title) at the haloed institute. Contrary to its tagline, it isn't really a surmise on what to do at India’s top tech school. In fact, IIT provides a good setting for the alumnus; its protagonists could have been at any campus. That is the book’s high point; the universal appeal of its characters will strike a chord with most, at the same time giving you a wonderful insight into goings-on at the much-revered school. link
May 2004
"The old order changeth, giving place to the new" ... former Minister for Human Resources Development, Murli Manohar Joshi lost his safe seat in Allahabad as the NDA Government was swept out of power ...  "Festive mood at IIM-A as Joshi loses" and "Winds of change are blowing through the Human Resource Development Ministry". And exit one IIT Bombay alum from India's political center stage and enter another ... IITian Jairam Ramesh (BTech ME '75) is in charge of the Common Minimum Program for the new UPA government in India link ... while key Vajpayee aide and IITian Sudheendra Kulkarni (BTech CivE '84) says in an New York Times article that "it is unfair to expect the BJP do in half a dozen years, what the Congress could not do in half a century". link
  • IIT Bombay alum Jairam Ramesh (BTech ME '75), Secretary of the Congress Party's "economic cell", is in charge of drafting the new government's Common Minimum Programme and he is a key member of Sonia Gandhi's think tank. In an interview with rediff.com, Ramesh says that the new government's economic programmes will be aimed at taking India to greater heights ... "There is no need for panic and worry. This is a time for change. India is all set for better times".
     
  • New York Times, May 22, 2004 - "... some of the fundamental traits that had defined India for decades shifted. On some of those shifts ... Mr. Vajpayee ... clearly set the course. On others, he opted for an inaction that proved its own form of course-setting ...  One of Mr. Vajpayee's chief aides, Sudheendra Kulkarni (IIT Bombay alumnus - BTech CivE '84), argued that it was unfair to expect the B.J.P. government to do in a half-dozen years what Congress could not do in almost a half-century. "We really had a very short time," Mr. Kulkarni said. link
     
  • "At IIT campus, nobody’s too happy with results" ... Ruhail Sood (25) ... a final-year management student is ‘‘not too pleased’’ with the "pro-reservations and full-of-subsidies" Congress coalition coming back to power. Across the table at the shack - the fave chilling spot here - Delhi-boy Vikas Kumar (25) echoes classmate Sood's opinion about online voting, between mouthfuls of instant noodles. "The young don’t vote or don’t get a chance to vote, hence no single party gets a majority," he insists, pointing out that those who do vote "are from the lower strata of society." Haryana-da-puttar Dharamveer Sheron (26) feels his management studies may just be in vain with the Congress coalition’s "anti-economic growth policies of subsidising agriculture." "The NDA’s economic efforts (in the industrial sphere) may just go down the drain," he insists. But M Phil (Planning and Development) students, Delhi girl Laxmi Iyer and West Bengal lass Nina Bannerjee, disagree. "After all, the Congress initiated economic reforms through Manmohan Singh," points out Iyer, even as she bemoans the fall of "personal favourite" Jagmohan. They’re not too keen about seeing Sonia Gandhi as the prime minister. "She just doesn’t have the leadership quality to lead a country of a billion people into the future". link
     
  • Professors AG Rao and Ravi Pooviah from the Industrial Design Center at IIT Bombay helped design the Electronic Voting Machines used during the 2004 elections in India. The EVMs were specifically designed for the Indian scenario, both in engineering and design. They were commissioned with the idea of cutting down costs by cutting out ballot papers and simplifying the laborious vote-counting process. However, making them relatively tamper-proof wasn't easy for the engineers who created the machine and the electronic chips that run them, or the two IIT Powai design experts who decided the appearance and security features in 1989. "It took us a year to study the Indian system and incorporate the design," says Prof A G Rao, who along with Prof Ravi Poovaiah led the design team after the machine was put together by Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL). link
     
  • The Karadi Tales Company, a pioneering music company of talking books in India, has released the autobiography of President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam in the audio format. And like the earlier products of the company, this one too has got an encouraging response in the niche market. These evocative words come from a man of few words and a man of principle, India’s President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. His autobiography titled Wings Of Fire has been released in the audio book format by the Karadi Tales Company, and to-date has already sold 20,000 units. They are three brothers, Viswanath Parasuram, Narayan Parasuram and Sriram Parasuram who sing and Srinam also plays the violin.  Narayan is a vocalist and also plays the ghatam. He is an Engineer from IIT Mumbai and did his Masters from Clemson University, USA. He has been composing music for several television and ad productions. link
     
  • Pune based chemical technologist Chandrashekhar Vibhute has got an Indian patent for his invention of water soluble solid and complex liquid fertiliser which helps reduce fertiliser consumption by 50 per cent and increases crop yield by 30 per cent. An alumni of IIT Mumbai who did his doctorate in Chemical technology, Vibhute got the patent acceptance letter from the Indian patent office on May 14. He received the first patent for the basic version of the soluble fertiliser in 1999 and had applied for the improved and low cost version. link
     
  • The Indian Institute of Technology-Powai (IIT), is worried about the excessive use of electric power and is considering using an 'auto-tripping' mechanism to deal with the 10-per cent increase in power usage. An internal circular stated that there was an "alarming power supply situation". Tata Power currently provides 3,808 KVA (kilovolt-ampere) of power to the campus. With more heavy electrical machinery in student laboratories and two new student hostels, the power needs of the campus have risen sharply over the last three years. IIT spokesperson Aruna Thosar-Dixit also stated that there were no reports of power shortage so far. But the circular said that if electric power usage was not curtailed this summer, power tripping may be resorted to. "There have never been any power cuts here. I can’t imagine anything like that on our campus," said one third-year student of electronics. link
     
  • "IITians campus capers are a hit" ... Five Point Someone is a story about three friends in IIT who are unable to cope. The book starts with a disclaimer, "This is not a book to teach you how to get into IIT or even how to live in college. In fact, it describes how screwed up things can get if you don't think straight." Three hostelmates - Alok, Hari and Ryan get off to a bad start in IIT - they screw up the first class quiz. And while they try to make amends, things only get worse. It takes them a while to realize: If you try and screw with the IIT system, it comes back to double screw you. Before they know it, they are at the lowest echelons of IIT society. They have a five-point-something GPA out of ten, ranking near the end of their class. This GPA is a tattoo that will remain with them, and come in the way of anything else that matters - their friendship, their future, their love life. While the world expects IITians to conquer the world, these guys are struggling to survive. Will they make it? Do underperformers have a right to live? Can they show that they are not just a five-point-somebody but a five-point-someone? link
     
  • It's clear that the winds of change are blowing through the Human Resource Development Ministry. It is one ministry that will clearly be following completely different policies from those implemented by the previous HRD Minister Murli Manohar Joshi. With the change in the guard, a key issue that is likely to be addressed will be the question of autonomy for institutions like the IIMs with the new minister making it clear that autonomy should not be diluted at all. The first thing that Arjun Singh has had to deal with as soon as he's taken over is the long standoff between his ministry and the IIMs. And his immediate response will definitely please India's premier management schools, which many believed were in danger of losing their autonomy under former HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi. "I have called a meeting of the IIMs on May 31 as a raging controversy plagues it. My opinion is that autonomy of centres of learning should not be disturbed. The meeting is to understand what the institutes feel," said Singh. link
     
  • Festive mood at IIM-A as Joshi loses - The director of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Bakul Dholakia, was a relaxed man on Thursday. He never looked as happy in the last six months since the controversy involving the Ministry of Human Resources Development and the Indian Institutes of Management kicked off. The IIM Controversy Dholakia was being congratulated by his staff members who reached his office as soon as television channels announced the defeat of Murli Manohar Joshi, former HRD minister from the Allahabad constituency. "In a democracy we should respect the people's verdict and the obvious thing is that we all expect the new Cabinet to continue the reform process in all the sectors while ensuring that the national institutes of excellence including the IIMs and the Indian Institutes of Technology are given greater autonomy. We expect that the new Cabinet to be formed by Congress who will try to listen to our issues and solve them accordingly which was not happening earlier," Dholakia said. link
     
  • "Send jobs to India? Some find it's not always the best" - NY Times. Even as the prospect of high-skilled American jobs moving to low-wage countries like India ignites hot political debate, some entrepreneurs are finding that India's vaunted high-technology work force is not always as effective as advertised. "For three years we tried all kinds of models, but nothing has worked so far," said the co-founder and chief technology officer of Storability Software in Southborough, Mass. After trying to reduce costs by contracting out software programming tasks to India, Storability brought back most of the work to the United States, where it costs four times as much, and hired more programmers here. The "depth of knowledge in the area we want to build software is not good enough" among Indian programmers, the executive said. If it sounds like "Made in the U.S.A." jingoism, consider this: The entrepreneur, Hemant Kurande, is Indian. He was born and raised near Bombay and received his master's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in that city, now known as Mumbai. Mr. Kurande is not alone in his views on "outsourcing" technology work to India. As more companies in the United States rush to take advantage of India's ample supply of cheap yet highly trained workers, even some of the most motivated American companies — ones set up or run by executives born and trained in India — are concluding that the cost advantage does not always justify the effort. For many of the most crucial technology tasks, they find that a work force operating within the American business environment better suits their needs. link
April 2004
  • Citigroup's senior vice-chairman Victor J Menezes (BTech '70 EE), 54, the Pune-born global banker, was once seen as a possible successor to Sanford Weill, Citigroup chairman. No wonder his decision to hang up his boots by the end of the year has taken the financial world by surprise. While some bankers are trying to find out what went wrong, most claim that Menezes' exit route is the most graceful. By any yardstick, it has been an incredible run for Menezes. Fresh out of the Beirut Training Centre, he started out in Citi's Fort Branch Bombay operations on a monthly salary of Rs 2,000 in 1972. Citi insiders see him as a protege of former Citigroup co-chairman John S Reed, who handed him possibly his toughest assignment in 1998. link
     
  • In the midst of controversy over the slashing of fees in IIMs, the Union human resource development ministry has locked horns with IIT-Powai, taking exception to the construction of two multi-million-rupee 'luxurious' hostel buildings without sanction. "The Indian Institute of Technology-Powai has not observed the code formalities as required for such type of construction. Estimates were not prepared as per CPWD (Central Public Works Department) norms and specifications. Rather, the building has been planned to make it a luxurious one," the ministry sources said ... In this regard, the ministry felt that the per student cost of construction of Rs 350,000 was 'very high' in comparison to the normal cost of Rs 100,000 per student in other IITs. The ministry also faulted that IIT for not floating open tenders for shortlisting of contractors for award of construction work and no detailed advertisement or tender notice was issued for shortlisting of architects. "It is clear that the institute has not observed any code formalities required for award of such huge work and overshot all the specifications and norms of providing a decent accommodation to the students," the sources said. link
     
  • A US company is developing a device that can reduce the time taken for lab tests on fluids. Here's more on it. A small US company, HandyLab Inc of Ann Arbor, with Indian scientists on its team, is developing the prototype for a device that will help doctors confirm the presence of infection in fluid samples within 45 minutes of testing ... the device HandyLab is developing, called lab-on-a chip, is set for rollout in US markets by 2005 end. HandyLab's story began in 1995 when Kalyan Handique joined the University of Michigan's chemical engineering Ph.D. programme from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. link
     
  • Three young computer geeks sipping cups of NescafĂ© might not seem like much of a revolution. But the budding engineers plotting their futures at this university coffee bar illustrate an important shift in India's approach to educating its technical elite. And it's one that could have implications for the USA. Tanuj Khandelwal, 23, and his two classmates at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), want to launch a company to produce something called a "reconfigurable radio." Until recently, the trio would have received little help in pursuing their idea. Stifled by government red tape and starved for capital, would-be Indian entrepreneurs frequently went abroad — often to Silicon Valley — where they helped found world-class companies such as Sun Microsystems ... But now, amid India's drive to become a "knowledge superpower," IITB is putting new emphasis upon entrepreneurship. The shift aims to ditch the ivory tower and more closely link India's tech talent cradle with the real needs of society. "Our earlier mission was to provide the best education. ... Today, we say we want to be the fountainhead of new ideas and innovation in the country," says Ashok Misra, the institute's director. link
     
  • The American Electronics Association, US' largest trade association in the technology sector, has said that the number of people being hurt by offshore outsourcing is 'exaggerated.' The AEA report outlines the fact that offshoring is a global trend and not the main reason for job losses. It said most of the jobs lost over the last three years is attributable to productivity increases and a weak economy. AEA says the problem is that the US lags behind many other countries in engineering degrees granted ... India's premier technology university, the Indian Institute of Technology, is widely considered to be one of the best and most selective technology universities of the world, accepting only 3500 of 178,000 applicants. Engineering degrees awarded in China and the European Union grew by 37 per cent and 22 per cent between 1995 and 1999, respectively, while in the US, they dropped by 4 per cent." link
     
  • When it comes to earning, the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, is the leader - head and shoulders above the rest of the institutes in the chain. In the financial year 2003-04, the institute has been able to earn a whopping Rs 90 crores from research projects and industrial consultation, more than double of what IIT Powai and IIT Delhi, its nearest competitors could do ... The credit goes to the institute's Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC) cell, which bagged a total of 333 projects this year. A lion's share of these projects has come from the Government of India itself, while a large number have been given by international agencies also.  link

     
  • Daniel T Ling, Corporate Vice-President of Microsoft Research at its headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... one of the founder members of the Redmond facility set up in 1992, is on a five-city tour of India. While he has finished his visits to Mumbai and Pune, his next stop-overs include Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi. And Ling’s focus throughout the India tour is to meet top-rung research scientists to get a lowdown on the fundamental studies going on in computing. P S Anandan, senior researcher and group manager of Microsoft Research, Redmond, while speaking to The Indian Express played down reports that his company was scouting for partners to set up a new Research and Development (R&D) centre in India ... Anandan, Ling’s tour partner in India, said both of them were quite happy with the quality and commitment of Indian researchers. "Both researchers and entrepreneurs are very enthusiastic," added Ling. Anandan cited their visit to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai on Monday. "We saw some great projects at the department of industrial design and the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology (KRSIT)," he said. link
     
  • Even as the slugfest between the ministry of human resource development (MHRD) and the IIMs continues, circumvention of rules by the ministry to subvert the autonomy of the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) has come to light. In what has been interpreted by a section of the faculty at the IITs as a conscious effort on the part of MHRD, career bureaucrats with no technical education have been inducted on the boards of governors of IITs against the existing rules which were enacted by Parliament. The Federation of the Teachers’ Associations of Indian Institutes of Technology, (Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur & Madras) had noted this with deep regret in a letter to Prof K Kasturirangan, chairman, board of governors - IIT Madras, that the bureaucrats of “Shastri Bhavan” were being nominated to the board of governors of the IITs. link
     
  • Yahoo! Software Development India Pvt. Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Yahoo! Inc., a leading global Internet communications, commerce and media company today announced the appointment of Srinivasan Seshadri (Sesh) and Prasad Ram as Chief Technology Officers ... Prasad Ram holds a B Tech in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and a Masters and PhD in Computer Science from University of California, Los Angeles. link
     
  • Just two days after the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, declined to cut its fees and said instead that it would talk to the HRD Ministry and wait for the Supreme Court’s decision, IIM Kolkata chairman Yogi Deveshwar gave in to the Government ... Disregarding the faculty’s position paper on the subject which had said that the fee cut was part of a package to erode the institute’s autonomy, Deveshwar faxed a resolution accepting the fee cut to all board members today ... In fact, in the days leading up to the March 26 board meeting, the HRD ministry had quietly nominated five handpicked persons to fill vacancies on the board. One of them, the director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, S K Dube, welcomed the resolution. ‘‘Though I have not seen the resolution, I am very happy at the fee cut proposal,’’ he said. link
     
  • Mumbai Navigatorlink ... This is what the computer science engineering department at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai, has come up with to beat commuting confusion in a city always on the move. The software, which began as an IIT and Tata Infotech project four years ago, provides travel help to reach anywhere from everywhere in the city. The Mumbai Navigator is already available on a free website on the internet, and can be accessed from any search engine. So, if you want to go from Chembur to Mumbai Central, all you have to do is enter your origin and destination of travel. And bingo! The Navigator throws up different plans for getting there, either by bus or train. It provides all the changes needed to be made, including names of bus stops and bus numbers. link
     
  • In a move to promote open source software development in a big way, Red Hat India, one of the biggest companies in the open source segment, has announced a scholarship programme for engineering students from across the country. Called the Red Hat Scholarships -- The Open Source Challenge, the initiative invites students from across the country to submit a project developed completely using open source technology to win scholarships worth Rs 10 lakh (Rs 1 million). The competition will be conducted by Red Hat jointly with the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. A panel comprising of Dr D B Phatak, founder, Kanwal School of Information Technology at IIT Bombay, Professor S Sadagopan, Director of the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, Rajesh Jain, Director of Netcore Solutions among others will preside over the process of conducting the competition. link
     
  • Federal Aviation Administrator Marion Blakey has tapped Ramesh Punwani as the agency's new chief financial officer. Punwani, succeeds John Hennigan, who held the position of acting CFO for 13 months. As CFO, Punwani will administer the FAA's $14 billion budget and the agencywide application of cost accounting and financial management systems. Most recently, Punwani was the senior vice president for global strategy at Cendant Corp. Punwani received a Master of Business Administration degree from New York University in 1978 and a Master of Engineering in management science from Cornell University in 1966. Punwani also holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in industrial engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, India. link
     
  • Guess what is the hottest export from India. IIT grads , of course! According to Businessweek , IIT grads have been one of the "hottest exports India has ever produced." So much so, Indians, most of whom graduated from IIT, founded about 10 per cent of the startups in Silicon Valley between 1995 and 1998 ... How to retain the talented few and stall and if possible the brain drain? One of the options has been to encourage entrepreneurship and create a Valley-like atmosphere. At IIT Bombay, efforts are on to keep back the students by building a culture of entrepreneurship . Tired of creating workers, albeit of high quality, the emphasis is now on training leaders – people who will shape the future of infotech in India. The result is the information technology incubator or the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology, KReSIT in short. Funded by Nandan Nilekani and Kanwal Rekhi, both alumni of IIT Bombay, KreSIT formally started operations with the first batch of M Tech students on July 19, 1999. link
March 2004
  • MIT Technology Review - "Can India Plug Its Brain Drain?" IIT Bombay is using its technology incubator to counter the exodus of its brightest graduates to the West ... Three years ago, in an effort to slow this exodus, IIT Bombay (it retains the name Bombay even though the city is now called Mumbai) set up an information technology incubator at the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology, or KReSIT. The incubator is slowly building a culture of entrepreneurship by encouraging IIT's best and brightest to stay in India. The IIT connection ensures that these startups concentrate on high-value areas such as building intellectual property and products. link
     
  • Tom Friedman in the New York Times: "Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE), C.E.O. of the Indian software giant Infosys, gave me a tour the other day of his company's wood-paneled global conference room in Bangalore ... 'From the primordial swamps of globalization have emerged two genetic variants' ... Infosys and Al Qaeda. link
     
  • BusinessWeek, Mar 01, 2004: "Will outsourcing hurt America's supremacy ?" ... Stephen Haberman was one of a handful of folks in all of Chase County, Neb., who knew how to program a computer ... Half a world away, in the western Indian city of Nagpur, a 19-year-old named Deepa Paranjpe was having an argument with her father. Sure, computer science was heating up, he told her. Western companies were frantically hiring Indians to scour millions of software programs and eradicate the much-feared millennium bug. But this craze would pass. The former railroad employee urged his daughter to pursue traditional engineering, a much safer course. ... But she turned a deaf ear to his career advice and plunged into software. After all, this was the industry poised to change the world ... As Stephen and Deepa emerge this summer from graduate school -- one in Pittsburgh, the other in Bombay -- they'll find that their decisions of a half-decade ago placed their dreams on a collision course ... Now Deepa is IIT Bombay's star in search technology -- and she's hoping that this specialty will be her ticket to a rip-roaring career. She routinely works till 3 a.m. in the department's new 20-pod computer lab, doing research on search engines. She admits the work at Veritas, at least initially, will involve more routine database tasks than the cutting-edge work she's hoping for. But if Veritas disappoints, a topper like Deepa will have plenty of other options. Both the search giant Google Inc. and the Web portal Yahoo! are setting up research and development centers in India this year. Deepa hopes to manage a research lab some day, and ultimately, she says, "I'd like to be an entrepreneur." link
     
  • The Indian Express (NA Edition) carried a special supplement titled "IIT : The Global Marque", in conjunction with the release of "IIT: India's Intellectual Treasures." The book and the companion documentary highlight the history and evolution of the IITs and the extraordinary contributions of its graduates. The supplement included several articles on the IITs, the IIT Bombay Heritage Fund and the PanIIT movement. link
  • A lab for research into computer chip design - to be sponsored by IBM - is to be set up on the IIT Powai campus. The details are being worked out, says Subramanian Iyer, IBM’s Manager, Embedded Chip Development. Confirms IIT spokesperson Aruna Thosar-Dixit, "Both IIT and IBM agree that the lab will be established." ... The lab will be IIT Powai's only one doing research in Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI), the technology behind chips that go into computers and other data processing devices. This isn’t an altruistic exercise. Benefits will accrue to IBM, says Iyer. "The lab will help us network among bright students and attract the best talent." ... Iyer, an IIT alumnus (Electrical Engineering, class of 1977), is currently working on Blue Gene, which, IBM claims, will be the world’s most powerful computer when it’s completed in 2005. Blue Gene uses one of Iyer’s innovations: embedding special memory chips (DRAM) in the microprocessor (the computer’s brain), which makes computers capable of fast calculations and frugal energy consumption. link
     
  • Along with probability theory, calculus, courses in mechanical, chemical or civil engineering, students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, will soon have a new subject to pore over: Sanskrit. For the last three years, IIT Delhi has been working on a plan to introduce two courses in Sanskrit for undergraduate students. These courses are expected to give the students a glimpse into the information contained in ancient Sanskrit texts. The idea is to 'bring the students and teachers to the orders of thinking that are available in Sanskrit without any mediation by the contemporary demands of what constitutes an intellectual discourse'. In other words, the course aims at broadening students' thinking. But the move is also the result of a nudge from Union Minister for Human Resources Development Murli Manohar Joshi. link
     
  • Nehru's socialism has been the subject of much debate and has been described by rediff.com columnist Rajeev Srinivasan as the Nehruvian penalty of 50 wasted years. Tharoor (in his new book "The Invention of India") describes Nehru as being instinctively suspicious of every foreign businessman, 'seeing in every Western briefcase the thin end of a neo-imperial wedge.' His socialism was a curious amalgam of Fabian idealism, a romanticized concern for the 'struggling masses', a Gandhian faith in self-reliance, a distrust of Western capital and a 'modern' belief in scientific methods like Planning. However, for all the criticism about the Nehruvian penalty, there is no denying one vital legacy of Nehru's economic planning -- the creation of an infrastructure for excellence in science and technology, such as the IIT system, which has become a source of great self-confidence and competitive advantage for India today. Yet it is striking, notes Tharoor, that none of Nehru's much vaunted institutions have replicated the pre-independence success of the likes of C V Raman, Satyen Bose, and Meghnad Saha. link
     
  • India may be the hub of IT professionals and your maid may be calling you from her cell phone but India is yet to shine, feel some experts. At the first annual two-day Young Indians Summit in New Delhi on Thursday, speakers said though India has made remarkable achievements in some areas, it still has a long way to go ... Participating in a discussion, the experts said India Shining, which has become a buzzword in the political circles and media, was in fact an illusion. Tarun Khanna, professor of business administration at the Harvard Business School, said the countries that have opened up their economies had first strengthened their base before plunging into the process of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation. This, he felt, has not happened in India. "When countries opened up their economies they first prepared their base. The base means primary education and not just handful of IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management)," said Khanna. link
     
  • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai would jointly promote research and development in distribution, renewable and environmental issues. The two institutions have signed an MOU to this effect here today. As per the terms of the MOU, joint research shall be carried out for introduction of new technologies for optimum utilisation of resources, renewable energy option and computational fluid dynamics. link
     
  • Delhi shining! Dikshit plans elevated highways ... The Delhi government is planning to have elevated highways, ring roads and high capacity buses to smoothen the city's traffic system. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made the announcement on Thursday after launching the India Infrastructure Report, 2004, brought out jointly by IIT Kanpur, IIM Ahmedabad and Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation. link
     
  • WALL STREET JOURNAL - PAGE ONE - March 3, 2004: "Lesson in India: Not Every Job Translates Overseas ... ValiCert Learned Key Roles Must Remain in U.S. For Outsourcing to Work ... When sales of their security software slowed in 2001, executives at ValiCert Inc. began laying off engineers in Silicon Valley to hire replacements in India for $7,000 a year. ValiCert expected to save millions annually while cranking out new software for banks, insurers and government agencies ... In the end, exporting some jobs ultimately led to adding a small but important number of new, higher-level positions in the U.S. ... The "motivation was pure survival," says Mr. Srinivasan "Chini" Krishnan (BTech CompSci '89), who left the company after the Tumbleweed merger. India was a natural choice because of its large pool of software engineers. Moreover, both Mr. Krishnan and ValiCert's then-head of engineering grew up in India and were familiar with large tech-outsourcing firms. link
     
  • As many as 135,000 IIT alumni will take on corruption and alleged “saffronisation” of the premier technology institutes by forming a confederation, particularly in the wake of the Satyendra Dubey murder. Office-bearers of the alumni associations of seven Indian institutes of technology would meet on March 6 to finalise the proposal ... The main objective of the move is to create a “brand name” to “stand up” and confront the system in a bid to weed out corruption "and carry forward the unfinished task of whistle-blowers like Satyendra Dubey." ... Y.P.S. Suri, the secretary-general of IIT Kharagpur’s Delhi chapter ... was critical of Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi for "denigrating" the premier technology institution by allegedly appointing his nominees to senior positions ... "Joshi as HRD minister has every right to ask the faculty to pull up its socks, but he should also look into grievances," Suri said. link
     
  • More than 5,000 students, teachers and their families live in the sprawling greens of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) here. But often the complex also has some unwanted visitors - leopards! The 600-acre IIT complex is home to a rare patch of greenery in this city. Located in the northeast edge of Mumbai, it has the scenic Powai Lake at one end and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park at the other. It is as close to nature as one can get in Mumbai. Though often nature gets too close for comfort. Since the 1990s, leopards have been straying into the campus much to the discomfiture of the authorities. Of the 23 leopards trapped in the suburbs last year, eight were caught in the IIT campus in Powai. link
     
  • "Offshoring Can Create Jobs, Too ... this much is clear: The rest of the world isn't going to stop charging ahead. The renowned Indian Institute of Technology, with seven campuses, graduates tens of thousands of eager scientists and engineers every year. Meanwhile, companies large and small see the entire planet as a place to do business. As long as they have enough expertise, every human being on every continent is a potential employee. Borders are virtually irrelevant. In such a world, U.S. workers will surely feel some pain. Yet they also stand to do quite well in the end, assuming that our leaders get beyond the campaign rhetoric and give workers the required tools to stay ahead. link
  • In order to cash in on the emerging growth areas like nanotechnology and biotechnology, Indian Institutes of Technology in Delhi, Bombay and Roorkee are drawing their respective research road-map to generate intellectual property (IP) ... IIT Bombay is presently forming research groups and at a later stage, it is also considering to collaborate with the industry for research and development. "We have formed a separate entity to take up the quantum of work in these emerging areas for IIT Bombay," IIT Bombay professor Deepak B Phatak said. Bioinformatics is yet another key area for IIT Bombay, where it is already working with a Pune-based Persistent Systems Private Limited to take up the research from conceptual stage to the product formation stage. link
  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, is set to widen its horizons across the globe. The institute aims to have at least five per cent of the student population (which would work out to about 250 students) hailing from the best universities of Europe and USA, by 2007. Presently, there are about 25 foreign students at IIT Powai. Presently, there are about 25 foreign students at IIT from universities like Northwestern University, US, the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Technical Institute of Munich, Switzerland, INSA Lyons and ESTP Paris, France, The Technical Institute of Darmstadt, Germany, etc. ... "IIT-Bombay has recently signed MoUs with the Royal Institute of Technology and INSA Lyons for student exchange," says Pradipta Banerjee, Dean of Alumni and International Relations ... "In many universities in the European Union, it’s compulsory for third or fourth year engineering students to spend a year abroad. We want IIT to be one of the best options for these students." link
  • Worldspan's ... CEO (IIT alumnus Rakesh Gangwal) looks at all options to cut costs ... The mahogany-paneled executive suite on the 21st floor of Worldspan's Cobb County office tower stands in stark contrast to the ongoing news of layoffs and cutbacks from the travel reservation company ... Gangwal, 50, was named chairman, president and chief executive of Worldspan in July after the company was bought for a little less than $1 billion by a teachers pension fund in Canada and New York-based Citicorp Venture Capital. The prior owners, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and American Airlines, had been relatively hands-off with Worldspan. But owing to their huge personal investments, the new board members are much more involved than at a typical publicly traded company, Gangwal said ... Gangwal grew up in a well-to-do family, earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. link
  • Technocrats are closing their ranks to ward off political bashing of renowned institutes such as Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Close on the heels of HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi’s attack on professional institutes, alumni of seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are planning to form a Federation of IIT Alumni Association ... When contacted, Maruti Udyog assistant general manager SM Murmu, an alumni of IIT Kharagpur and involved in unifying all IIT alumni associations into one umbrella, told FE: "IITians are thinking of an apex body for quite sometime and we are now working on it. The idea is still in a preliminary stage but in the recent meeting of IITians in Delhi we have discussed this with eminent people like Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) chairman MS Banga and NIIT CMD RS Pawar who endorsed the idea." link
February 2004
  • Reliance Industries is renowned for its ability to complete mammoth projects on schedule, but it’s less known for the chemical engineering expertise it’s built up over time. But it has some of the best chemical engineers in the world like Jayant Kelkar, who came to Reliance from IPCL and heads its Group Technical Services. A chemical engineer from the IIT Powai batch of 1968, Kelkar got his PhD from the University of Salford in UK . Just as he was winding up his thesis, a team of top Indian scientists and bureaucrats was visiting universities the world over to recruit for the IPCL project ... Kelkar is your archetypical engineer — modest, restrained and devoid of any flamboyance. Today, he’s the one person whom everyone in Reliance turns to when they have a technical problem. link
  • "The CEO with a public agenda" ... Apart from making Infosys global, CEO Nandan Nilekani is also working on public governance, writes Subir Roy ... the "defining formative experience" in his life has been his years at IIT, Mumbai, with which he maintains powerful links. He is on its advisory council, the co-chairman of its Heritage Fund (his donation of Rs 25 crore is the largest) and occasionally takes part in activities like addressing the annual convocation as chief guest. Infosys, of which Nilekani became chief executive officer (CEO) in 2002, naturally takes up most of his time. What’s left goes to the family and the various non-government organisations (NGOs) he is connected with — the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), for instance, which has become a model for public-private partnership, and eGovernments Foundation, which has developed easy-to-use software for citizens to interact with municipal bodies. These have been beneficiaries of Nilekani’s personal philanthropy. Till now, he has donated close to Rs 45 crore of his personal wealth. link
  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi ruled out any reversal of government's decision to lower fees of prestigious IIMs saying it was in conformity with NDA's commitment to the principle that higher education should not be the monopoly of rich ... The HRD minister said the government proposed to upgrade five National Institutes of Technology (NIT) to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and increase the number of seats in the IIMs. On the controversy over routing of donations by IIT alumni to their alma mater through India Education Fund, he said it was done following receipt of complaints that the donations were being misused. Asked why a backward state like Bihar was not gven a single IIT, IIM or a central university, the minister said the Union Cabinet had long back decided against opening any fresh central universities and for getting an IIT or IIM the state government would have to approach the Planning Commission with a comprehensive project report and only then can the Centre consider it. link And click here for other news articles about Hon. MM Joshi and the IIT/IIM issue.
  • Naperville, Illinois-based Tellabs Inc. announced that it has hired a new chief executive officer and president to lead the global telecommunications equipment maker. IIT Bombay alumnus Krish Prabhu replaces Michael J. Birck, company co-founder and CEO for about 27 years. Birck will continue as chairman of the board. In addition, Prabhu will join Tellabs’ board of directors and will be included in the election slate for Tellabs’ annual stockholder meeting in April, the company said. Prabhu has 24 years of telecom experience, including as CEO of Alcatel Telecom and CEO of Alcatel USA. Prabhu, who is of Indian heritage, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bangalore University; a master’s degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai (Bombay); and master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from University of Pittsburgh. link
  • The world's 35th most respected business leader has just had a bath and is waiting calmly to be interviewed for this article ... Nandan Mohan Nilekani is the 35th most respected business leader ... (as per) the Financial Times. According to its survey of Nilekani's business peers, he is only slightly less respected than Rupert Murdoch and Michael Eisner (of bid-fighting Disney), and he is more respected than Niall FitzGerald of Unilever, Louis Schweitzer of Renault and Sir Chris Gent, formerly of Vodafone ... Nilekani is a bright boy from a small village near Bangalore who got a place at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. He says the IIT has status on a par with Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Oxford, and there's no reason to doubt the man who came top in an intelligence test taken by the cream of a nation of 1bn people. link
  • When Arun Sarin took over as head of the world's largest cellphone group, Vodafone, last year, investors worried that a costly takeover on his home patch would head the US veteran's agenda. Sure enough, six months later, Mr Sarin is discussing whether a $30 billion deal, by which the mobile giant would swap a 45% stake in the largest US mobile phone operator for a 100% stake in the No 3, will add shareholder value ... Born in India, Mr Sarin is the son of an Indian military officer and was sent to a military boarding school in Bangalore, now India's answer to Silicon Valley in the United States. Mr Sarin went on to study engineering at the elite Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. link
  • "We won't do an IIM on IITs: Govt" ... The Indian government ... denied reports it planned to revise the fees charged by the country's premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). "At this moment, there is no plan to revise IIT fees either upwards or downwards. We are not contemplating changing the current structure," said a source in the human resource development ministry. "The existing fee structure of IITs are quite reasonable and doesn't need any immediate revision. The newspaper reports about fee revision in IITs are not true" ...  link
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, formerly known as the University of Roorkee, is planning to set up a centre of excellence in the areas of nanotechnology and nanosciences within its campus. The institute is also exploring the possibility of setting up a centre of excellence for transport engineering. link
  • Wall Street Journal - Page One, February 5, 2004  - With a Small Car, India Takes Big Step Onto Global Stage ... MG Rover Group Ltd. is aiming to import 20,000 cars a year from India's Tata conglomerate, a century-old industrial empire ... top manufacturers are taking the nation's economy beyond its well-known strengths in technology and back- office outsourcing. India's Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. is becoming one of the generic- drug industry's fastest-growing players. An Indian auto-parts company, Bharat Forge Ltd., gobbled up a German firm to become the world's second-largest forging concern. The Tata group's own Tata Iron & Steel Co. has become one of the world's lowest-cost producers, selling specialty steel to Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and other multinationals ... Tata Motors developed the Indica for $350 million. An equivalent project in the United States or Europe would have cost at least three times as much, says V. Sumantran (BTech IIT Chennai '81), a 16-year veteran of General Motors Corp., who now heads Tata Motors' car business ... In the 1950s, India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made technical education a priority, starting an elite cadre of universities that together form the Indian Institute of Technology. link
  • Microsoft announced the appointment of Ravi Venkatesan (BTech ME '85) as Chairman and General Manager of Microsoft India. In this newly-created position, Mr. Venkatesan will have direct responsibility for Microsoft's marketing, sales, operational and business development efforts in India, and will provide a single point of leadership for Microsoft India, in partnership with the leaders of Microsoft's other business units, in working with policy makers, customers and partners ... Prior to joining Microsoft, Mr. Venkatesan served as Chairman of Cummins India Limited, a US-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of engines and related technologies. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, his MS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He also holds an MBA from Harvard University. link
  • R&D outsourcing ... to India is picking up pace in areas of biotechnology, semiconductor design, academic research, engineering services, and even in automotive manufacturing ... While industrial research often has immediate applications, research at academic institutions usually has a long-term view, often involving a change in technology rather than just the use of it, says Professor Chandorkar, IIT Mumbai. Professor Khilar, dean – research & development, IIT Mumbai, informs that around 50-70 members of the faculty are involved in research from foreign organisations and universities. This brings in a net annual revenue of Rs 1.4 crore, which is 5-7% of the total receipts for R&D projects. Areas of research include nanotechnology, computer science, various avenues of molecular biology, structural engineering and product design. Apart from the key universities, big corporates such as Boeing, Honeywell, Microsoft, Sun, Hitachi, Intel, UNDP, IBM outsource research to IIT. link
  • ... Balaji has a lot to do. As head of the Information Systems Unit of Icrisat ... he has set an immediate goal ... to stop drought in Africa and Asia from threatening people's lives ... As director of the informatics center at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, he brought the women and youth of 10 villages near the coastal city of Pondicherry online ... In the village of Villianur, where 1500 people were dependent upon fishing and had no modern means of navigating their boats, villagers began using the network to obtain the U.S. Navy's wave-height predictions for the Bay of Bengal, and they believe such information continues to save lives today ... Balaji studied both engineering and chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology, in Kanpur ... "In India," he says, "there are a lot of people who are less than ordinary, and if we cannot do anything for them, we have no right to be in the business of technology." link
  • IITs, IIMs? Joshi has more worries: For over two years now ... Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has been waging a battle against what he feels is rampant elitism on the part of premier educational institutions like the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology ... even a casual perusal of the Rao report suggests the minister has used the recommendations selectively ... while the Joshi-IIT/IIM row will sort itself out, one way or the other, the real issues in the Rao report have got scant attention. According to Rao, though the sector is booming, the quality is dramatically falling, with the number of adequately qualified teachers falling short by as much as 80 per cent in some cases ... India is just not producing enough PhDs and MTechs ... If you remove the IIMs, the rest of the B-schools have less than four teachers each on an average ... If the NDA wins the elections, and Joshi returns as the HRD minister, he's going to have a lot more than just the IIMs and the IITs to worry about. link
  • President APJ Abdul Kalam in his address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day spoke about "Protecting the brand image of higher education". He said that "The nation’s vision of developed India requires greater thrust to scientific and technological advancements. All our IITs, IIMs have graduated as world class brand institutions in addition to the century old premier institution – Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. These characteristics must be preserved and nurtured. We should also encourage universities to become cradles of higher learning and research, contributing generation of high skilled global human resource force". The text of his speech is available from the PIB. link
  • Till now, we took medication and sat back waiting for the drug to take effect. ... photochemist Anil Kumar Singh of the IIT Powai and his team ... have developed a way to control the path the drug takes within an organism, and even decide the exact moment when it should begin taking effect ... known in the scientific world as 'caging' a drug, this process renders a drug inactive until it is deliberately activated by light. "There has been research going on worldwide in this field," says Mr Singh. "The difference is that many of the 'caging' chromosphores already developed are activated by ultra-violet light, which is harmful for the body. In our case, the activating light is regular, visible light, which is not harmful." link
January 2004
  • "Mood Indigo, 2003 I came, I saw, I conquered!" A riot of colours and a sea of smiles, Mood Indigo just proved that youth is the best time of one's life. Mood Indigo 2003 embodied the very spirit of youth: the spirit of competition, the spirit of hard work, the spirit of working in a team to make something magical and the spirit of learning something at every step of life. link
  • Techfest, Asia's largest annual technology festival is being held from January 24 to 26 at IIT Bombay. Zee News and Aaj Tak are telecasting the pre-event coverage of Techfest on 21st Jan at 8:30 pm. There are over 25 events at Techfest covering almost all branches of Engineering. Distinguished speakers include Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Chief Economist of the IMF, who will speak on Jan 24 at 5 pm in LT. Techfest 2004 is mounted on a scale that will make many global corporate events blush. As India keeps shining in the glory of its techie achievers, corporate sponsors are showering their blessings on an institute that produced several of them, allowing the campus in picturesque Powai to host its most happening party till date. This year, Techfest - the biggest in Asia - is going where no other Indian campus fest has gone: international. A new competition has been introduced to ensure international participation. Teams from 10 other countries — all expenses paid by the fest — are expected to participate in 'Cliffhanger'. link
  • Sandipan Deb has just published a new book titled "The IITians: The Story of a Remarkable Indian Institution and How its Alumni Are Reshaping the World" ... Indian Institute of Technology is India's biggest and most powerful brand, and arguably the toughest and most influential engineering school in the world. Since the first IIT was set up in the 1950s, thousands of initiates have walked out of the campus gates in Kharagpur, Mumbai, Chennai and elsewhere to become leaders in their chosen fields. In India they head many of the biggest and most admired professionally managed companies. Abroad, they lead giant corporations, and their feats figure in the folklore of Silicon Valley.  link
  • "Joshi on the rampage" - IE ... "Joshi questions quality of IITs" - Union Human Resources Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has sharply criticised the Indian Institutes of Technology, saying that the large-scale spending on the premier technology schools of the country were not paying back ample dividends. "These IITs get an annual central grant of Rs 70-75 crore each, costing the central exchequer as much as Rs 700 crore. They have sprawling campuses, excellent library, labs, canteen and other facilities," he said at the convocation address of the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) in Kolkata. "Compared to this, Roorkee University gets only Rs 16 crore annually from us. But take any statistics that may reflect the quality of education in these institutes, Roorkee would any day be much better, which means quality of education has got nothing to do with funds, facilities and vastness of the campus," the minister said. "Does paying or spending more money reflect the products of any institute? Absolutely not. In terms of numbers of papers published, citations received and the number of students serving the country, Roorkee is more valuable than any of the IITs," he said.

  • As anger builds over claims of lost jobs, American unions have emerged as aggressive opponents of outsourcing, and their rhetoric often displays thinly disguised xenophobia ... The traditional left has been caught off-guard by the outsourcing debate. It is very hard to make the argument that Indians are being exploited. Studies show that jobs in outsourcing firms are some of the most highly sought-after, and often pay much more than jobs servicing the local economy. There is still a knee-jerk reaction among Indians, reflected in editorials that deride these workers as "cyber-coolies." But does that jargon apply everywhere? As hordes of freshly minted IIT graduates put on their starched white shirts, or crisp salwar-kameez, and march into brand-new "cyberpark" offices in Bangalore, are they really anybody's "coolies?" link
  • The year was 1989. Two IIT (Powai) toppers, Nitin Joshi and Anant Gokhale, passed on offers from Siemens, TCS and MNCs and pulled out Rs 50,000 from savings from scholarship to build a communication system used in computers and industrial automation. "We desperately wanted to create something of our own and didn't want to spend our energies working with some MNC, or going abroad," said Joshi, CEO of Crystalline Infotek. Today, with customers ranging from GE, Siemens, Honeywell, L&T, their efforts weren’t in vain ... they have been busy creating intellectual property in security and surveillance systems ... link
  • Rajeev Srinivasan in rediff.com, January 14, 2004 - "The IITs have done the exact opposite of what Nehru intended, in a spectacular example of the principle of unintended consequences ... He wanted, in continuation of the Macaulayite project, to create de-Indianized and de-Hinduized robots, much like himself. What has happened, ironically enough, is that the majority of IIT products have not followed the plan: they have not become rootless ... What the IITs have done is to locate a bright group of students, teach them a lot of engineering, and substantially enhance their self-esteem. This last was not part of the Nehruvian/Macaulayite project, but this is perhaps the one thing that most IIT graduates share: self-confidence and a belief that they are the best of the best. Since people do what they expect themselves to do, this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This self-confidence has enabled many IIT graduates to make a mark in whatever they chose to do." link
  • Scientists and engineers of Indian origin are playing a frontline role in the Mars Spirit rover mission. It turns out that Indian companies are handling the back-end of the project too, bringing back to earth images of Mars and enabling their dissemination through their ubiquitous presence in the Internet and dotcom business. Two Indian-led Silicon Valley firms, eTouch and Speedera Networks, are key contractors in the project that has brought back spectacular Mars images live to millions of earthlings. Founded by Mumbai IIT-ian Aniruddha Gadre, eTouch operates the NASA portal, www.nasa.gov, after winning a $6 million government contract last year. link
  • Indian Express, January 14 - "IIT Bombay to raise Rs 15 lakh for Dubey family" - Shailesh Gandhi, president of IIT-Bombay Alumni, has convinced the Dubey family not to refuse the goodwill of a public that is determined to help. Satyendra Dubey, the second son of seven brothers and sisters, was the main breadwinner, supporting his parents, the education of his younger brother and two sisters. ‘‘Satyendra’s father had to take up a clerical job to sustain the family,’’ said Gandhi. ‘‘The IIT alumni wants to help the Dubeys... so I had decided to raise Rs 15 lakh through our alumni network,’’ he said. link
  • Indian Express, January 12, 2004 - Prime Minister Vajpayee on Sunday extended an invitation to Telugu Desam party to join the coalition government at the Centre after the next Lok Sabha elections, while profusely thanking it for extending unstinted support to NDA over the past four years ... The prime minister announced that the State (of Andhra Pradesh) would soon get an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) out of the proposed five IITs in the country. "You have been asking for an IIT for long. I am confident that your dream would soon be realised," Vajpayee said ... more.
  • A new coffee table style book titled "IIT: India's Intellectual Treasures - Passage Through the Indian Institutes of Technology" has been published by Suvarna Rajguru and Ranjan Pant. The book and the companion documentary highlight the history and evolution of the IITs and the extraordinary contributions of its graduates around the world ... more.
  • Times of India, January 9, 2004 - "The Indian Institute of Technology has traditionally offered three popular career paths to its students: A post-graduate degree in the US , a business management degree at an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) or a job as trainee engineer. Now IIT, Powai, has added a fourth choice, that of entrepreneurship, to the list, with its Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship SINE). The Society aims to do for IIT students, what any concerned parent would do for their child - provide a safe Incubator for innovative entrepreneurship ideas. The brainchild of enthusiastic professors like D.B. Phatak and R.K Lagoo, it was formed informally by Friends of IIT, which included professors and alumni, in 1999. The experiment was declared successful with 13 information technolog (IT) companies being incubated so far - of which, four have moved out as revenue-earning companies and three have received their first round of venture funding" ... more.
  • NDTV , January 8, 2004 - "The Rao Committee on technical education has recommended a drastic reduction in fees in technical institutions including the IITs and IIMs. Set up in 2002 by the HRD Ministry to find ways to improve the standards of technical education in the country, the committee has also suggested that graduates from technical institutions pay a small percentage of their salaries instead towards an education fund. Former ISRO chairman Professor UR Rao, who headed the committee, said one of the major problems was the unchecked growth of educational institutions. "The problem is the drop in standards in the last two decades. There has been a proliferation of educational institutions. Many of them employ fresh graduates as teachers, so mediocrity has been multiplying mediocrity. We need 30,000 PhDs immediately to meet the requirements of the existing engineering institutions alone," said Rao ... more.
  • Economic Times, January 7, 2004 - "Is the IIM brand losing sheen? ... It's one of India's most prized jewels - an MBA from the IIMs. Brand IIM is second only to Brand IIT in terms of recognition and imagery when it comes to educational institutions, and is an internationally re cognised brand. However, Brand IIM is facing troubled times and all those associated with it are extremely concerned. IIMA alumni have recently submitted a petition to the President of India, the Prime Minister and the HRD Minister, protesting against what’s seen as an encroachment on the autonomy of the IIMs by the HRD Ministry. The petition highlights the concerns of students, faculty and alumni at what they see as a direct threat to the IIM brand ... more.
  • The Economic Development Board of the Singapore government is holding talks with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to set up an IIT campus in Singapore, Low Weilin, manager, Singapore Education, has said. Speaking at the two-day Singapore Education Fair organised in Chennai by the Singapore Tourism Board yesterday, Weilin said the Singapore Education Board had been discussing with the IIT for a possible tie-up between them to set up an IIT in Singapore. Besides, she said the quality of education provided by IITs would be the same in Singapore also as was the case in India.
  • Since the Centre has decided to create five new IITs in the country by upgrading some premier institutions, the state government has been pushing the case of the Osmania University College of Engineering. During his recent visit to New Delhi , chief minister Chandrababu Naidu took up the matter with the Prime Minister and the human resource minister and strongly pleaded for an IIT in Andhra Pradesh ... An expert committee from the Union ministry of human resources development will visit Hyderabad shortly to assess the facilities available at the Osmania University College of Engineering following a request by the state government to upgrade it into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) ... more.
  • When 77-odd students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai's Class of '78 assembled for the alumni meet on Sunday, nostalgia was not the centrepoint. The class, including Nandan Nilekani of Infosys and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, had futuristic solutions for Vision 20:20 India. "India has potential and the positive attitude is also growing," said Parrikar. He was addressing a discussion titled 'Are IITians doing enough for India?' at the meet. One of the seven software wizards who founded Infosys, Nandan Nilekani had a solution to preventing any future stamp paper scams ... more.
  • "The 2004 wishlist" - Nilanjana S. Roy, Business Standard, January 2, 2004. "... But perhaps the most important item on my wish list concerns Murli Manohar Joshi and his inadvertent contribution to a second freedom movement. Many of us watched with dismay as the minister’s diktats froze donations for the IITs. ... He wants a common admission test for the IITs and IIMs to replace the CAT, the post-test interview and the group discussion. He’s also put paid to donations from abroad by setting up the Bharat Shiksha Kosh, which effectively forces would-be donors to hand over their cash without any say over where the money will go to and how it will be spent. The same strategy was unleashed on the IIMs, but last week IIM Ahmedabad ran up a flag of mutiny. The institute has declined to accept the government’s money, which puts pressure on it to raise the necessary funds, but will also render it independent of the pressures that will otherwise be exerted on it. IIM alumni say they have no wish to allow the government to have a say in changing the curriculum, or changing the bar for future students. With my humanities-obsessed mind, I never applied to either of these institutions: but over the years, they’ve become a source of pride for me as for other Indians. And in 2004, what I hope for most of all is that the legacy of the IITs and IIMs will survive the Joshi juggernaut" ... more.
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, is planning to open its extension unit at Goa for post graduate studies in Biotech and IT by the end of next year. "We are looking at establishing an extension unit of IIT, Mumbai for post-graduate studies in Biotech and IT and the Goa government would contribute Rs 15 crore for it," Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said ... more.
  • The Mumbai-based Abhitech Energycon Services Ltd (AESL), the flagship company of a diversified group which is into the business of petroleum, construction and financial services, has launched Thermol, an environment-friendly performance booster for petrol and diesel, in Gujarat on Saturday. This is in association with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, the company said ... more.
  • The much hyped Pan-IIT alumni event, IIT-2050, scheduled to be held earlier this week between December 21 and 22 was quietly called off. And the red-faced IIT old boys are not saying why, at least not on record. Announced amidst the lingering feel-good factor from the earlier high-profile Pan-IIT meet in Silicon Valley last January, the New Delhi event was expected to attended by India, Inc's top honchos like Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy, ITC chairman YC Deveshwar, HLL chairman MS Banga and Tata Sons executive director R Gopalakrishnan ... but the buzz is that some protocol may have been breached in getting dates from the office of the Minister of Human Resources Murli Manohar Joshi. "Unfortunately there had been a similar issue at the last event in San Jose as well where the minister didn't finally make it. This time round, no compromise could be worked out and it had to be cancelled," Silicon Valley-based Arjun Malhotra, chairman, Headstrong, and chairman of the Vision 2020 initiative of the IIT-KGP alumni told ET ... more.
March 2004
 
Faculty Alumni Network (FAN) event in Chicago on October 11-12 after PanIIT2009. link
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Discounted rates till May 3rd for PanIIT 2009 conference is to be held in Chicago from Oct 9-11 ... register now. link
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Get IIT Bombay news and updates via Twitter. link
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Election results for two positions on the Executive Committee of the Mumbai Chapter of IITBAA. link
  • "Offshoring Can Create Jobs, Too ... this much is clear: The rest of the world isn't going to stop charging ahead. The renowned Indian Institute of Technology, with seven campuses, graduates tens of thousands of eager scientists and engineers every year. Meanwhile, companies large and small see the entire planet as a place to do business. As long as they have enough expertise, every human being on every continent is a potential employee. Borders are virtually irrelevant. In such a world, U.S. workers will surely feel some pain. Yet they also stand to do quite well in the end, assuming that our leaders get beyond the campaign rhetoric and give workers the required tools to stay ahead. link
  • In order to cash in on the emerging growth areas like nanotechnology and biotechnology, Indian Institutes of Technology in Delhi, Bombay and Roorkee are drawing their respective research road-map to generate intellectual property (IP) ... IIT Bombay is presently forming research groups and at a later stage, it is also considering to collaborate with the industry for research and development. "We have formed a separate entity to take up the quantum of work in these emerging areas for IIT Bombay," IIT Bombay professor Deepak B Phatak said. Bioinformatics is yet another key area for IIT Bombay, where it is already working with a Pune-based Persistent Systems Private Limited to take up the research from conceptual stage to the product formation stage. link
  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, is set to widen its horizons across the globe. The institute aims to have at least five per cent of the student population (which would work out to about 250 students) hailing from the best universities of Europe and USA, by 2007. Presently, there are about 25 foreign students at IIT Powai. Presently, there are about 25 foreign students at IIT from universities like Northwestern University, US, the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Technical Institute of Munich, Switzerland, INSA Lyons and ESTP Paris, France, The Technical Institute of Darmstadt, Germany, etc. ... "IIT-Bombay has recently signed MoUs with the Royal Institute of Technology and INSA Lyons for student exchange," says Pradipta Banerjee, Dean of Alumni and International Relations ... "In many universities in the European Union, it’s compulsory for third or fourth year engineering students to spend a year abroad. We want IIT to be one of the best options for these students." link
  • Worldspan's ... CEO (IIT alumnus Rakesh Gangwal) looks at all options to cut costs ... The mahogany-paneled executive suite on the 21st floor of Worldspan's Cobb County office tower stands in stark contrast to the ongoing news of layoffs and cutbacks from the travel reservation company ... Gangwal, 50, was named chairman, president and chief executive of Worldspan in July after the company was bought for a little less than $1 billion by a teachers pension fund in Canada and New York-based Citicorp Venture Capital. The prior owners, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and American Airlines, had been relatively hands-off with Worldspan. But owing to their huge personal investments, the new board members are much more involved than at a typical publicly traded company, Gangwal said ... Gangwal grew up in a well-to-do family, earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology and an MBA at the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. link
  • Technocrats are closing their ranks to ward off political bashing of renowned institutes such as Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Close on the heels of HRD minister Murli Manohar Joshi’s attack on professional institutes, alumni of seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are planning to form a Federation of IIT Alumni Association ... When contacted, Maruti Udyog assistant general manager SM Murmu, an alumni of IIT Kharagpur and involved in unifying all IIT alumni associations into one umbrella, told FE: "IITians are thinking of an apex body for quite sometime and we are now working on it. The idea is still in a preliminary stage but in the recent meeting of IITians in Delhi we have discussed this with eminent people like Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) chairman MS Banga and NIIT CMD RS Pawar who endorsed the idea." link
February 2004
  • Reliance Industries is renowned for its ability to complete mammoth projects on schedule, but it’s less known for the chemical engineering expertise it’s built up over time. But it has some of the best chemical engineers in the world like Jayant Kelkar, who came to Reliance from IPCL and heads its Group Technical Services. A chemical engineer from the IIT Powai batch of 1968, Kelkar got his PhD from the University of Salford in UK . Just as he was winding up his thesis, a team of top Indian scientists and bureaucrats was visiting universities the world over to recruit for the IPCL project ... Kelkar is your archetypical engineer — modest, restrained and devoid of any flamboyance. Today, he’s the one person whom everyone in Reliance turns to when they have a technical problem. link
  • "The CEO with a public agenda" ... Apart from making Infosys global, CEO Nandan Nilekani is also working on public governance, writes Subir Roy ... the "defining formative experience" in his life has been his years at IIT, Mumbai, with which he maintains powerful links. He is on its advisory council, the co-chairman of its Heritage Fund (his donation of Rs 25 crore is the largest) and occasionally takes part in activities like addressing the annual convocation as chief guest. Infosys, of which Nilekani became chief executive officer (CEO) in 2002, naturally takes up most of his time. What’s left goes to the family and the various non-government organisations (NGOs) he is connected with — the Bangalore Agenda Task Force (BATF), for instance, which has become a model for public-private partnership, and eGovernments Foundation, which has developed easy-to-use software for citizens to interact with municipal bodies. These have been beneficiaries of Nilekani’s personal philanthropy. Till now, he has donated close to Rs 45 crore of his personal wealth. link
  • Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi ruled out any reversal of government's decision to lower fees of prestigious IIMs saying it was in conformity with NDA's commitment to the principle that higher education should not be the monopoly of rich ... The HRD minister said the government proposed to upgrade five National Institutes of Technology (NIT) to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and increase the number of seats in the IIMs. On the controversy over routing of donations by IIT alumni to their alma mater through India Education Fund, he said it was done following receipt of complaints that the donations were being misused. Asked why a backward state like Bihar was not gven a single IIT, IIM or a central university, the minister said the Union Cabinet had long back decided against opening any fresh central universities and for getting an IIT or IIM the state government would have to approach the Planning Commission with a comprehensive project report and only then can the Centre consider it. link And click here for other news articles about Hon. MM Joshi and the IIT/IIM issue.
  • Naperville, Illinois-based Tellabs Inc. announced that it has hired a new chief executive officer and president to lead the global telecommunications equipment maker. IIT Bombay alumnus Krish Prabhu replaces Michael J. Birck, company co-founder and CEO for about 27 years. Birck will continue as chairman of the board. In addition, Prabhu will join Tellabs’ board of directors and will be included in the election slate for Tellabs’ annual stockholder meeting in April, the company said. Prabhu has 24 years of telecom experience, including as CEO of Alcatel Telecom and CEO of Alcatel USA. Prabhu, who is of Indian heritage, earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bangalore University; a master’s degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai (Bombay); and master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering from University of Pittsburgh. link
  • The world's 35th most respected business leader has just had a bath and is waiting calmly to be interviewed for this article ... Nandan Mohan Nilekani is the 35th most respected business leader ... (as per) the Financial Times. According to its survey of Nilekani's business peers, he is only slightly less respected than Rupert Murdoch and Michael Eisner (of bid-fighting Disney), and he is more respected than Niall FitzGerald of Unilever, Louis Schweitzer of Renault and Sir Chris Gent, formerly of Vodafone ... Nilekani is a bright boy from a small village near Bangalore who got a place at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. He says the IIT has status on a par with Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Oxford, and there's no reason to doubt the man who came top in an intelligence test taken by the cream of a nation of 1bn people. link
  • When Arun Sarin took over as head of the world's largest cellphone group, Vodafone, last year, investors worried that a costly takeover on his home patch would head the US veteran's agenda. Sure enough, six months later, Mr Sarin is discussing whether a $30 billion deal, by which the mobile giant would swap a 45% stake in the largest US mobile phone operator for a 100% stake in the No 3, will add shareholder value ... Born in India, Mr Sarin is the son of an Indian military officer and was sent to a military boarding school in Bangalore, now India's answer to Silicon Valley in the United States. Mr Sarin went on to study engineering at the elite Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. link
  • "We won't do an IIM on IITs: Govt" ... The Indian government ... denied reports it planned to revise the fees charged by the country's premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). "At this moment, there is no plan to revise IIT fees either upwards or downwards. We are not contemplating changing the current structure," said a source in the human resource development ministry. "The existing fee structure of IITs are quite reasonable and doesn't need any immediate revision. The newspaper reports about fee revision in IITs are not true" ...  link
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, formerly known as the University of Roorkee, is planning to set up a centre of excellence in the areas of nanotechnology and nanosciences within its campus. The institute is also exploring the possibility of setting up a centre of excellence for transport engineering. link
  • Wall Street Journal - Page One, February 5, 2004  - With a Small Car, India Takes Big Step Onto Global Stage ... MG Rover Group Ltd. is aiming to import 20,000 cars a year from India's Tata conglomerate, a century-old industrial empire ... top manufacturers are taking the nation's economy beyond its well-known strengths in technology and back- office outsourcing. India's Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. is becoming one of the generic- drug industry's fastest-growing players. An Indian auto-parts company, Bharat Forge Ltd., gobbled up a German firm to become the world's second-largest forging concern. The Tata group's own Tata Iron & Steel Co. has become one of the world's lowest-cost producers, selling specialty steel to Toyota Motor Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and other multinationals ... Tata Motors developed the Indica for $350 million. An equivalent project in the United States or Europe would have cost at least three times as much, says V. Sumantran (BTech IIT Chennai '81), a 16-year veteran of General Motors Corp., who now heads Tata Motors' car business ... In the 1950s, India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made technical education a priority, starting an elite cadre of universities that together form the Indian Institute of Technology. link
  • Microsoft announced the appointment of Ravi Venkatesan (BTech ME '85) as Chairman and General Manager of Microsoft India. In this newly-created position, Mr. Venkatesan will have direct responsibility for Microsoft's marketing, sales, operational and business development efforts in India, and will provide a single point of leadership for Microsoft India, in partnership with the leaders of Microsoft's other business units, in working with policy makers, customers and partners ... Prior to joining Microsoft, Mr. Venkatesan served as Chairman of Cummins India Limited, a US-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of engines and related technologies. He earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, his MS in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He also holds an MBA from Harvard University. link
  • R&D outsourcing ... to India is picking up pace in areas of biotechnology, semiconductor design, academic research, engineering services, and even in automotive manufacturing ... While industrial research often has immediate applications, research at academic institutions usually has a long-term view, often involving a change in technology rather than just the use of it, says Professor Chandorkar, IIT Mumbai. Professor Khilar, dean – research & development, IIT Mumbai, informs that around 50-70 members of the faculty are involved in research from foreign organisations and universities. This brings in a net annual revenue of Rs 1.4 crore, which is 5-7% of the total receipts for R&D projects. Areas of research include nanotechnology, computer science, various avenues of molecular biology, structural engineering and product design. Apart from the key universities, big corporates such as Boeing, Honeywell, Microsoft, Sun, Hitachi, Intel, UNDP, IBM outsource research to IIT. link
  • ... Balaji has a lot to do. As head of the Information Systems Unit of Icrisat ... he has set an immediate goal ... to stop drought in Africa and Asia from threatening people's lives ... As director of the informatics center at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India, he brought the women and youth of 10 villages near the coastal city of Pondicherry online ... In the village of Villianur, where 1500 people were dependent upon fishing and had no modern means of navigating their boats, villagers began using the network to obtain the U.S. Navy's wave-height predictions for the Bay of Bengal, and they believe such information continues to save lives today ... Balaji studied both engineering and chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology, in Kanpur ... "In India," he says, "there are a lot of people who are less than ordinary, and if we cannot do anything for them, we have no right to be in the business of technology." link
  • IITs, IIMs? Joshi has more worries: For over two years now ... Human Resources Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has been waging a battle against what he feels is rampant elitism on the part of premier educational institutions like the Indian Institutes of Management and the Indian Institutes of Technology ... even a casual perusal of the Rao report suggests the minister has used the recommendations selectively ... while the Joshi-IIT/IIM row will sort itself out, one way or the other, the real issues in the Rao report have got scant attention. According to Rao, though the sector is booming, the quality is dramatically falling, with the number of adequately qualified teachers falling short by as much as 80 per cent in some cases ... India is just not producing enough PhDs and MTechs ... If you remove the IIMs, the rest of the B-schools have less than four teachers each on an average ... If the NDA wins the elections, and Joshi returns as the HRD minister, he's going to have a lot more than just the IIMs and the IITs to worry about. link
  • President APJ Abdul Kalam in his address to the nation on the eve of Republic Day spoke about "Protecting the brand image of higher education". He said that "The nation’s vision of developed India requires greater thrust to scientific and technological advancements. All our IITs, IIMs have graduated as world class brand institutions in addition to the century old premier institution – Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. These characteristics must be preserved and nurtured. We should also encourage universities to become cradles of higher learning and research, contributing generation of high skilled global human resource force". The text of his speech is available from the PIB. link
  • Till now, we took medication and sat back waiting for the drug to take effect. ... photochemist Anil Kumar Singh of the IIT Powai and his team ... have developed a way to control the path the drug takes within an organism, and even decide the exact moment when it should begin taking effect ... known in the scientific world as 'caging' a drug, this process renders a drug inactive until it is deliberately activated by light. "There has been research going on worldwide in this field," says Mr Singh. "The difference is that many of the 'caging' chromosphores already developed are activated by ultra-violet light, which is harmful for the body. In our case, the activating light is regular, visible light, which is not harmful." link
January 2004
  • "Mood Indigo, 2003 I came, I saw, I conquered!" A riot of colours and a sea of smiles, Mood Indigo just proved that youth is the best time of one's life. Mood Indigo 2003 embodied the very spirit of youth: the spirit of competition, the spirit of hard work, the spirit of working in a team to make something magical and the spirit of learning something at every step of life. link
  • Techfest, Asia's largest annual technology festival is being held from January 24 to 26 at IIT Bombay. Zee News and Aaj Tak are telecasting the pre-event coverage of Techfest on 21st Jan at 8:30 pm. There are over 25 events at Techfest covering almost all branches of Engineering. Distinguished speakers include Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Chief Economist of the IMF, who will speak on Jan 24 at 5 pm in LT. Techfest 2004 is mounted on a scale that will make many global corporate events blush. As India keeps shining in the glory of its techie achievers, corporate sponsors are showering their blessings on an institute that produced several of them, allowing the campus in picturesque Powai to host its most happening party till date. This year, Techfest - the biggest in Asia - is going where no other Indian campus fest has gone: international. A new competition has been introduced to ensure international participation. Teams from 10 other countries — all expenses paid by the fest — are expected to participate in 'Cliffhanger'. link
  • Sandipan Deb has just published a new book titled "The IITians: The Story of a Remarkable Indian Institution and How its Alumni Are Reshaping the World" ... Indian Institute of Technology is India's biggest and most powerful brand, and arguably the toughest and most influential engineering school in the world. Since the first IIT was set up in the 1950s, thousands of initiates have walked out of the campus gates in Kharagpur, Mumbai, Chennai and elsewhere to become leaders in their chosen fields. In India they head many of the biggest and most admired professionally managed companies. Abroad, they lead giant corporations, and their feats figure in the folklore of Silicon Valley.  link
  • "Joshi on the rampage" - IE ... "Joshi questions quality of IITs" - Union Human Resources Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has sharply criticised the Indian Institutes of Technology, saying that the large-scale spending on the premier technology schools of the country were not paying back ample dividends. "These IITs get an annual central grant of Rs 70-75 crore each, costing the central exchequer as much as Rs 700 crore. They have sprawling campuses, excellent library, labs, canteen and other facilities," he said at the convocation address of the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management (IISWBM) in Kolkata. "Compared to this, Roorkee University gets only Rs 16 crore annually from us. But take any statistics that may reflect the quality of education in these institutes, Roorkee would any day be much better, which means quality of education has got nothing to do with funds, facilities and vastness of the campus," the minister said. "Does paying or spending more money reflect the products of any institute? Absolutely not. In terms of numbers of papers published, citations received and the number of students serving the country, Roorkee is more valuable than any of the IITs," he said.

  • As anger builds over claims of lost jobs, American unions have emerged as aggressive opponents of outsourcing, and their rhetoric often displays thinly disguised xenophobia ... The traditional left has been caught off-guard by the outsourcing debate. It is very hard to make the argument that Indians are being exploited. Studies show that jobs in outsourcing firms are some of the most highly sought-after, and often pay much more than jobs servicing the local economy. There is still a knee-jerk reaction among Indians, reflected in editorials that deride these workers as "cyber-coolies." But does that jargon apply everywhere? As hordes of freshly minted IIT graduates put on their starched white shirts, or crisp salwar-kameez, and march into brand-new "cyberpark" offices in Bangalore, are they really anybody's "coolies?" link
  • The year was 1989. Two IIT (Powai) toppers, Nitin Joshi and Anant Gokhale, passed on offers from Siemens, TCS and MNCs and pulled out Rs 50,000 from savings from scholarship to build a communication system used in computers and industrial automation. "We desperately wanted to create something of our own and didn't want to spend our energies working with some MNC, or going abroad," said Joshi, CEO of Crystalline Infotek. Today, with customers ranging from GE, Siemens, Honeywell, L&T, their efforts weren’t in vain ... they have been busy creating intellectual property in security and surveillance systems ... link
  • Rajeev Srinivasan in rediff.com, January 14, 2004 - "The IITs have done the exact opposite of what Nehru intended, in a spectacular example of the principle of unintended consequences ... He wanted, in continuation of the Macaulayite project, to create de-Indianized and de-Hinduized robots, much like himself. What has happened, ironically enough, is that the majority of IIT products have not followed the plan: they have not become rootless ... What the IITs have done is to locate a bright group of students, teach them a lot of engineering, and substantially enhance their self-esteem. This last was not part of the Nehruvian/Macaulayite project, but this is perhaps the one thing that most IIT graduates share: self-confidence and a belief that they are the best of the best. Since people do what they expect themselves to do, this has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This self-confidence has enabled many IIT graduates to make a mark in whatever they chose to do." link
  • Scientists and engineers of Indian origin are playing a frontline role in the Mars Spirit rover mission. It turns out that Indian companies are handling the back-end of the project too, bringing back to earth images of Mars and enabling their dissemination through their ubiquitous presence in the Internet and dotcom business. Two Indian-led Silicon Valley firms, eTouch and Speedera Networks, are key contractors in the project that has brought back spectacular Mars images live to millions of earthlings. Founded by Mumbai IIT-ian Aniruddha Gadre, eTouch operates the NASA portal, www.nasa.gov, after winning a $6 million government contract last year. link
  • Indian Express, January 14 - "IIT Bombay to raise Rs 15 lakh for Dubey family" - Shailesh Gandhi, president of IIT-Bombay Alumni, has convinced the Dubey family not to refuse the goodwill of a public that is determined to help. Satyendra Dubey, the second son of seven brothers and sisters, was the main breadwinner, supporting his parents, the education of his younger brother and two sisters. ‘‘Satyendra’s father had to take up a clerical job to sustain the family,’’ said Gandhi. ‘‘The IIT alumni wants to help the Dubeys... so I had decided to raise Rs 15 lakh through our alumni network,’’ he said. link
  • Indian Express, January 12, 2004 - Prime Minister Vajpayee on Sunday extended an invitation to Telugu Desam party to join the coalition government at the Centre after the next Lok Sabha elections, while profusely thanking it for extending unstinted support to NDA over the past four years ... The prime minister announced that the State (of Andhra Pradesh) would soon get an IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) out of the proposed five IITs in the country. "You have been asking for an IIT for long. I am confident that your dream would soon be realised," Vajpayee said ... more.
  • A new coffee table style book titled "IIT: India's Intellectual Treasures - Passage Through the Indian Institutes of Technology" has been published by Suvarna Rajguru and Ranjan Pant. The book and the companion documentary highlight the history and evolution of the IITs and the extraordinary contributions of its graduates around the world ... more.
  • Times of India, January 9, 2004 - "The Indian Institute of Technology has traditionally offered three popular career paths to its students: A post-graduate degree in the US , a business management degree at an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) or a job as trainee engineer. Now IIT, Powai, has added a fourth choice, that of entrepreneurship, to the list, with its Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship SINE). The Society aims to do for IIT students, what any concerned parent would do for their child - provide a safe Incubator for innovative entrepreneurship ideas. The brainchild of enthusiastic professors like D.B. Phatak and R.K Lagoo, it was formed informally by Friends of IIT, which included professors and alumni, in 1999. The experiment was declared successful with 13 information technolog (IT) companies being incubated so far - of which, four have moved out as revenue-earning companies and three have received their first round of venture funding" ... more.
  • NDTV , January 8, 2004 - "The Rao Committee on technical education has recommended a drastic reduction in fees in technical institutions including the IITs and IIMs. Set up in 2002 by the HRD Ministry to find ways to improve the standards of technical education in the country, the committee has also suggested that graduates from technical institutions pay a small percentage of their salaries instead towards an education fund. Former ISRO chairman Professor UR Rao, who headed the committee, said one of the major problems was the unchecked growth of educational institutions. "The problem is the drop in standards in the last two decades. There has been a proliferation of educational institutions. Many of them employ fresh graduates as teachers, so mediocrity has been multiplying mediocrity. We need 30,000 PhDs immediately to meet the requirements of the existing engineering institutions alone," said Rao ... more.
  • Economic Times, January 7, 2004 - "Is the IIM brand losing sheen? ... It's one of India's most prized jewels - an MBA from the IIMs. Brand IIM is second only to Brand IIT in terms of recognition and imagery when it comes to educational institutions, and is an internationally re cognised brand. However, Brand IIM is facing troubled times and all those associated with it are extremely concerned. IIMA alumni have recently submitted a petition to the President of India, the Prime Minister and the HRD Minister, protesting against what’s seen as an encroachment on the autonomy of the IIMs by the HRD Ministry. The petition highlights the concerns of students, faculty and alumni at what they see as a direct threat to the IIM brand ... more.
  • The Economic Development Board of the Singapore government is holding talks with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to set up an IIT campus in Singapore, Low Weilin, manager, Singapore Education, has said. Speaking at the two-day Singapore Education Fair organised in Chennai by the Singapore Tourism Board yesterday, Weilin said the Singapore Education Board had been discussing with the IIT for a possible tie-up between them to set up an IIT in Singapore. Besides, she said the quality of education provided by IITs would be the same in Singapore also as was the case in India.
  • Since the Centre has decided to create five new IITs in the country by upgrading some premier institutions, the state government has been pushing the case of the Osmania University College of Engineering. During his recent visit to New Delhi , chief minister Chandrababu Naidu took up the matter with the Prime Minister and the human resource minister and strongly pleaded for an IIT in Andhra Pradesh ... An expert committee from the Union ministry of human resources development will visit Hyderabad shortly to assess the facilities available at the Osmania University College of Engineering following a request by the state government to upgrade it into an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) ... more.
  • When 77-odd students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai's Class of '78 assembled for the alumni meet on Sunday, nostalgia was not the centrepoint. The class, including Nandan Nilekani of Infosys and Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, had futuristic solutions for Vision 20:20 India. "India has potential and the positive attitude is also growing," said Parrikar. He was addressing a discussion titled 'Are IITians doing enough for India?' at the meet. One of the seven software wizards who founded Infosys, Nandan Nilekani had a solution to preventing any future stamp paper scams ... more.
  • "The 2004 wishlist" - Nilanjana S. Roy, Business Standard, January 2, 2004. "... But perhaps the most important item on my wish list concerns Murli Manohar Joshi and his inadvertent contribution to a second freedom movement. Many of us watched with dismay as the minister’s diktats froze donations for the IITs. ... He wants a common admission test for the IITs and IIMs to replace the CAT, the post-test interview and the group discussion. He’s also put paid to donations from abroad by setting up the Bharat Shiksha Kosh, which effectively forces would-be donors to hand over their cash without any say over where the money will go to and how it will be spent. The same strategy was unleashed on the IIMs, but last week IIM Ahmedabad ran up a flag of mutiny. The institute has declined to accept the government’s money, which puts pressure on it to raise the necessary funds, but will also render it independent of the pressures that will otherwise be exerted on it. IIM alumni say they have no wish to allow the government to have a say in changing the curriculum, or changing the bar for future students. With my humanities-obsessed mind, I never applied to either of these institutions: but over the years, they’ve become a source of pride for me as for other Indians. And in 2004, what I hope for most of all is that the legacy of the IITs and IIMs will survive the Joshi juggernaut" ... more.
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, is planning to open its extension unit at Goa for post graduate studies in Biotech and IT by the end of next year. "We are looking at establishing an extension unit of IIT, Mumbai for post-graduate studies in Biotech and IT and the Goa government would contribute Rs 15 crore for it," Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said ... more.
  • The Mumbai-based Abhitech Energycon Services Ltd (AESL), the flagship company of a diversified group which is into the business of petroleum, construction and financial services, has launched Thermol, an environment-friendly performance booster for petrol and diesel, in Gujarat on Saturday. This is in association with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, the company said ... more.
  • The much hyped Pan-IIT alumni event, IIT-2050, scheduled to be held earlier this week between December 21 and 22 was quietly called off. And the red-faced IIT old boys are not saying why, at least not on record. Announced amidst the lingering feel-good factor from the earlier high-profile Pan-IIT meet in Silicon Valley last January, the New Delhi event was expected to attended by India, Inc's top honchos like Infosys chairman NR Narayana Murthy, ITC chairman YC Deveshwar, HLL chairman MS Banga and Tata Sons executive director R Gopalakrishnan ... but the buzz is that some protocol may have been breached in getting dates from the office of the Minister of Human Resources Murli Manohar Joshi. "Unfortunately there had been a similar issue at the last event in San Jose as well where the minister didn't finally make it. This time round, no compromise could be worked out and it had to be cancelled," Silicon Valley-based Arjun Malhotra, chairman, Headstrong, and chairman of the Vision 2020 initiative of the IIT-KGP alumni told ET ... more.

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