Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools
You are here: Home News News - 2005

News - 2005

IIT Bombay News Archive - 2005
Archive of News Updates
 
December 2005
  • "Women in the IITs are an endangered species," quips second year chemical engineering student Sonal Gahelot. If IITians are the country's future, then it's a gender-skewed future. Women students in IIT Mumbai are a tiny percentage. "There are 34 girls and over 500 boys in our year," says first year civil engineering student Vidushi Jain. IIT girls, conspicuous as the minority, tend however to be among the more socially confident students. For instance, in the 'core group' or top committee of Mood Indigo, three of the 35 third year girls are members, whereas the remaining 18 men represent a population of more than 500. link
  • Rock show brings down curtains on Mood I ... Rock bands with names like Bhayanak Maut weren't the only reason for heightened police presence at the Mood Indigo fest which ended at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai ... Mumbai police was not taking any chances after the terrorist attack at Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science, especially given the fact that the 'Livewire' rock concert, the climax of the festival, saw a turnout of 17,000 students at the IIT's open air theatre. link
  • In aerospace labs from Bangalore to the US, an Indian idea to save combat aircraft is making experts sit up and take notice. Prof. N. Ananthkrishnan (BTech '89 Aero) and his students have designed a Panic Button Algorithm to recover combat aircraft that may be spinning to a crash. link
  • Vital scientific and defence installations across the country were put under heavy security in the wake of the suspected terrorist attack at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in which a scientist was killed and four others were injured. Security was tightened at the premier Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, which houses the nation's nuclear assets, and IIT in the suburban Powai. link
  • One person was killed and four injured after unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire in the campus of Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science  ... the deceased was Professor M C Puri, Professor Emeritus in the Mathematics Department of Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology. link
  • Informed sources say a decision to announce the new IITs is just around the corner. The MHRD panel will submit its evaluation report to the ministry by January 2006. After going through the report, consulting with IIT Board (an apex council of all IITs), the state governments, and discussing with political allies, the government will declare its final decision around February/March, 2006. The colleges declared for upgradation to IIT shall be asked to take students through IIT-JEE; those with Deemed-IITs status can admit students through IIT-JEE or AIEEE as per their choice; while new INIs will be asked to take at least half of the students through AIEEE. link
  • With names like Amjad Khan, and A R Rahman emerging from talent hunts held at IIT's Mood Indigo, (a festival that goes back to 1967), it's no surprise that this fest is considered one of Mumbai's most well attended. The festival kicks off today (Dec 26) and will go on till the Dec 29. This time round 50,000 people are expected to show up for the three-day fest and big performers like Vishwa Mohan Bhatt will give all the competing IITans and those attending a taste of the Classics. P C Sorcar Jr brings his brand of magic to the campus with his troupe of 26 performers who dazzle and bewitch. And if that wasn't enough Dr V Nagesh will conduct a two hour hypnotism show to dig out all those hidden secrets that have been locked away. link
  • The largest single class reunion ever was held by the Silver Jubilee Class of 1980 in Powai. Click here for pictures from the reunion ... a total amount in excess of $200,000 or Rs. 1 crore was raised at the reunion for the Powai Lake Legacy Project. link 
  • The IITian Way of Giving ... The 80-ites have chosen the 'Rejuvenation of Powai Lake' as their Legacy Project, as a way for the entire class to give back to society at large, and to leave a permanent legacy for their alma mater. It is a huge task and the Class of 1980 is not going to be able to do it all alone. And it's not going to be completed in a few months or years either. It will require the Class of 1980 to work together with the central, state and local governments, NGOs, IIT, industry and citizens to make it happen. The Powai Lake Legacy Project is an example of how the spirit of gurudakshina, a sense of social responsibility, and gold coins from alumni can catalyze a larger effort to save a lake and to build public support for environmental protection. link
  • The most popular college festival in town has grown to become one of the highest sponsored college festivals across the nation. Mood Indigo (MoodI), hosted by IIT Mumbai is back with a bang, once again roping in few of the largest and most prestigious corporate sponsors for the festival. With a cash budget of Rs 34 lakh in 2002, the four-day festival has managed to generate almost Rs 50 lakh from corporate sponsorship alone this year. link
  • 27-year-old Deelip Mhaske ... a research scholar with the Humanities and Social Sciences department at IIT has been working with the slumdwellers, who are spread over an area of 26 acres, since 2000. It is his work with over 80,000 Damunagar slumdwellers that has catapulted him to nothing less than the position of a superhero. "I want to bring a change to the lives of the deprived ..." says Mhaske who did his masters in social work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). link
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and IIT Bombay Heritage Fund (IITBHF) announced a generous gift of $1.5 million from Victor Menezes (BTech '70 EE), retired Senior Vice Chairman of Citigroup, Inc. This is the first part of his $3 million pledge for IIT Bombay's ambitious plans to inaugurate a Convention Centre during its Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2007-08. Victor has been a longtime and consistent supporter of IIT Bombay and he is Co-Chairman of IITBHF, the Alumni Fund of IIT Bombay. "IIT Bombay gave me a priceless education -- and this is a small way to say thank you," said Mr. Menezes. link
  • New York Times article titled "India Accelerating ... Mile by Mile, India Paves a Smoother Road to Its Future" quotes Sudheendra Kulkarni (BTech '84 CivE). "The perception of India earlier was that it cannot be in the rank of other fast-growing nations," said Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was an aide to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former prime minister who championed the project. With the highway, Mr. Kulkarni said, "People began to see that India is transforming." link
  • Techfest enters its ninth edition, Techfest ‘06, and will be held from 20th - 22nd January, 2006. The themes at Techfest ‘06 are artificial intelligence (AI), space exploration technology (Cosmos), aviation and auto-tech (Sixth Gear), smart technologies (Smart Tech), modern structural engineering (CONCREaTE) and lastly emerging rural technologies (eRustique). link
    • Country Roads ... Careers in Rural Develpment ... link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Sequence Design, the EDA technology leader in low-power design, has invested Rs. 20 Crores (over $4.5 million) in India according to company president and CEO Vic Kulkarni (BTech '74 EE), a 1974 IIT Bombay graduate. link
    • Tellabs Inc. CEO Krish A. Prabhu (MSc '75 Physics) is ... reshaping Tellabs by expanding its product line, a strategy that's put the company in competition with giants like Motorola Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. link

November 2005

  • India may not get new IITs but it will have institutes equivalent in status. For students, it will mean grade of qualification equal to IIT courses; and for institutes, a degree of autonomy. If all goes well, seven technology institutes will be equivalent to IITs in a year’s time. The HRD ministry has decided to give status of IITs to seven engineering institutes in the country and fully fund their upgrade — at an estimated Rs 100 crore for each. link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • U.S., India clear way for nano partnerships ... Who might benefit from the agreement? One example is Arunava Majumdar, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a native of India. He already exchanges annual visits with a counterpart at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay, and hopes that closer ties will help researchers in both nations stay in contact with each other amid today's tougher U.S. immigration policies. link
    • Marketers should consider RSS (Really Simple Syndication) as a means to capitalize on niche markets ... Anand Subramanian is the CEO of ContextWeb, headquartered in New York, NY. Anand received a bachelor of technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 1992. link
  • Students from around the globe will gather in Seattle to present their creative and commercially sustainable solutions for reducing poverty through new business development, in the University of Washington Business School's inaugural Global Social Entrepreneurship Competition. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students will participate in the competition, which runs from Feb. 22-25. Seven teams competing are: University of Yaounde I (Yaounde, Cameroon); Bharathidasan Institute of Management (Tamil Nadu, India); Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai, India); Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) and three from the University of Washington. link

November 2005

  • You’d expect an IPS officer at the helm of cyber security and compliance in India’s premier software association to be a tough-looking tyrant out to get online crimes deleted from the records. Nandkumar Saravade belies this image. The only police official in the National Association for Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), Saravade (MTech '84 EnvSci) has a doctorate in cyber security from IIT Bombay, is affable, modest, and soft-spoken. Now director of cyber security at Nasscom, India’s only IPS officer there is a vital part of the Cyber Safety Week currently on in Mumbai. Organised by Nasscom in collaboration with Mumbai Police, the programmes in the week-long event will build awareness among the common man about online security, and protection of data and financial assets on the Web. link
  • Until recently, for the authorities at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), excessive computer use on the campus meant glazed looks and the occasional geek falling asleep in class. But now, students and faculty members admit that all-night (and sometimes 24/7) hacking competitions, gaming competitions, music downloading and file-sharing, chatting and blogging are taking a heavy toll at the elite campus-affecting attendance, grades and even personal lives. Last week, fourth-year physics student Vijay Nukala, known on the campus as 'Nuke', committed suicide after being failed in three courses because of poor attendance. His professors were aware of the stress the boy was under-as a precaution, they had asked his father to be in Mumbai last week. link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • The Board of Directors of Compact Power, Inc. (CPI) has named Dr. Prabhakar Patil (BTech '72 Aero) to the position of Chief Executive Officer. link
    • Sanjay Bose (BTech '94 CSE) of IBM has co-written a book titled "Service-Oriented Architecture Compass: Business Value, Planning, and Enterprise Roadmap". link
  • The residents of Naval Civilian Housing (NCH) Colony in Kanjurmarg  ... (have) set up a bio-filtration plant to reuse waste water - upto 1 lakh litres, which equals four tanker fulls every day - and green their area. The first plant - with a capacity of 50,000 litres of waste water - was set up on an experimental basis with help from experts from IIT, Powai, and its successful run prompted this attempt. The principle applied is decantation - the same process that distills wines and other spirits by passing them slowly through a series of vessels. link
  • Jairam Ramesh (BTech '75 ME) is a keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Wharton India Economic Forum on "India's Mantra for Success" to be held in Philadelphia, PA, on November 18, 2005. Jairam is Secretary - Economic Affairs of the Congress Party and author of "Making Sense of Chindia". He is presently a Congress Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, and a member of three Parliamentary committees including the Public Accounts Committee, the Standing Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Government Assurances. link
  • Now that the seven engineering institutions shortlisted by the S.K. Joshi Committee for upgradation to Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) level have submitted their vision documents, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry has set up a three-member technical committee to do a "reality check". The Madras Institute of Development Studies Chairman and former IIT Kanpur professor, M. Anandakrishnan, heads the committee; the other two members being the former Roorkee University Vice-Chancellor, D.V. Singh, and the former IIT Kharagpur director, Amitabha Ghosh. link
  • The class of ‘80 of the city’s Indian Institute of Technology is pitching in to restore their beloved Powai lake to its once-pristine condition. The alumni plan to generate Rs 2.5 crore by December when they will gather for a silver jubilee reunion. The alumni have chalked out a plan that includes removing water hyacinth and weeds from the lake in the parts nearest the IIT campus and starting an awareness programme in the area. Building embankments, walkways and pathways to the lake, constructing a large gazebo for an evening (or morning or afternoon) by the lake, planting trees, and creating a garden, setting updocks, deploying boats and canoes and allocating funds for annual maintenance of the lake will be done by the alumni. link
  • CXO Systems, a leader in real-time Operational Intelligence software, today announced it has promoted two of its key executives into senior-level product architecture and development positions to capitalize on the growing risk and operational intelligence markets. Vinod Damodaran (BTech '84 ME) has been promoted to Vice President, Engineering ... Mr. Damodaran will lead CXO Systems' engineering teams in Sunnyvale, CA and Pune, India. link
  • Scientists can now spot microscopic defects hidden inside any material and parasites within cells using a new imaging method that can peer through surfaces to see buried objects nanometers in size, experts say. The most powerful microscopy techniques currently available mostly are sensitive only to surface features or to details located right below the surface. Peering any deeper with these methods requires damaging the surface, explained materials scientist Gajendra Shekhawat at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Shekhawat and his colleague Vinayak Dravid (BTech '84 MetE) have developed an imaging technique capable of resolving details 20 nanometers in size a micron below surfaces. Using their method, dubbed scanning near-field ultrasound holography, the researchers spotted defects in microelectronic structures and watched malaria parasites inside living red blood cells in real time. Shekhawat and Dravid report their findings in the Oct. 7 issue of the journal Science. "We think this can have a great societal impact by studying the biomechanics of living cells. And we think this can have tremendous impact on the semiconductor industry to spot defects that can damage circuits," said Shekhawat. link  
  • Seven metres of cobbled walkways, seats along the banks and miniature gardens for family picnics ... Three months after terrible Tuesday, this is the city administration’s rosy picture for the Mithi River, one that they hope will soon be in league with the Thames or the Nile. Only this mammoth task will take at least four years. This means that Mumbai will have to brace itself for a few more 26/7s if Mithi floods over. There are more than five agencies involved in this gargantuan task; which means that much more red tape. Among the agencies are the BMC, MMRDA, the Collectorate, the Central Power and Water Research Station at Khadakvasla and IIT Mumbai. While all the agencies have to report to the BMC commissioner, their activities and reports are interconnected. link

October 2005

  • The Indian Institute of Technology was featured on Dilbert once again, as Asok demonstrated the "explosive" brainpower needed to get into the IITs. In September 2003, the Dilbert strip had highlighted the "huge brain" of IITians, and this was the first time that Scott Adams identified Asok as an IITian. Mr. Adams poked fun at IIT alums by having Asok say that "Luckily, I'm an IIT graduate, mentally superior to most people on earth ..." link
  • State Bank of India and Visa International has launched pre-paid cards on the mChq platform, which is a mobile-to-mobile payment option. This card will be first introduced for Airtel subscribers at IIT Bombay, Powai. The initiative enables merchants to use the mobile phone as a secure point of sale (POS) terminal and cardholders to use their handsets as payment mechanism. The service will be available to Airtel subscribers who have an SBI pre-paid card. SBI is expected to roll out this service to other IIT campuses in the coming months. link
  • Eyeing the huge market potential for mobile database management products in India, global software company Sybase plans to introduce specialised products for insurance and telecom sectors. The company has a presence in Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai. Two years back, it also started a software development centre at Pune, where now it plans to expand its activites. "We would also plan a tie-up with institutes like Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai and Bangalore for product specific research," Raj Nathan, Sybase senior vice-president of Information Technology Solutions, said. link
  • Umberto Eco and anthropologist Alain Le Pichon of the University of Paris are trying to ... set up the opposite model, with anthropologists from Asian and African countries coming to Europe and interpreting their experiences of European culture. The objective of the symposium in India is to create a transcultural observatory in this country in collaboration with French Institute de Pondicherry and Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai. link The Transcultura International Institute is an international network of universities that ... is organised around three main pivots: Euro-Asian (China: Tsinghua / Beijing University / Academy of Social Sciences; India: IIT Bombay, Nehru University in Delhi; Iran: Teheran University; Euro-Mediterranean: Algiers University, Rabat University; Euro-African: Institute of Human Sciences in Bamako, Mali). link
  • Tech incubators ... High-end research in IITs and IISc is churning out entrepreneurial success stories ... in IIT Mumbai, Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) is facilitating the conversion of research activity into entrepreneurial ventures. Success stories from the incubator include Herald Logic which develops products in enterprise information, rule-based engine; Voyager2 Infotech, which built a creative ideas portal and was bought out by Purple Yogi; Myzus Technologies, which develops products and services in the areas of wireless gateways and connectivity bridges. link
  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, is among fifteen top Asian universities partnering with Washington University in St. Louis in launching the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, a global education and research initiative. The academy would groom leaders who are able to deal with challenges of globalization in a socially sensitive way. Launched by Washington University in St. Louis and 15 leading Asian partner universities with a $10 million endowment commitment from John F. McDonnell and the JSM Charitable Trust, the McDonnell Academy creates a growing worldwide network of top scholars, researchers and business and governmental leaders. Other critical support comes from nine multinational corporations and several other foundations and individual donors. link
  • The Indian Postal Service has announced the launch of a new look letter box designed by the Industrial Design Center (IDC) at IIT Bombay. The mail box is expected to last for a minimum 20 years and uses contemporary materials such as high quality brush finished stainless steel. The government is working on a two-pronged approach ... aimed at transforming the Department of Post, said communications minister Dayanidhi Maran. Maran announced the launch of corporate e-post, new look letter box, expansion of logistics post and computerisation of all the 26,000 post offices.  link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Many corporate houses are going 'out there', away from the concrete jungles to play outdoor games in order to foster management development or organisational change. "These programmes provide real-life challenges within the framework of safety, hence the success (or failure) is very real, not just on paper," says Vasant Limaye (BTech '78 ME), CEO, High Places Management ... a mountaineer and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (London), who is a veteran of over 500 outdoor programmes. High Places has been organising adventure and outdoor management development programmes since 1989. link
    • NetContinuum announced that is has closed a $15 million round of venture capital financing led by Menlo Ventures and joined by other existing investors including Palomar Ventures, Entrepia, and Invus. NetContinuum also announced the appointment of Varun Nagaraj (BTech '86 EE) as CEO. Nagaraj joins NetContinuum from Extreme Networks, where he served as vice president of product management and marketing. link
    • Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, (IIM-B), has decided to the increase student intake for its courses from the academic year 2005-06, Director IIM B, Prof Prakash G Apte (BTech '68 ME) said ... IIM-B has increased the number of students in the Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP) from 180 to 240 from the academic year 2005-06. link
  • Sachin Attarde, a first year M Tech student at IIT Bombay died while playing dandiya at the Powai campus on ... the police say he could have suffered a heart attack. Dr B K Goyal, dean of Bombay Hospital, pointed out that heart attacks among the young were common in India. "In India, 16% of the young suffer cardiac arrests compared to only 4% in the west," said Goyal. link
  • An internal study by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), which formed part of the basis for deciding that 60 per cent in Class XII exams would be a must for IIT entrance examination eligibility, reveals that students who do well in their Board examinations in Class X and XII are more likely to perform well in IITs. And that a high rank in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) doesn’t translate into a high grade in the B Tech programme. The present selection is through a screening test and a main examination, both based on objective-type questions. As competition grew, the JEE has been getting increasingly closer to the syllabus of science graduate programmes, making aspirants more and more dependent on coaching classes, the task force assessed. IIT aspirants began to neglect their school studies as a result. All these have adversely affected the standard of the IITs, the study revealed. This year on, there will be no screening test. In fact, the screening test and the main examination have been selecting the same 4,000 students since 2000, the study found. From next year, anyone who gets 60 per cent or above in Class XII will be eligible to compete for the IITs. And the questions for the JEE will be strictly from the syllabus and standard of the Class XII, encouraging a synergy between Class XII examinations and the JEE. link
  • The United Kingdom-based Times Higher Education Supplement has ranked the Indian Institutes of Technology as the third best technology universities in the world for 2005. In a statement, THES said: "Our peer review of the world's top technology universities shows that in 2004, the high praise for the Indian Institutes of Technology was no fluke. Up to third position in 2005 from fourth place last year, the IITs are a source of Indian national pride as well as innovation and wealth." The top science institutions, Cambridge and Oxford universities, cut less of a dash in engineering and IT, placed 6 and 13, respectively, while the IITs come 36th in science despite being third in technology. link
  • The Times of India interviewed Prof. V Ramgopal Rao of the EE Department at IIT Bombay on winning the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize in Engineering Sciences. "My work is in the area of Nanoelectronics, which deals with electron devices with feature sizes below 100 nm. Today, most such devices, built using silicon, are mainly used for building digital blocks. However, for analog applications involving high frequencies, such as in mobile phones, one still uses compound semiconductors. My work has focussed on integrating multiple applications on a silicon platform. I am all for setting up more IITs. I am, however, against converting existing institutions to IITs. By converting existing institutions to IITs overnight, we are diluting the IIT brand name." link
  • An upcoming furniture fair in Mumbai will showcase the budding talent of design specialists from India's two top design institutes - National Institute of Design (NID) and Industrial Design Centre (IDC) - IIT, Bombay. The five-day INDEX International Furniture Fair, beginning October 12, is expected to witness participation by 200 players from around the world, including 60 exhibitors from Italy and 45 from China and Malaysia, organisers said. Universal Expositions Group director Sylvia Khan said ''In the last few years, Index Furniture Fair has evolved to become the most influential international platform for entry into the vibrant Indian market.''  link
  • Microsoft Research Lab India Pvt. Ltd. announced that it is working with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay on a project on landslide detection that applies distributed, wireless sensors to monitor landslide prone areas. link
  • The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will install an automatic flood warning system for Mumbai by next monsoon. While the BMC has been mulling over a flood-warning system since 26/7, Friday’s meeting is a concrete step in the direction. The BMC on Friday also appointed IIT Bombay as consultants for the warning system, said additional municipal commissioner S K Singh. link
  • One, zero and three. That’s the number of PhD holders from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) placed in jobs per year during the last three years of campus recruitments. Official data (see box) with Newsline indicates over 100 PhD students registered for placements during these three years - 2002-03 to 2004-05. "Of the 128 companies that participated in campus placements last year, only 10 were interested in recruiting PhDs," says IIT-B’s Associate Dean (R&D) Rangan Banerjee. The message is not lost at IIT. Faculty is tossing the problem in a CII-IIT-B working group with companies like Forbes Marshall, Mahindra & Mahindra and Larsen & Toubro (L&T). link
  • Arjun Divecha (BTech '79 Aero), the man at the helm of affairs at GMO Emerging Markets Fund with $15 billion under its fold, is unwilling to bet on a paradigm shift in India. Going by the statistical odds instead, he is underweight on the country. Arjun Divecha, based in Berkeley, California, is a member of the GMO board and executive committee and is responsible for overseeing the team managing the GMO Emerging Markets Fund, the GMO Emerging Countries Fund and the GMO Emerging Markets Quality Fund which currently have over $15 billion under management for global institutional clients. Armed with a Bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and an MBA in Finance from Cornell University, Divecha has been affiliated with GMO since 1993. "As an IIT Bombay graduate, I'd rather play the statistical odds (reversion to the mean) than bet on a paradigm shift (that things will in fact be different this time)." link
  • The Centre for Technology for Rural Areas (CTARA) and IIT Mumbai have developed pedal or animal-driven energy generation prototypes to overcome power shortage and improve the efficiency of rural farmers to excel in small-scale industries. Supported by the Mumbai-based Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), the CTARA has received Rs 8 lakh for designing prototypes such as a potter's wheel, a pedal-powered electricity generator (battery charger), a water pump, a wood-turning lathe and a paddy thresher.  link
  • Participating in a seminar on "Opportunities for India in the Knowledge Economy" organised by IIT Delhi, Pitroda said: "Students of IITs and its alumni have to take up teaching to make India a knowledge hub. The community has enough talent but they need to involve themselves in nation building in a major way. And there is no better work than teaching." The Government of India has constituted the National Knowledge Commission with Mr. Sam Pitroda as its Chairperson, and other members of the commission include Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE). The seminar was attended by over a thousand eminent invitees, including twenty alumni from IIT Bombay. link
  • For years they’ve competed among themselves - especially the IIMs Ahmedabad, Bangalore and Calcutta - for the best students and recruiters. Now, the first glimmer of outside competition is appearing and from an interesting source - the Indian Institutes of Technology. Students and recruiters are the bedrock of a professional institute’s reputation in India. The IITs are slowly eroding the IIMs’ historic grip on both. "Initially, these companies were only going to B-schools, now they realise that IIT students are as good," says Chitranshu Mathur, placement co-ordinator, IIT Bombay (SJ Mehta School of Management). "Then there are companies that come to the IIMs and not the IITs. We look at the kinds of jobs they offer and if we can do them. Some consulting companies have already realised the IIT students can do these jobs. For the rest, we want to clear any misconceptions that they have," he adds. link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Bharat Desai (BTech '75 EE), Chairman, CEO and founder of Syntel, Inc., a global information technology services company, has been named "Entrepreneur of the Year" by the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. link
    • "It’s absolutely great when your twins ask you, 'What do you do, dad?' and you can say, 'I make chips for the iPod and PlayStation,'" said Umesh Padval (BTech '80 ChE), Executive Vice President of LSI's Consumer Products Group. In addition, the company is working with a variety of consumer electronics makers on servicing the DVD recorder market as well as preparing for the upcoming high-capacity, high-definition DVD market. LSI plans to support both of the rival formats: Blu-ray and HD-DVD. "We’re agnostic on that," said Mr. Padval. link “We’re providing silicon for both.” The company may be agnostic, but it will have to find an appropriate buyer before long for its Gresham facility if it also wants to be fabless.
    • Alfalight, Inc., an innovative manufacturer of high-power diode lasers, today named Rajesh Nair (BTech '84 ChE) as vice president of operations. Nair will lead Alfalight's production and engineering teams to drive manufacturing excellence and accelerate product development. Nair holds a master's degree in electrical engineering from National Technological University, a master's degree in chemical engineering from Syracuse University, and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. link
  • "The shy billionaire" ... Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE) is clear that he does not owe his current position or prominence to his brains. Yes, of course he was bright ... but getting to IIT Powai was a revelation. Though he is reluctant to talk about this, the answer to the question of what he does with his money is simple enough: he gives most of it away. Nandan offers two justifications. The first is the great wealth-great responsibility argument. The second justification is even more practical. "I really don't have many expensive tastes. I have more money than I will ever need. My children will not join the company and I believe in the middle class tradition that they should earn a living themselves." Nandan Nilekani has a new claim to fame these days. In a conversation with the American journalist Thomas Friedman, he remarked that the technological revolution had made the world a more equal, more even place. Friedman used many of Nandan's ideas ­ taking care to credit them to the source ­ in his book The World Is Flat. That book has been an extraordinary success ... How does it feel ... to know that his ideas are reaching Americans who've never heard of him or of Infosys? "It's a great feeling. It's actually the best feeling ..."  link
  • The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh said that the Government would try to retain the country’s talent at home by creating exciting career opportunities for scientists. The Prime Minister said that 21st century is going to be a 'knowledge century' then it is not military power, nor economic power, but ‘brain power’ that will determine our place in the comity of nations. He spoke while giving away the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for 2004 and 2005 to 21 scientists here today. The recipients of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes 2004 include Dr. Subhasis Chaudhuri, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. The recipients of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes 2005 include Dr. V. Ramgopal Rao, Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, Powai, Mumbai for Engineering Sciences. link

September 2005

  • Take it from the pros: Don't do venture capital in India. It doesn't work there. Don't worry about exits, because they will come. And don't worry about barriers to entry for an idea — it's all about execution. These don'ts — and other pieces of sage advice — came from an unlikely source: Parag Saxena, managing partner and CEO of Invesco Private Capital, among the largest institutional investors in private equity, with $8 billion under management. "We now believe private equity is an attractive opportunity in India for those willing to stay," he said. A native-born Indian, he is a product of Mumbai's esteemed Indian Institute of Technology ... and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. link
  • Milind Karandikar (BTech '84 ChE), a wave theory specialist, predicts Sensex levels of - hold your breath - 18000 to 40000. Even since the market crossed 8000, we have received several calls from readers asking for Milind Karandikar’s mobile numbers. Who is he? He is no famous fund manager. Not a hot shot equity analyst. Nor is he a soothsayer who can read the stars. Regular readers of The Smart Investor would know that he was one of the very, very few to predict one of the most seminal moments in recent history of Indian stock markets. He predicted the May 17 fall and then followed it up with a prediction of Sensex crossing 8000, for good measure. A chemical engineer from IIT Bombay... has made several friends in the community of chartists. link
  • M S Nadgir (MTech '74 ME) has been appointed the Director of Design and Development at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) here. Prior to the appointment, Nadgir was heading the Aircraft Research and Development Centre (ARDC), Bangalore. A product of IIT Mumbai, Nadgir had played a key role in a series of MiG upgradation programmes and life-extensions of SU-30K, AN-32, IL-76, IL-38 and TU-142, according to a HAL release here. link
  • Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest software services company, said it will unveil products aimed at the consumer and medical electronics and security markets over the next several months ... according to Sunil D. Sherlekar (BTech '78 EE / MTech '82 / PhD '88), head of Tata's embedded systems division. Tata is ... developing low-cost electrocardiogram (ECG) machines which will use a very low-power (66 microamperes at full power) analog front-end chip designed by the Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay). Wearable and non-wearable versions of the machines are scheduled to be released later this year. The machine includes a built-in thermal printer while the wearable version uses flash memory to record ECG readings and will connect to a PC via a RS 232 interface. link
  • Abdul Karim Telgi, the kingpin of the estimated Rs 32,000 crore fake stamp case, among many other things exposed the arrival of the new criminal on the stage of brittle white-collared morality. The infamous dud stamp case also redefined ethics in the post modern society where "rapid launch into the orbit of success"seems to be the greatest quest, whatever the means ... with him the league of casualty included senior police officers like the former Mumbai police commissioner R S Sharma and Joint Commissioner of Police (Intelligence) Shridhar Vagal (MSc '75 Physics). Vagal, a nuclear physicist and a graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad allegedly accepted Rs 72 lakh from Telgi over a period of time and had amassed wealth and property amounting to Rs 50 crores. link
  • The University of Melbourne, which figures on the top ten list from Down Under, is looking for a tie-up with IIT Mumbai’s management faculty. It is also eyeing placement opportunities for its students with leading Indian corporates. "We are planning a tie-up with IIT Mumbai’s management faculty for research collaborations and faculty exchanges as we would like to see a greater focus on emerging markets other than China. India is a big focus area for us along with Europe and Latin America," said Bill Charles, head of department of economics and commerce, University of Melbourne. link
  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, is planning to set up an automobile research centre in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), an initiative that could accelerate the institute’s lucrative sponsored industrial research programme into top gear. The centre is likely to be funded through a consortium of partners, consisting of some of the leading domestic auto majors. Among the players likely to participate in it are Mahindra and Mahindra, Bajaj Auto, Bharat Forge and Tata Motors. The proposed centre would be fully equipped to take up jobs in automobile engineering and design. link
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay conferred honorary Doctor of Science degree on nuclear scientist and Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar at its 43rd convocation on September 16. As many as 1,385 students passed out, including 123 with doctoral and 845 with masters' degrees. Referring to the controversy regarding the entrance examination, Mr. Singh said: "It was put in place by the Council and the government exercised no pressure." The changes were taking place according to the Council's will, he said. Rahul Bajaj, chairman of the Board of Governors of the IIT, said only three Indian universities had found a place on the list of top 500 universities of the world. link
  • Normally you’d expect a doctorate in marketing for motion pictures from Michigan University to take to academics. For Jagmohan Mundhra, making films is not just another job, it is a passion which is also fetching him critical accolades now. Mundhra, an engineer by training (he went to Michigan to study MBA after completing graduation from IIT Bombay), taught advertising at California State University simply because "it was closest to Hollywood."  link
  • Bowing to pressure from students, the IITs’ Joint Admission Board has decided to defer the proposed reforms to the Joint Entrance Exam by one year. As a result, aspirants who have taken IIT JEE on two or more previous occasions, or have scored less than 60 per cent marks in the Class XII boards, will be eligible to sit for JEE in 2006. "There is no real cause for students and parents to get agitated. The changes are likely to benefit students, reduce stress and restore the respect due to the boards," Ananth said. Taking a dig at coaching centres, IIT Kharagpur director S K Dube said: "Their intense focus on examination writing skills tends to create one-dimensional human beings. Since coaching is a predominantly urban phenomenon, the reforms are likely to favour the rural and less privileged sections of society. It is also likely to result in more gender equity in admissions to IITs." link
  • A simple philosophy guides the Indian-American community in Houston, Texas, USA: every little helps. Sundaram Srinivasan, president of the Indian Institute of Technology Alumni of Greater Houston is helping the Houston mayor's office find homes for the evacuees. He has prepared a list of shelters available for free. The first home on the list sent to the mayor's office is his. September 6, he was told four students would come to stay with him. Accommodating a stranger in your home has to be a well-thought out decision since it could be three or four months before the displaced go back, Srinivasan said earlier. link
  • CIO, strategic planner, company secretary, professor, philosopher, adventurer, mathematician. Meet Vikas Gadre (BTech '73 ChE), the CIO of Rallis India who is all these and more. Any unsuspecting person entering Vikas Gadre’s office is guaranteed to be intimidated by a large notice board covered with cryptic markings. He calls it a ‘people mapper’ and uses it to analyse and predict people’s behaviour and performance. There is yet another notice board that is filled with reminders from Gadre to himself about what he has to do more often and what he shouldn’t. These are clues which reveal his mind and in-depth knowledge, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. There is much more hidden in the sparkling eyes of Gadre. link
  • Union Human Resources Development Minister Arjun Singh ... said the Centre had no role to play in the proposed raising of eligibility cut-offs for IIT-JEE. “At no point of time did the government exercise pressure on the council of IITs which took the decision,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 43rd convocation of IIT Mumbai here. “If any changes have to be carried out in future, it will be done by the council of IITs and not by the government as the Centre has no role in this issue,” Mr Singh added. He, however, ruled out any changes in the revised norms and accused the “coaching institution lobby” of spearheading the protests. link
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is planning to promote mass electronic transactions through the use of biometric tools such as voice-based communication channels, voice recognition delivery channels such as automated teller machines (ATMs), fingerprint technology and iris recognition technology. RBI, with assistance from the the Institute of Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) and IIT Mumbai is developing a multi-application smart card. "The commercial pilot has already begun. link
  • Years of preparation to join the elite IIT could change from the next academic year ... the government announced major changes in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for the Indian Institutes of Technology and other participating institutes. Only those students who secure a first class (60%) or equivalent in the plus-two examination will be eligible for admission to the IITs. However, there will be a relaxation of 5% for SC/ST students. Unlike the present two-tier examination (screening and mains), JEE will be a single objective-type examination which could include short write-ups on various topics followed by objective questions based on the write-up. This would test the comprehension as well as the analytical ability of the students. The number of attempts has also been brought down to two. "The idea is to reduce exam stress, give credit to plus-two performance, restore the sanctity of the school system and reduce influence of coaching classes," a official said. link
  • Arjun (Singh) snubs protests by IIT aspirants ... dsmissing the student protests against the new norms for IIT admission as "handiwork of the coaching centre lobby", Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh on Tuesday said there was no question of reconsidering the decision. "This is a very well-thought out plan and we have taken the opinion of scholars, experts and academics including directors of the IITs and now there is no question of going back," he said on the sidelines of a book release function here. Accusing the coaching centre lobby of spearheading the protests against the new format of the Joint Entrance Exam, Mr Singh said they were against the plan as their business would be affected. link
  • The small town of Kota in Rajasthan attracts over 40 thousand IIT aspirants from across India annually, and in the past five years, Kota has produced the highest number of successful IIT candidates in the country. But now, IIT aspirants from there have come in for a rude shock. With rules for the IIT exam changing, many feel they have been robbed of a chance of fulfilling their dream of entering the IITs. Kota has over 90 IIT coaching centres, which have in the past three years, produced nearly 40 per cent of successful IIT candidates in the country. But with the rules being changed drastically, students and these coaching centres will now need to evolve some new exam strategies. link
  • Four Indian Americans have been named among the world's top 35 young high-tech innovators by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) prestigious Technology Review magazine. Rajit Manohar, 33, of Cornell University was cited for "Taking the clocks out of computer chips". Rajit Manohar, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, speeds up chips and lowers power consumption by removing the clock; his chips are 10 times more energy efficient than previous clockless chips. Instead of a separate clock network carrying a global timing signal, Manohar's chips use short wires to carry signals that alert successive operations when the previous operations have finished. Manohar began his undergraduate education at IIT in Bombay. After two years there, he transferred to Caltech. In 1994, after completing his undergraduate degree he went on to earn his Ph.D in Computer Science (1998). Rajit continues a tradition of being selected to MIT Technology Review's list started by Surya Mallapragada in 2002, and maintained by Balaji Narasimhan in 2003. link
  • India's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is setting up a nanoelectronics research center in IIT Bombay under its Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Development Program. The center has been chartered to conduct research in areas such as CMOS process development and gallium nitride devices ... the Ministry ... has charted out its plan for 2005-2006, which, for the first time in several years, includes the allocation of 'seed money' to create a special purpose vehicle (a holding company) to establish a fabrication facility through government-private partnership. The microelectronics and nanotechnology program has 11 items due to be delivered by the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, both of which are slated to have their own nanoelectronics research center ... Together, the Bangalore and Bombay institutes are also to work on developing a RF oscillator. link
  • Maharashtra's decision to clean up the Mithi - one of the longest rivers in the state that has been encroached upon and blocked by debris over the years - is expected to greatly reduce the city's drainage problems. The state government ... decided to start the Mithi Revival Project from October 1, with three nodal agencies - Central Water and Power Research Station, the Indian Institute of Technology Powai, Mumbai, and the Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering (CESE), Mumbai - being part of the project. The July 26 floods had washed away more than 800 people in the state, including over 450 in Mumbai alone. This was followed by waterborne epidemics that took more than 170 lives. link
  • India could be the next stop for the compound semiconductor industry, with the development of GaN electronics on the agenda. The Indian government, whose fast-growing economy already has a strong focus on information technology, is planning to set up advanced electronics centers in Mumbai (previously Bombay) and Bangalore. Nanoelectronics centers are to be set up at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay (IITB) and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore (IISc). Both will operate under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Development Program. link
  • Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao (MTech '91 EE) of IIT Bombay's Department of Electrical Engg. is amongst the eleven scientists who have been selected for the 2005 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prizes, which are India's most prestigious awards for achievements in science. Prof. Rao's areas of research include Nanoelectronics, Circuit and System Design, Sub 100 nm CMOS devices, CMOS Reliability Characterization, and BioMEMS. link
  • American Red CrossIIT Bombay alumni wishing to help the relief effort for those affected by Hurricane Katrina are urged to click here to donate online, just as many of you did for the victims of the Tsunami disaster in 2004. link
  • Ashish Kumar Chauhan (BTech '89 ME), CIO of Reliance Infocomm Limited, was named as a CIO 100 Honoree for 2005. The citation reads ... "Boldness is the willingness to assume significant risk for the sake of great reward. Congratulations to Reliance Infocomm Limited, honored with the 2005 CIO 100 Award for having the drive to reach for the prize, the guts to embrace the dangers, and the discipline to create a mitigation plan and stick to it." link
  • IIT Bombay, which recently developed two plant-based surfactants molecules that can reduce the surface tension of water when used in very low concentrations, is in the process of identifying potential pharmaceutical companies to conduct further studies and commercialization. The molecules, developed in the nano-particular form of drug delivery, were built under a broad-spectrum technology. link

 August 2005

  • Sucheta Dalal in her column in the Indian Express has spotlighted the work of Dr. Uday Bhawalkar and Dr HS Shankar of IIT Mumbai, who have patented a new and innovative product for disease prevention called BioSanitizer, that is being actively supported by The Indian Express. The technique employs the use of enzymes in the biosanitizer developed with the help of deep burrowing earthworms. The biosanitizer mixed with chemicals and water is sprayed on garbage and water bodies to prevent the breeding of disease-causing germs. link
  • AR Rahman ... is composing the music for Jag Mundhra’s (BTech '68 EE) forthcoming film "Provoked" ... a film inspired by the book Circle of Light - the true story of a UK-based Punjabi woman called Kiranjit Ahluwalia who burned her husband after suffering beatings by him for a long time. Kiranjit is being played by Aishwarya Rai - the chief attraction of Mundhra’s movie, which is in post-production stage and is set for release in September in the UK and in India.  Mundhra, a Rajasthani, was born in Calcutta and studied there, becoming a rank-holder in the Board exams, after which he went to IIT Bombay, before moving to the US to teach advertising and marketing. "The first film I made was Suraag (1982)," he says, shifting on his chair and again looking at the invisible spot outside the window. My jaws drop. Suraag was a crime thriller starring Sanjeev Kumar, which had a foot-tapping song by Kishore Kumar and which I had seen as a child on Doordarshan. link
  • Shewrite is a film about four women who refuse to buckle down to societal pressures of propriety and write poetry that is provocative and bold ... SheWrite is a documentary film in Tamil with English subtitles, made by the award-winning duo Dr Anjali Monteiro and Dr K P Jayashankar (PhD '91 HSS). They were in Bangalore recently at the screening of the film that weaves together the narratives and work of Sukirtharani and three other Tamil women poets. "As a group of over 250 documentary makers in the country, we are fighting against thought control," adds Dr K P Jayashankar, Reader (Production), TISS ... who has an MA in German language and a PhD in Humanities and Social Sciences, from IIT Mumbai. link
  • These Ganeshas are sons of the soil ... The Save Powai Lake Team of IIT Powai is cleaning up Powai Lake and making Ganpati idols from the silt recovered. This is an eco-friendly movement in more ways than one: the group cleans up Powai Lake and makes Ganpati idols from the silt that is removed from the lake. The Save Powai Lake Team of IIT Powai is now planning to take the idea of making Ganpati idols from the silt of the lake outside the campus to schools in the vicinity. The IIT Bombay class of 1980 has sponsored this year’s event. "The alumni donate money for various infrastructural improvements on campus but this time we asked them to help clean the lake. We want to make this a bigger event so that more people are able to make the idols. This is the best way to save the city’s water bodies," says Saraswathi Krithivasan, KRESIT faculty and volunteer for the project. link
  • The Silver Jubilee Class of 1980 is sponsoring an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi celebration under the auspices of the Save Powai Lake Team. The Mahotsav is from August 28th to September 4th, 2005 and consists of several open workshops for making eco friendly Ganesh idols out of the Powai Lake soil at IDC IIT campus and various Powai schools. The Save Powai Lake Team & Shakti Ladies Club IIT Bombay cordially invite you to the inauguration of the Navsrujan Ganesh Mahotsav 2005 on Sunday, August 28,2005 At 11 am at the IDC Ceramic Lab. link
  • The University of Melbourne, which figures on the top ten list from Down Under, is looking for a tie-up with IIT Mumbai’s management faculty. It is also eyeing placement opportunities for its students with leading Indian corporates. "We are planning a tie-up with IIT Mumbai’s management faculty for research collaborations and faculty exchanges as we would like to see a greater focus on emerging markets other than China. India is a big focus area for us along with Europe and Latin America," said Bill Charles, head of department of economics and commerce, University of Melbourne. link
  • The McKinsey Quarterly, 2005 Special Edition: Fulfilling India's promise - "India's economic agenda: An interview with Manmohan Singh" by Rajat Gupta ... With regard to education, I think at the top we have an excellent superstructure. The IIMs and IITs, the regional engineering colleges, they have served us well ... And as far as the system of higher education and research is concerned, I just appointed, under Sam Pitroda, a knowledge commission to look at what needs to be done, where we are, and where we ought to be. In the next one or two years, the knowledge sector will receive our attention to the extent that it deserves. I do recognize that India has to be the center, the hub of activity as far as the knowledge economy is concerned. We don't want to miss the chance." link
  • For decades the famed campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology were just about all the world knew of the country's technological genius. But lesser-known colleges such as Manipal Institute of Technology will be playing a key role as India continues on its fast-growth path ... India must keep striving to raise its engineering education standards. One way to do that would be to encourage more cooperation between the IITs and other institutions. A first experiment in such collaboration - between three local colleges and IIT Bombay - will begin soon in Maharashtra. The colleges will follow the IIT syllabus and work together on research projects. "India needs 10 times more graduates of IIT quality. Only then will we be globally competitive," says P. Rama Rao, a former vice-chancellor of Hyderabad University. Rao is coordinating the project and pushing bureaucrats to replicate the model with IITs and colleges in Madras, Kharagpur, New Delhi, and Kanpur. If such efforts succeed, India's brainpower is likely to keep surprising the world. link
  • The Seeds of the Next Silicon Valley ... How Indian tech companies are helping to incubate startups ... At the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Kharagpur, near Calcutta, a small team of engineers is beavering away on what they hope will prove a killer competitor to the BlackBerry. At IIT Bombay, an earth sciences professor is about to launch a company that will tap the vapor of geothermal springs to drive turbines, generators, and power stations -- the first company to do so in India. Across the country, at IIT Madras, students and professors have spun off a startup that's working on a no-frills network computer aimed at the Asian corporate and government markets that will sell for just $100. "We dream of building billion-dollar-product companies here," says Ashok Jhunjhunwala, an electrical engineering professor at IIT Madras. "We believe we have laid the foundation for them." link
  • His Majesty King Gyanendra of Nepal has expanded the Council of Ministers led by himself ... the state-run Radio Nepal quoted a communiqué by Press Secretariat of His Majesty as saying that HM the King has reshuffled and designated portfolios to the members in his council of ministers. According to the state-run Radio ... King Gyanendra has chosen eight new faces as assistant ministers in his cabinet. The newly appointed assistant ministers include industrialist Dr. Roop Jyoti (BTech '70 ChE) as Assistant Minister of Finance ... Dr. Jyoti was appointed to the Upper House as a royal nominee. link
  • The march of the new IITs ... Seven select engineering colleges, that are soon to attain the coveted IIT status, are back in the news. The seriousness of their march towards achieving the status of an Indian Institute of Technology can be gauged from the fact that the Union ministry of human development resources has called them for discussions for a third time in less than four months. The first meeting, which took place on May 3 this year at Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi, was a little more than an exploratory meeting. It was called to exchange views, develop a strategy needed to bring the quality of these colleges at par with that of the IITs, develop infrastructure in a planned way, et cetera. The government asked them to develop a 10-year vision document (Vision 2015) that showed where the colleges would be by that year. link
  • If Sabeer Bhatia hit iconic status among Internet entrepreneurs in the US, Rajesh Jain (BTech '88 EE) achieved similar status back home when he sold his IndiaWorld portal to Satyam Infoway (now Sify) in 1999 for Rs 500 crore. That was one of Asia’s largest Internet deals. This astounding deal, amid the Internet boom, sparked off the dotcom frenzy in India. Everyone wanted to be Rajesh Jain. A graduate from IIT Mumbai, Jain completed his masters in electrical engineering (communications) from Columbia University. Jain spent the next two years with Satyam before hitting the entrepreneurial road again. Now, he is on a mission to take the Internet to 100 million Indians through his venture, Netcore. He has joined hands with Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor, IIT Madras - who made telecom solutions for rural India - to develop low-cost computing devices. link
  • The Maharashtra government has announced an eight-member panel to probe the causes of the collapse of civic infrastructure in the deluge in Mumbai on July 26. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told a news conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting that the team, to be headed by water management expert Madhav Chitle, will be required to submit its report in three months. Also named on the panel are town planner Shirish Patel, Mumbai IIT professor Shyam Asolekar, retired chief engineer of the Mumbai municipal corporation N S Salvi, retired PWD engineer M V Patil and principal secretaries of planning and urban development. The committee will analyse short-term and long-term factors responsible for the devastation and study the status of storm water drains and sewage system. The committee will also look into the existing plans and lacunae in implementation. link
  • Indian Express headline: "East or West, IIT is the best!" ... Mechanical Engineering students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, have won the first prize in the Asian category of a designing contest held in the US recently, and have entered its final round. The contest is organised by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). The IIT team had designed a semi-automatic bulk material transporter, named “Gajraj”. “Gajraj” -- a four wheeler contraption -- is capable of carrying any material and climb stairs, said Ravi Mittal, leader of the three-member team. link
  • Innoviti Embedded, a Bangalore based company developing consumer communication products, announced that it has now started shipping its Vaayu product with custom antennas. Vaayu, a wireless adaptor for dial-up modems allows users to make their laptop's existing dial-up modem wireless, without having to pay any extra "monthly rentals" for going wireless. The new antenna has been designed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay under an agreement entered into with IIT Bombay. It allows the consumers to "go wireless on their own" and has been designed without any software installation or configuration being required on the users laptop. link
  • Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has elected Krish A. Prabhu to its board of directors effective immediately, the company said Monday. Prabhu is chief executive and president of Tellabs. He has a Bachelor of Science in physics from Bangalore University in India, and a Master of Science in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. Freescale Semiconductor Inc. is an Austin-based designer and manufacturer of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. link
  • IIT BOMBAY CONVOCATION POSTPONED ... "Due to the unprecedented adverse weather conditions and disruption of normal life in Mumbai, the 43rd Convocation of IIT Bombay scheduled for Friday, August 5, 2005, has been postponed until further notice." - Public Relations Officer, IIT Bombay.
  • Here's a sign that Seattle's startup community is back on track. A number of well-known technology entrepreneurs are quietly operating in "stealth mode" -- keeping a low profile and purposely hiding details of their business plans. The latest ... is Bellevue-based Webaroo, which was founded by Silicon Valley veterans Rakesh Mathur, Brad Husick and Beerud Sheth ... The low-profile company is well on its way to doing something. It has already hired 30 to 40 employees, including two dozen programmers who are working on the project at a new business incubator on the campus of the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. Both Mathur and Sheth are graduates of IIT Bombay, one of the most respected technical universities in the world. The company, which has its headquarters in Bellevue and advanced research facilities in Santa Clara, Calif., has already hired sales professionals. link

July 2005

  • A drug that has been used for 40 years for the treatment of skin fungus has been found to be a possible cancer treatment, according to an international team of scientists. Leslie Wilson, professor of biochemistry and pharmacology at the University of California - Santa Barbara, said that the antifungal drug, Griseofulvin, has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in his laboratory. The results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work is the result of a collaboration between Wilson's lab, in UCSB's Department of Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and Dulal Panda, K. Rathinasamy, and Manas K. Santra from the School of Biosciences and Bioengineering of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, in India. link
  • Ravish Kumar Tiwari, Senior Undergraduate, Department of Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science, has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for higher studies at the University Of Oxford. He is one of six scholars elected from India for the year 2005 and he will be joining Linacre College at the University of Oxford to read for an MSc in Comparative Social Policy beginning October 2005. Some of the notable past Rhodes Scholars include Edwin Hubble, Larry Pressler, Bill Clinton, Strobe Talbott, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Girish Karnad among others ... Ravish will be the first Rhodes Scholar from IIT Bombay. link
  • Article in Wall Street Journal (July 25, 2005) by Amar Bhidé (BTech '77 ChE): "After extensive jaw-boning by the U.S., China has let its currency strengthen by about 2% against the dollar -- its first official appreciation in a decade. The Bank of China said that the move would help "bring exports and imports into balance" ... For U.S. policy makers, our analysis suggests considerable caution in pushing China to rapidly revalue its currency and stop its accumulation of reserves ... What good can it do to drive those funds away where they would be used to bid up the prices of someone else's exports, know-how and shares?" - Amar Bhidé (BTech '77 ChE) and Edmind Phelps - Columbia University.  link
  • India and the United States have established a high-level CEO Forum which was unveiled at a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the US President George W Bush. Among the Indian CEOs on the forum are Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, and Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE), while the American team includes Charles Prince of Citigroup and Steven Reinemund of PepsiCo. link
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has approved the constitution of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which will lay down the policies and plans for disaster management. Singh himself will chair the NDMA, while former Chief of Army staff Gen N C Vij will be the Deputy Chairman of the Authority. Other members are former Director of IIT Bombay and ex-Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board Prof S P Sukhatme ... the NDMA will approve the National Disaster Management Plan. It can lay down guidelines to be followed by Ministries and Departments of the Central Government and any state authority in drawing up the State Plan. link
  • The Minister of Human Resources Development, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Council of IITs has appointed Mr. Nandan Nilekani (BTech '78 EE), CEO and Managing Director of Infosys Technologies Ltd. as a member of the Board of Governors of IIT Bombay, for a period of three years with effect from June 29, 2005. The Board now consists of : Shri Rahul Bajaj (Chairman),  Prof. Ashok Misra (Director), Smt. Kumud Bansal, Prof. Balveera Reddy, Prof. P. Ramchandra Rao Dr. Romuald D'Souza, Dr. N. B. Pasalkar, Mr. C. L. Meena, Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Prof. Raman Srinivasa, Prof. U. A. Athvankar, and Mr. Sridhar (Registrar/ Secretary).
  • An IIT Bombay team has won the national level Robocon competition (at Pune) and will now proceed to Beijing for the international finals on 28 Aug. 2005. IIT B team defeated Nirma Institute of Technology, Gujarat in the finals. IIT B team scored an average of 40 points per game versus the 5 or 6 managed by most other teams (incl. several IITs). "We were confident that we would do well and had worked hard for it. We did not lose any of the matches in the contest," said Ashish Bhat, the leader of the winning team. The team had been preparing for the last two months, even during the one-month vacation. "We are looking forward to the international contest and hope to do well there too," Ashish said. link
  • POST OF THE DAY: Q&A with Warren E. Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway on May 6, 2005 by mhirschey (Posted on July 13, 2005): I took a bunch of students to Omaha for a Q&A with Warren recently, and I thought you might be interested in the back and forth. Warren (Buffett) once asked Bill Gates, "If you could only hire from one place, where would it be?" Gates' reply was Indian Institute of Technology. link
  • An Indo-American woman scientist has been nominated to a prestigious study group that assists the United States with the science and technology of defence and national security. Associate Professor of chemical and biological engineering at the Iowa State University and Associate Scientist at the US Department of Energy's prestigious Ames Laboratory, Surya Mallapragada (BTech '93 ChE), would join the prestigious Defence Study Science Group for about two year tenure in six months from now in 2006.  Mallapragada, who teaches chemical engineering to undergraduate and graduate students and does research in the area of polymeric materials for medical applications, earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai and received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from the Purdue University, West Lafayette. link
  • Mastek Organizes Knowledge Series Seminar on "Grid Computing" ... to be organized at IIT, Powai on 23rd July, 2005 between 10 am to 1.30 pm where Mastek will run an online quiz contest on Grid computing where by people can participate and win prizes. Experts from IBM, Oracle and Microsoft would share their views and opinions on the latest trends in the IT industry. Commenting on this initiative, Mr. Ashank Desai said, "In our continual endeavor to impart latest information ... we head steadfast to develop an ultimate platform for software professional." link
  • Red Hat-IIT Bombay open source challenge: Thirty-three students bagged the prestigious Red Hat Scholarships Awards 2004-2005, titled 'the lord of the code'— an education initiative designed to encourage open source software developers. The first prize was given to a team of students from Army Institute of Technology, Pune for their project, Virtual Private Server (VPS) 2.6.5-1.358. Jointly conducted with the Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Technology at IIT Bombay, the programme had participants from across India. Interesting projects like college information system, virtual private server, mapping a ILip movement to meaning, a front end for 'C' compiler were submitted for review. After the award ceremony, Red Hat also announced the launch of a new Red Hat scholarships program for 2005-2006. link
  • Ghost Buster: TILL three weeks ago, Sudheendra Kulkarni (BTech '84 CivE) was seldom seen and rarely heard, a shadowy presence hovering behind first Atal Behari Vajpayee and then L.K. Advani, a ghost writer who revelled in anonymity. But suddenly he is everywhere - giving interviews on television, writing articles in newspapers and profiled on the cover of magazines ... Kulkarni was brought up in the small town of Athni in Belgaum district on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border. He made it to IIT Powai to study civil engineering but was soon influenced by Marxism ... he decided to "stay back and work in the social field." To earn a living, he turned to journalism, starting with a science magazine and finally moving to R.K. Karanajia’s Blitz. By 1996, Vajpayee and Advani had found place beside Gorbachev in Kulkarni’s pantheon of living heroes and so he decided to work full time for their party. link
  • Xoriant Corporation, a service provider, plans to expand Indian operations with investments of about $10-12 million and induction of 1,000 people in three locations. The Founder and CEO of Xoriant, Girish Gaitonde, based in Silicon Valley and now on a visit to India, told Business Line that the company wanted to consolidate its operations in Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune. It is set to shortly move to a new centre in Powai, Mumbai. The company has notched up revenues of $30 million and expects to infuse funds from internal accruals mainly into the creation of infrastructure and manpower. From the present 200, Xoriant is set to induct about 1,000 people within 24 months to serve enterprises in the area of information management, set to be the next big wave after IT services and business process outsourcing. The company, whose clients include Tibco, Wal-Mart.com and semiconductor firms in Fortune 500, has invested about $3 million in India so far, he said. link
  • It takes a thief to catch a thief, or so the saying goes. So why not use a successful entrepreneur to spot another? That's the logic that the United Kingdom is using in a novel programme, aimed at getting more startups to move to Britain. Alpesh Patel knows the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur pretty well - he's founded five companies in the last eight years, including a high-performing hedge fund. That's why the UK government has chosen him as its "dealmaker", to attract Indian entrepreneurs to start up operations in the UK, as part of the country's Global Entrepreneurs Programme, GEP. Patel has met with a number of entrepreneurs, including the founders of IIT Bombay startups, and his role is to identify the ideas with big business potential and help them to raise money and set up shop in the UK. link
  • Alumni in the news:
    • iSpheres Corporation, a leading provider of real-time intelligence solutions, today announced the appointment of a new executive management team to drive the company's growth in the expanding market for real-time Complex Event Processing. The new management team includes Kal Krishnan (BTech '78 EE), Vice President of Engineering ... Mr. Krishnan earned a BS from IIT (Bombay), an MS in EE/CS from UC, Berkeley and holds several patents. link
    • BlueRun Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners, two venture capital firms supported by Nokia Corporation, demonstrated their commitment to the Indian market with the addition of two new investment professionals and a new investment. BlueRun Ventures' India office has significantly increased focus and activity with the addition of  ... Vasudev Bhandarkar (MSc '81 Physics) as a Venture Partner. Bhandarkar ... holds Master's degrees in Computer Science from Colorado State University and Physics from IIT Bombay. link
    • Intransa, the global leader in network-centric, enterprise IP-storage systems, today announced the appointment of Nitin Donde (BTech '80 EE) as vice president of engineering.  Mr. Nitin holds ... a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India. link
     
  • The White House announced the recipients of the 2004 Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the nation's highest honor for professionals at the outset of their independent research careers. Fifty-eight researchers were honored in a ceremony presided over by John H. Marburger III, Science Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Amongst the nominees of the Department of Defense was Radhakrishnan Poovendran (BTech '88 EE). Prof. Poovendran is an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Washington at Seattle. link
  • "IIT exit tax suggestion must be junked" ... The Financial Express. A World Bank report suggests that India should impose an exit tax on IIT graduates and other professionals, who leave the country after receiving subsidized education. The report has also underlined the importance of "... raising the quality of all higher education institutions, not just a few world-class ones, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology." link

June 2005
 

  • India's Tech Rise: 1946-1950: The Indian Institute of Technology founded ... it has become the intellectual core of the country's industry ... 1993: A group of IT leaders determines plan for IT industry. Professor Deepak Phatak (PhD '81 CSE) predicts India's IT output will hit $100 billion by 2010. "Everyone thought that sounded crazy, so we changed it to $50 billion by 2008," he said. link
    Day One: India's renaissance: An oral history – June 27, 2005 link
    Day Two: India's renaissance: U.S.-style labor pains – June 28, 2005 link
    Day Three: India's renaissance: The $100 computer – June 29, 2005 link
  • Anupam Kumar, 17, is the eldest son of a scooter-rickshaw driver. He lives in a three-room house made of bricks and mortar and a hot tin roof, where water rarely comes out of the tap and the electricity is off more than on, along a narrow unpaved alley here in one of India's most destitute corners. Next door to his house, pigs rifled through a pile of garbage on an empty lot. His mother, Sudha Devi, a savvy woman with a 6th-grade education, cooled him with a palm-frond fan. His father, Srikrishna Jaiswal, who made it through 10th grade, flashed a bemused smile. "He has high-level aims," he said. Anupam's sole obsession is to gain admission to the Indian Institutes of Technology, or IIT, a network of seven elite colleges established shortly after Indian independence in 1947 that produces an annual crop of tech wizards and corporate titans. It is difficult to overstate the difficulty of getting in. Of 198,059 Indians who took the rigorous admissions tests in 2005, 3,890 got in, an acceptance rate of under 2 percent. (Harvard accepts 10 percent.) Anupam does not know anyone who has attended the institutes, nor do his parents. But they all know this: If he makes it, it would change his family's fortunes forever. link
  • The Nelson Mandela Institution for Knowledge Building and the Advancement of Science and Technology in Sub-Saharan Africa's (NMI), with the support of the World Bank Institute (WBI) and the World Bank Group-IMF African Society (is launching) a global effort to foster the development of Sub-Saharan Africa, through the promotion of excellence in science and engineering and their applications. It proposes the establishment of the Sub-Saharan African Learning Network (SSALN), and the African Institute of Science and Technology (AIST), a world-class institution that draws on the very successful model of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and other leading institutions of excellence in science and engineering around the world. link
  • The President of India in his capacity as Visitor has reappointed Prof. Ashok Misra as Director of IIT Bombay for a second term till July 2009. Prof. Misra is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the National Academy of Science, India. He has 6 patents and over 100 international publications to his credit and is a member of the Board of Directors of several companies in India including Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL). link
  • The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has decided to restore the financial autonomy of IITs, IIMs and other institutions of higher learning. The government said it was undoing the "adverse effects" that these institutions were subjected to during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime by introducing a modified Block grant scheme for funding. Reddy said, "We are seeking to augment the financial and functional autonomy of these prestigious institutions." The scheme will be implemented with the stipulation that the level of corpus may be allowed up to Rs 100 crore in the case of IITs and IISc and Rs 50 crore in respect of other institutions, he said. link
  • Capitalizing on a growing local market and inexpensive labor, Intel plans to build a testing and packaging facility in India, according to one government official. The company will invest approximately $400 million in building the facility, which will likely be located near Bangalore or Chennai, India Communications Minister Dayanidhi Maran told Reuters. No major manufacturer has a fab in the country, although a Korean entrepreneur has laid plans to create a foundry in Hyderabad, according to sources. To help build India's chip-manufacturing industry, the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay has created course curriculum around semiconductor design that it currently is trying to port to other universities, according to Sunil Sherlekar (BTech '78 EE), the head of the embedded-systems group at Tata Consultancy Services. link
  • Coffee chain major Barista has roped in Partha Dattagupta (BTech '85 ME) as its CEO. Dattagupta has over 18 years of experience in the FMCG industry. Dattagupta brings with him in-depth understanding and expertise regarding the food business in the FMCG sector. He has worked with Agro Tech Foods Ltd. (majority shareholding with ConAgra Foods, USA and Tiger Brands, SA) for over six years before joining Barista. His last assignment was as business head of their Branded Foods division, which has the ACTII - Popcorn, Vending and Salted Snacks and Healthy World brands in its portfolio. In addition, he headed marketing services for all Agro Tech's brands including Sundrop, Rath and Crystal. Dattagupta started his professional career with Cadbury India Limited in 1987 after completing his graduation in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Mumbai and his post graduation in management from IIM Kolkata. He was with Cadbury for 12 years. link
  • Is Sudheendra Kulkarni (BTech '84 CivE), political aide and speechwriter to L K Advani, the fall guy in the current controversy kicked off by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader's remarks in Pakistan? Some senior party functionaries are out to blame the present flap on the man, a former card-holding Communist, who had come to wield enormous clout in the last few years in the BJP, thanks to his proximity to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now Advani - who resigned as party president Tuesday. Kulkarni, a former journalist who holds an engineering degree from Mumbai's Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), was surprisingly the only BJP functionary accompanying Advani on his week-long visit to Pakistan, other than his family and long-time private secretary Deepak Chopra. During the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government's rule, Kulkarni was an officer on special duty (OSD) in the Prime Minister's Office and a key planner in the India Shining campaign. Besides, he coordinated the task force on information technology and was part of the drafting committee of the BJP's manifesto and the national agenda on governance. link
  • Professor M G K Menon, senior advisor, Department of Space at the Indian Space Research Organization, and chairman, Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, last month led a delegation of directors of IIT and other luminaries from India to the Global IIT Alumni Conference in Washington. He received an embossed copy of the US Congressional Resolution 227 lauding IITs and their alumni in the US House of Representatives. Professor Menon is also president, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, and chairman, Raman Research Institute Trust, Bangalore. In an exclusive interview with rediff.com, Menon, who had served as chairman, Board of Governors of the IIT, Mumbai from 1997 to 2003, and was the Dr Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professor at ISRO from 1999 to 2004, said he felt great to see the alumni who have emerged from the institutions being recognised as adding so much to the United States. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Padma Shri in 1961, Padma Bhushan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 1985, Professor Menon received his PhD from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom. link
  • Nano Chemical Systems Holdings, Inc. announces the intended appointment of Dr. Perumal Sekar, an accomplished Nano Chemical scientist, as Chief Technical Officer. Dr. Sekar comes to the Company from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois after completing five years as an Associate Researcher and a second post-doctoral fellowship. Among the highlights of his activities was the development of new methods for crystal growing for synthesis of nanoscale inorganic materials used in superconductor and semiconductor applications. Dr. Sekar also determined the molecular and crystalline structures of synthesized inorganic nano-compounds using single-crystal X-ray diffraction methods. Dr. Sekar completed his first post-doctoral fellowships at University of Karlsruhe, Germany. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, India. link
  • The Indian manufacturing sector today hardly recruits management graduates from premier institutes. The flip side: most management graduates do not want to work for manufacturing companies either. Reason: Management graduates say that the pay is comparatively low in manufacturing firms and career growth is slower than in other sectors. The irony: Most management graduates from premier Indian management institutes are engineers. Agrees Prof Atanu Ghosh, who heads the management school at IIT Bombay: "Manufacturing has become blue collar today. And management students from premier institutes today do not stick on to a job for too long. The attrition rate is very high and hence the manufacturing industry is not interested. This apart, pay packets in manufacturing are very conservative compared to other sectors and career growth in manufacturing can be excruciatingly slow." link
  • Dial an 800 number in America, and the odds are that it will be an Infosys Technologies staffer in India answering the call. If it isn't, they might be busy writing your company's computer programs or helping run its back office. The Bangalore-based information technology services powerhouse has been growing fast as companies send work offshore. Infosys earned $419 million on revenue of $1.6 billion for the fiscal year ending in March, up from $270 million in net income on revenue of $1 billion for the previous year. The company expects revenue to pass the $2 billion mark in the next fiscal year. Nandan M. Nilekani (BTech '78 EE) is a co-founder and the chief executive of Infosys, a role he assumed in 2002. Founded in 1981, the company now employs 36,750 employees around the world. Nilekani graduated from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, in 1978. Along with co-founder and Chairman N. R. Narayana Murthy, he is aiming this year to continue Infosys' drive to offer clients end-to-end services, from consulting to code-writing to business-process outsourcing. Forbes.com caught up with Nilekani and asked him to reflect on what he's learned running one of the world's fastest-growing companies. linkWhat do you consider your greatest personal accomplishment?
    Getting from a small town and passing the entrance exam and getting into the Indian Institute of Technology. In my mind it was a great accomplishment, and it opened the world for me.
  • Eleven years after a massive eruption, India’s lone active volcano has started spewing flames and lava in the tsunami-scarred Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. Scientists are trying to find out whether the eruption has anything to do with the December 26 tsunami. According to Dornadula Chandrashekaram, a geologist at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai and a member of the Indo-Italian expedition to the island two years ago, the fresh eruption is not surprising. Barren Island is in the north end of a chain of volcanic islands that extends from the Java-Sumatra region to the north Andaman sea. The region has experienced a string of earthquakes over the past few months. "A steady swarm of earthquakes in a volcanic terrain is a strong indicator of magma (the hot fluid under the Earth’s crust) movement — a precursor to volcanic eruption," Chandrashekaram told The Telegraph. Such earthquakes suggest that the magma, usually confined to depths below 100 to 200 km, is moving upwards, he said. link
  • The IITs clearly have a long way to go. In our country, great universities of the past have faded into mediocrity over time, and an university or institute has to constantly reinvent itself to avoid this fate ... First, they can continue essentially as they are ... with a top-class small undergraduate programme and an average research programme ... The second possibility is to become a top-class research university, but of a small size, like CalTech ... a CalTech-like vision needs to be supported by a world-class faculty, and given that the IITs’ existing faculty will be there for another 20 to 30 years, reaching this state is going to be a huge challenge. The third possibility is to become a large technical university along the lines of Georgia Tech and MIT in the US or NTU in Singapore ... And the fourth possibility is for an IIT to become a general purpose university along the lines of big public research universities like Berkeley, Illinois, Purdue, Penn State, Ohio State, etc. That is, an IIT becomes a large research university, but more general in scope and not limited to science and technology ... IITs are at a threshold today, they have had an excellent first innings, but there is no clarity on the purpose of the second. A clear future vision needs to be defined for these institutes of national importance, such that they, along with the government, can work in a defined direction for their next innings. link
  • Indian businesses are changing to deliver better value to customers and maintain their position in a fiercely competitive scenario using information technology, according to a survey conducted by University of California in association with IIT Bombay. The demand for executive decision making tools is increasing across all sectors while security is becoming a major concern with all organizations and importance of disaster recovery and business continuity is being realized, Prof Atanu Ghosh from IIT Bombay School of Management said. The survey's purpose was to develop a base-line understanding of impact of IT on business practices worldwide, Prof Uday Karmarkar  (BTech '68 ChE), LA Times Professor of Technology and Strategy, and Research Director, Centre for Management in Information Economy, Anderson School of Management, UCLA said in Mumbai. link

May 2005

  • Having short-listed the institutions that can be upgraded to IITs, the Union ministry of human resources development (MHRD) invited all seven colleges for a discussion at Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi, on May 3, 2005. Recently, the government has formed a five-member expert committee, headed by HRD Minister Arjun Singh, to further select from among the seven colleges that will be given IIT status and to oversee the progress achieved by these colleges. The meeting was chaired by the following members of the expert committee: Sudeep Banerjee, IAS, additional secretary, HRD ministry; Ravi Mathur, IAS, joint secretary, HRD ministry; Anuradha Gupta, IAS, member secretary, All India Council for Technical Education; and Dr R A Yadav, Vice Chairman, AICTE. link The Contact Us page of India's Department of Education is at http://www.education.nic.in/htmlweb/contactus.htm.
  • Nandan M. Nilekani (BTech '78 EE), President and CEO of Infosys Technologies Limited rang the NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell on Thursday, May 26, 2005, at NASDAQ's MarketSite in New York City. This is the largest international equity offering by an Indian company, with expected proceeds of $1 Billion. Infosys’ second sponsored American Depository Receipts (ADR) issue is being lapped up in Asia and Europe. According to merchant banking sources, the issue got subscribed two times over in Asia and over one time in Europe. The road shows for the US markets are currently on, sources added. Infosys proposed to convert two-three million domestic shares into ADRs. A key aspect of the second sponsored ADR issue is the public offer without listing (POWL) in Japan. link
  • IIT Bombay ranked #2 in IDC-Dataquest-NASSCOM survey ... The Indian Institute Of Technology, Kanpur has been ranked the number one engineering college in the country on the basis of placement record, intellectual capital, infrastructure and industry interface, according to an IDC-Dataquest-Nasscom survey. IIT-Kanpur is followed by its counterparts in Mumbai, Chennai and Kharagpur among the top 10, in the list of the 116 engineering colleges across the country that took part in the survey, an IDC release said. Though the top ranks are devoid of any major surprises, there are a few new institutes among the top 10. The Banaras Hindu University was ranked five, followed by IIT Guwahati at the sixth place. The National Institute of Technolgy, Warangal, and NIT, Trichy were at numbers seven and eight. link
  • India has successfully made optimum use of scarce financial resources in science and technology, sending satellites into space and enabling patients of diseases like AIDS to buy cheap drugs, former disinvestment minister Arun Shourie has said, while pointing out that the country’s infrastructure and bureaucracy needed to improve. His views, expressed at the opening day of a three-day conference of IIT graduates on Friday, were endorsed by another speaker at the global meet, General Electric founder Jack Welch. Both praised the contribution of IIT graduates to India and the US. link  
  • TrueSpan Inc, a California startup is betting big on digital video broadcast (DVB). The US based “fabless” chip design startup is going after a market which is enticing everyone from large semiconductor (chip) makers to major Hollywood studios - digital video distribution to mobile handsets. The company has also found a second home, in Bangalore, to drive the development of two chips which it says will be better than the competition’s products. And competition in this case are firms such as Texas Instruments, say top executives of TrueSpan. The startup’s founder and chief technology officer, Sanjai Kohli (BTech '79 Aero), has set his sights on the European market for DVB that will go to commercial pilot trials next year. Kohli, an IIT Mumbai and Washington University educated engineer, built and sold two successful technology firms. link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Vishv Jeet (Dual Degree '01 ME), a graduate student in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering (ORIE), recently won a 2005 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Award from the Supply Chain and Logistics Engineering Center (SCALE) at the University of Florida. link
    • New York Times Business Section on May 8 quoted Arjun Divecha (BTech '79 Aero), manager of the GMO Emerging Markets fund from Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo, noting that he remains "decidedly cautious about Russia". link
    • The CAT Group, which conducts the common admission test (CAT) to Indian Institutes of Management, has decided to change the eligibility criteria for taking the entrance exam. A clause, which made it mandatory that students taking the test should be from institutes affiliated to the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), will be dropped. Prakash Apte (BTech '68 ME), Director of IIM Bangalore, said that the directors have "always been kept in picture on important decisions, even if they were not part of the CAT group". link
  • Concerned over the immense stress that IIT-JEE puts on thousands of students, the Union HRD ministry has set up a high-level panel to modify the test pattern. According to sources, the first change may be to limit questions to the +2 syllabus. "The HRD ministry feels many of the IIT-JEE questions are based on topics that are not taught at the +2 stage, and are, in fact, of a far advanced standard. This forces candidates to start preparing at least three years in advance - from Class IX itself. They overload themselves and this leads to depression, which sometimes leads to suicides," IIT Kharagpur director SK Dubey told TOI. Dubey and IIT-JEE chairman VK Tewari are on the committee, which is expected to submit its recommendations by July. The changes could be introduced from IIT-JEE, 2006. link
  • Rajendra Shende (BTech '72 ChE), an alumnus the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, has become the first Indian to bag an award from the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for efforts to protect the ozone layer. "Ours is the first globally established capacity building and technology cooperation programme under the UN system to implement the globally agreed environmental treaty," said Shende, who heads the OzonAction branch of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Ahead of a global meet of IIT alumni in Washington later this month, Shende said : "The award reminds us of what can be achieved when the commitment of the poorest nations to protect the earth for future generations is combined with the resolve of the richest countries to do their part for peace, prosperity and environmental health. What you get are amazing global success stories that go beyond conventional thoughts and immensely benefit humanity." link
  • RIL inducts IIT Powai director on board ... (Dr. Ashok) Misra is a director of IIT Mumbai and is known as a technocrat and visionary. He has an admirer in Mukesh Ambani, chairman of RIL. The seeds of their friendship were sown when both were appointed as members of the taskforce on petrochemicals headed by plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. Gurcharan Dass, ex-chairman of P&G and former HLL chairman S. M. Dutta were members of that taskforce. Professor Ashok Misra was then affiliated to IIT Delhi. At a recent convocation at IIT Mumbai, Mukesh was all praise for his friend. "Dr Misra’s leadership has added to the lustre of a great institution. He has raised the quality of intellectual input," he said. Misra got his masters degree and doctorate from Tufts University and UMASS Amherst.  link
  • Two Indian Americans, Indra Nooyi, President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo Inc, and Raj Gupta (IIT Bombay alumnus - BTech '67 ME) , Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Rohm and Haas, have been named among the 10 Most Influential Asian Americans in Business for the year 2005. The awards were announced on April 29 by the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Nooyi and Gupta will be presented with the award on May 5 in Washington D C during a three-day conference of the USPAACC's 20th anniversary celebrations. link
  • Partner in Sethi Capital, Vinod Sethi (IIT Bombay alumnus - BTech '84 ChE) who was at one point managing assets worth $2.5 billion for Morgan Stanley in India told CNBC-TV18 that most experienced investors know that they don't get more than a dozen good ideas in a year, with regard to concentration investing in equities. If investors do get more than 12 ideas a year, then they are lucky. "I think my interest began while I was in IIT Bombay ... I think in the second year of my engineering I realized, what I really like is finance and markets and since then I started reading the Economic Times."  link

April 2005

  • The US House of Representatives passed HR 227 on April 26, recognizing that the Indian-American community and the graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) in the United States have made valuable and significant contributions to society in every profession and discipline. The House of Representatives also honored the economic innovation attributable to graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology. link
  • Banking and finance, and information technology emerged as the two most sought after sectors by the students passing out of India's leading B-schools this year, according to a recent Associated Chambers of Commerce (Assocham) Eco Pulse Survey. The Assocham study tracks the placement process of ten institutes across the country including Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and IIT Bombay's Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (SJSoM), Mumbai. link
  • Fabless semiconductor company Ageia Technologies Inc. (Mountain View, Calif.) has launched its PhysX chip, which it describes as a Physics Processing Unit (PPU), a device that is intended to accelerate attributes of games software coding to support more life-like action and graphics. A Q&A interview with Ageia chief executive officer and co-founder Manju Hegde (BTech '79 EE) on an Xbox enthusiasts' website has led to speculation that Ageia may have a design win with Microsoft Corp. in a console called the Xbox360. "With hardware-accelerated physics and an SDK that supports parallel processing, the sky is the limit for game developers, which is why we believe the game industry will embrace this new category," said Hegde, in a statement. "Hardware-accelerated physics is a major innovation that is likely to breathe new life into the PC as a gaming platform," said Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie & Associates, a graphics research firm, in the same statement. link
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that Prof. S. Sankar Sastry (BTech '77 EE) of the University of California at Berkeley will lead a multi-institutional effort to develop new concepts to protect the nation's computer infrastructure from cyber attacks. The initiative stems from fear of "an electronic Pearl Harbor" that could bring down the entire U.S. information technology infrastructure. Collaborators from eight universities around the country will form the new Team for Research in Ubiquitous Secure Technology (TRUST), which is expected to receive nearly $19 million over five years, with the possibility of a 5-year, $20 million extension at the end of the initial term. As Sastry testified recently before the Committee on Homeland Security, US House of Representatives: "In today’s environment there is heightened awareness of the threat of well-funded professional cyber hackers and the potential for nation-state sponsored cyber warfare." It was at that hearing in the US House of Representatives that Sastry midwifed the idea of TRUST. link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Montreux Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on healthcare and life sciences investing, today announced that Manish Chapekar (BTech '93 ChE) has been named General Partner and Managing Member of the firm. Mr. Chapekar received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay ... and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Business School. link
    • Omnilux, Inc., a leading provider of wireless broadband access solutions, today announced the appointment of Suresh Nihalani as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Nihalani, who was most recently founder and CEO of Nevis Networks, is an experienced entrepreneur with over 25 years experience in the networking and telecommunications equipment industries and brings a long track record of managing development teams through the successful creation and launch of advanced technology products. Mr. Nihalani has a Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay), as well as a Master's in Electrical Engineering and a Master's in Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology. link
  • India and China. Two ancient civilisations, two emerging superpowers with lots of history behind - and between - them. But when Chinese premier Wen Jiabao kicked off his trip to India by flying into Bangalore rather than Delhi ... it was clear that history was the last thing on his mind. Jairam Ramesh (BTech '75 ME), author of Making Sense of Chindia, points out: "In 1950, the debate was over China or India. In 2005, the debate is on China and India. That's how far the two nations have travelled." link
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Task Force ... "ON FDI TASKFORCE: The core team - Victor Menezes (BTech '70 EE) , Rajat Gupta, Vinod Khosla, Parag Saxena (BTech '77 ChE), and myself - worked hard to finalise our report to the PM on how India can hike annual FDI inflows to $10 billion. We also had 40 senior managers on board who gave us regular inputs. India can easily meet the target. We submitted the report to the PM early this year. ON FDI POTENTIAL: There’s so much low-hanging fruit, it’s fantastic. Opportunities abound. Many sectors are crying for investment. But India is a not a friendly country to bring in FDI. We don’t have a systematic approach towards regions. We need to build infrastructure, hand the welcoming mat" - Indra Nooyi, President and CFO of PepsiCo speaking to the Indian Express. link
  • APRIL NEWSLETTER ... IIT Bombay celebrated its 46th Foundation Day and held the Distinguished Alumnus Awards Presentation Ceremony on March 10, 2005, at P. C. Saxena Auditorium. Mr. S. Ramadorai, CEO, Tata Consultancy Services, was the Chief Guest for the occasion and delivered the Foundation Day speech ... Four IIT Bombay alumni were presented with the Distinguished Alumnus awards this year in recognition of their outstanding contributions in their chosen field including Sharad Kumar Tak, Suresh Satramsingh Lulla, Dr. Manthiram Natarajan, and Pramod Madhukar Chaudhari ... Eureka!, the Annual Business Plan Competition, was organised by the Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Bombay, on March 27, 2005 ... Eureka! already has to its credit twelve successful startups including Whizlabs, eElfinitus, MyZus.com, RightHalf, Tibraw, Herald Logic, etc.  link
  • A research scholar from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, has become the first Indian and the youngest participant in the World Congress on Family Law and Rights of Children. Twenty-six-year-old Deelip D Mhaske from the Department of Human and Social Sciences presented a paper on human rights of the HIV-positive children in India. The fourth World Congress, held in Cape Town during March 20-23, 2005, deliberated upon the Convention on Child Rights, that has already been signed by some countries. link
  • It’s not lure of the lucre any more. Meet the freshly minted engineering graduates from IITs who are giving the Infosyses and Wipros a skip to build companies of their own. If the mood in the entrepreneur incubation camps set up at various IITs across the country is any indication, the start-up buzz has now shifted to the new 20-something fresh grads. It’s different from their NRI seniors who turned entrepreneurs only after working with the IBMs and the Microsofts. The rush is so much that IIT Powai (Mumbai) and IIT Delhi are creating additional modular space in the campus to accommodate their student-entrepreneurs. For instance, this year IIT Powai will incubate at least 18 proposals from students (each venture has 4 to 6 students). "The number of new projects that are being added every year is encouraging. The proposals from students are vetted by an external panel of experts. The process is rigorous," says professor NL Sarda, in-charge of innovation and entrepreneurship, IIT Powai. He says that an increasingly large number of students are shying away from large firms. "They feel they'd be lost in a large company and prefer to set up their own ventures or join mid-sized companies for hands-on experience," he adds. link
  • It's a Flat World After All - Tom Friedman in the New York Times. "In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west ... and came home and reported to his king and queen: 'The world is round.' I set off for India 512 years later ... At one point Nilekani (BTech '78 EE) uttered a phrase that rang in my ear. He said to me, 'Tom, the playing field is being leveled.' As I left the Infosys campus that evening and bounced along the potholed road back to Bangalore, I kept chewing on that phrase: 'The playing field is being leveled ... My God, he's telling me the world is flat!' link
  • As part of the dual strategy of having robust R&D for both Drug Discovery and Generics/NDDS/Drug Development, Ranbaxy, announced, that it has separated these two areas of R&D so that they can achieve heightened focus and rigor for success. Dr. Kasim Mookhtiar (MSc Chemistry '80) who is in Drug Discovery will also report to Dr. Tempest. link Kasim A. Mookhtiar was living the dream of many young Indian scientists. He emigrated to America in the 1980s to attend graduate school, got hired to research drugs at a prestigious pharmaceutical company, and bought a comfortable house in Bucks County. But after 11 years on the fast-track at Bristol-Myers Squibb's lab in Princeton, N.J., Mookhtiar last year returned to India to work for a company most Americans have never heard of, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. link
  • From IIT Mumbai to CEO of Infosys ... A man who self confessedly came from a 'zero wealth' background, today sees his millions as an enabler, a tool that will help him be an 'activist philanthropist'. Infosys CEO &MD Nandan Nilekani, who along with his family is worth a couple of thousand crores, does not believe in cheque-book activism. He believes one should give both time and money when you want to make that little bit of difference to the environment in which you operate in. Nandan’s story along with that of the other Infosys promoters’ is truly one of middle class people with access to good education, who chased a dream (and this in the pre liberalisation days) and made it come true in a spectacular fashion. A graduate of IIT Mumbai, Nandan like much of his batch mates had the easy option of landing a scholarship from an Ivy league university and winging his way to the US and then become perhaps a journeyman in a big US company like IBM or Intel. But nothing that he could have perhaps achieved there would ever surpass what he has been able to build in India with his mentor, Infosys chairman, Narayana Murthy and the other four Infosys founders. link
  • IIT Bombay is headed for an expansion of its incubator programme. This basically provides funding for technology start-ups till the time they can be converted into a viable business model. For this purpose, the institution has received a grant of Rs 2 crore from the Department of Science and Technology. In order to provide credibility to the IT incubator programme, IIT Bombay has decided to form a trust called SINE (Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Through this trust, IIT Bombay is entitled to a 3% stake in the equity of companies which have moved away from the incubator to become full-fledged businesses. "IIT Bombay has already cashed on three percent of the equity capital of a company called eElfinitus through SINE and this will be an important source of funds for more start-ups to flourish through the incubator," said Mr Lagu. IIT Bombay has 12 successful start-ups to its credit, including Whizlabs, MyZus.com, RightHalf, Tibraw, Herald Logic etc. Most of these start-ups have had the advantage of venture capitalists who carry out an in-depth study of the viability of the projects hosted in the incubator. link
  • Poor women cooking family meals in India are helping to melt the Arctic icecap, startling new studies show. Soot from their fires gets wafted into the atmosphere to fall out on the ice thousands of miles away, hastening its disappearance. South Asia puts out more soot from its industrial chimneys than anywhere else on Earth, but even this is dwarfed by the smoke from millions of cooking fires. Research at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay has found that more than 40 per cent of the soot in the air comes from cooking, with another 13 per cent from forest fires. It concluded that the warming effect of the soot was 10 times as great as greenhouse gases over the Indian Ocean. link
  • Mar. 26 heralds the opening of the spring season in India, a day celebrated with riotous color and revelry. But in one corner of Bangalore, India's info tech hub, the sunny Saturday is heavy with tension. At an Internet cafe, a group of engineers and math majors, all in their 20s, hunch over terminals, ready to write some killer code -- and, with luck, launch careers with one of the world's premier tech companies, Google Inc. It's the Google India Code Jam, a contest to find the most brilliant coder in South and Southeast Asia. The fastest will win $6,900 -- and more important, the offer of a coveted job at one of Google's research and development centers. At the stroke of 10:30 a.m., the contestants begin, emerging exhausted three hours later. "It's been incredibly difficult and awesome," says Nitin Gupta, a computer science undergrad at the Indian Institute of Technology at Bombay. link
  • In India, 12 million people graduate from high school each year. Among them, some 200,000 bright students apply for the IIT, but only 3,800 are successful. Yet this is not the end. Post-admission competition is much more intense. To illustrate, the school provides a separate psychiatrical treatment program because there are so many over-stressed patients from the fierce competition. Aphirup Medhika, whom I met at the Bombay campus where the most brilliant students gather among the IIT's seven campuses, is a junior majoring in computer engineering. Having completed undergraduate-level mathematics, physics, and chemistry before entering university, and currently focusing on graduate courses in artificial intelligence experiments, he said, "It is our school`s iron rule that you are weeded out if you don't go forward." His friends also proudly say that "survival of the fittest is the motto at IIT." IIT's fame is global. IIT Bombay's Dean of International Relations, Professor Pradipta Banerji, stated, "IIT graduates are India's future. The reason hundreds of global companies rush into India and establish R&D centers is because many competent human resources are being produced." link
  • The Society of Automotive Engineers has elected Dr Gautam T Kalghatgi of Shell Global Solutions in England to the prestigious status of SAE fellow. He is a principal scientist at the Shell Global Solutions. Dr Kalghatgi hails from Karnataka's Dharwad district and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He got his doctorate from Bristol University, England. The fellowship is the highest grade of membership bestowed by the SAE. SAE honours about 20 recipients worldwide every year. link
  • BlueRun Ventures, a global venture capital fund focused on early stage companies in the IT, mobile, and consumer electronics markets, today announced that it has named Vasudev "Vas" Bhandarkar as a Venture Partner. With over 22 years of experience in marketing, business development, sales, product development and general management, Bhandarkar will bring to bear his operational expertise to BlueRun Ventures' hands-on development of early stage technology companies. Bhandarkar holds an MS Degree in Physics from IIT Bombay, MS in Computer Science from Colorado State University. link
  • The National University of Singapore (NUS) is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with one of India's premier institutes of technology - the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai - rated among world's best. Starting in July next year, the two tertiary institutes will offer joint programmes for doctoral degrees and post-graduate degrees in Advanced Engineering Materials Science. India's Minister for Human Resource Development, Mr Arjun Singh ... "It is no accident that until now, for so many centuries, there is not a single instance of the armed forces of India going to any country in acts of aggression. We have only gone as peace-keepers," he said. It was in the same spirit that IIT Mumbai was tying up with NUS, he said. link
  • Alumni in the news ...
    • Alhad Joshi, Director of Software Consulting Services of the Enterprise Solutions group at Altair Engineering, Inc., will speak at the "Developing a Design/Simulation Framework" conference provided by Collaborative Products Development Associates, LLC on April 6 in Atlanta. link
    • "In the Indian FMCG sector, companies have shifted from selling what they produce to producing what the consumer wants,” says Hoshedar Press, executive director and president, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. An IIT Mumbai alumnus and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, Mr Press began his career with Godrej Soaps in 1972 as a management trainee. With over 33 years experience in Godrej Consumers Products, his mantra for success is: "Build a consumer-centric company."  link
    • After Vardan Kabra spurned a tempting pay package to start his dream school at Surat last year, this year three IIMA students have opted out of placements. These three were so determined that they did not even go through the placement process. K Sharat Chandra, Praveen Y and Chhatrapal Ninave plan to set up their own business than work for big corporates. Sharat Chandra, who was also a batchmate of Kabra as a chemical engineering student at IIT Mumbai, also worked for Arthur Anderson Business Consultants for a couple of years before joining IIMA. link

March 2005

  • The Indian Institutes of Technology are in the news again. Earlier this month, newspaper reports revealed the names of seven short-listed colleges to be converted into IITs, as per the S K Joshi Committee report. There is an apprehension that with the creation of more IITs, the quality of IITs may be diluted. link
     
  • The Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai will set up a world class nano research and development centre to promote nanotechnology in the country. The IIT Nano Centre will have fabrication facility in addition to scientific and structural characterisation facilities, R&D dean Prof Kartik Khilar said on Sunday. IIT currently has 50 faculty members working on various general areas of nanotechnology like nano electronics, nano materials, nano biotechnology, micro electromechanic system and Nano electromechanic system, he said. The details of the centre are being worked out and are expected to be ready in a couple of years, Khilar added. "We have been doing lot of R&D in the nanotech field, but when we want to transfer it to any industry, we need to translate the lab technology to the field scale and such centre will be of great use to the technologists doing research," he said. link
     
  • The tide is turning. A recent US report warned that the challenge for science and technology in America is that even if it does everything right, the world (read India, China) poses unprecedented competitive challenges. Ten years ago, such a report would have been scoffed at. Not any longer. More and more Indian techies, scientists, doctors are homeward bound, giving up high-paying jobs abroad and joining R&D units, hospitals, government institutions or even their alma mater here. America's brain drain is becoming India's brain gain ... Chandra Venkataraman, who's returned to teach at her alma mater, IIT Bombay. "The wide variety of jobs in R&D, management and engineering make it a real option to live and work in India ... There's also a feeling that if one works here, one can make a more meaningful contribution." link
     
  • International Herald Tribune (Mar 17): People from several buildings in Mumbai's Nariman Point business district panicked on Monday when their tables and chairs started to shake at approximately 3.30 pm as the tremors of a moderate earthquake were felt in the city. Meanwhile, the Indian Institute of Technology at Powai, in the suburbs, also experienced moderate intensity tremors. Mr Kishor Jaiswal, a PhD student from IIT-Bombay, said that Mumbai and its neighbouring areas have experienced a moderate level earthquake. Mr Jaiswal said chances of the occurrence of such earthquakes in the near future were low. "Frequently-occurring moderate-intensity earthquakes in Koyna region release energy, thereby reducing the chances of its recurrence in the future." link
     
  • The IIT brainpower that dots the American technology and corporate scene is turning its thoughts homewards. Come May, a good chunk of the estimated 40,000 IIT graduates in the US will gather in Washington DC to focus on how best to give back to their alma mater. Directors of all the seven Indian Institutes of Technology will be the honoured guests at the three-day event, beginning May 20. One of its key pursuits will be to give a big push to research collaboration between the IITs and the American industry, academia and Government. link
     
  • Amazon.com, one of the leading online shopping sites, is on an aggressive hiring spree. The Seattle-based company that has its only development center in India in the Asia Pacific region aims at tapping the high-end engineering talent for creating innovative customer-centric products. Elaborating on the industry-academia initiatives, Amazon.com CTO Werner Vogels said, "Presently, we are talking about the collaboration possibilities with IIT Bombay and they are likely to open up some possibilities." link
     
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology will restructure their courses to meet the new challenges of higher education. The Human Resource Development Ministry today announced a course structure for the three leading IITs of Kharagpur, Mumbai and Kanpur from the academic year 2005-2006. Similar changes will follow in the other four IITs. The ministry’s step will lead to an increase in student intake and will also give them more flexibility in making career choices. The decision for restructuring the IIT courses was taken at a meeting with the Institute directors in January and then given proper shape at a meeting later this month. IIT Mumbai will launch a five-year dual-degree programme combining two courses - a BTech (Engineering Physics) and an MTech with Nanoscience as specialisation. link
     
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology have welcomed the Cabinet's decision to admit introduce pure science courses at undergraduate level. The scheme will allow all seven IITs to admit more undergraduate students in pure science disciplines like physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology beginning from 2006. In an effort to increase India's scientific manpower and bring cheer to its fraternity, the Union Cabinet had cleared the scheme following Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's acceptance of a proposal put forward by the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (SAC-PM), headed by eminent scientist, Dr C N R Rao. link
     
  • The major source of potentially climate-changing soot in the air over south Asia is home cooking fires, according to a team of Indian and American researchers. The burning of wood, agricultural waste and animal manure for cooking is the largest source of black carbon in the air in that region, according to the team led by C. Venkataraman of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. "We therefore suggest that the control of these emissions through cleaner cooking technologies, in addition to reducing health risks to several hundred million users, could be of crucial importance to climate change mitigation in south Asia,'" the researchers wrote in a paper appearing in Friday's issue of the journal Science. The effect of soot in the air over the Indian Ocean is some 10 times that of the so-called greenhouse gases, according to the researchers. Such changes can affect rainfall patterns, contributing to intensity of floods and droughts, the group said in their paper. link
     
  • A science institute will come up in Calcutta, the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister decided today. The institute is expected to cost Rs 500 crore, Professor C.N.R. Rao, the council’s chairman, said. The proposals, approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the meeting, include an institute in Pune — like the one planned in Calcutta — and a National Science and Engineering Foundation with an annual budget of Rs 1,000 crore, council members said. Rao said the Indian Institutes of Technology would be asked to increase their admissions to pure science streams. "We want our IITs to become like the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)," Rao said. "The number of science students in the IITs today is very small." link
     
  • The S K Joshi committee has shortlisted seven technical institutes that can be upgraded to IITs, including the Bengal Engineering College (Howrah), Zakir Hussain College of Engineering, Aligarh, and Cochin University of Science and Technology. The Times of India reports that "... although the ministry is yet to discuss the report's recommendations, the issue of whether we need more IITs has already triggered a debate. Wouldn't half a dozen more IITs dilute the brand equity of the existing ones? ... But the committee did not consider the 17 regional engineering colleges that were upgraded to NITs during Murli Manohar Joshi's stint as HRD minister with the logic that they already had the same governance structure and deemed university status as IITs."  Click here for the Contact Us page for India's Ministry of Education. link
     
  • The IIT 2005 conference will be held on May 20-22 2005 in Bethesda, Maryland. The theme of the conference is "Technology without Borders" to emphasize the international reach of IIT alumni, the age of globalization and its impact on businesses, and the role of education and research in shaping the future. The Global IIT Alumni Conference is a biennial conference that will feature participants from across North America, India and the other parts of the world. Attendees include a large number of IIT alumni (IITians), luminaries from the industry and academia, and a variety of organizations. A preliminary list of speakers includes Jack Welch (Former CEO of GE), Larry Summers (President, Harvard University), Bob Brown (Provost, MIT), Dr. Jerry Cohon (President of Carnegie Mellon University), KV Kamath (CEO and MD, ICICI Bank Limited), Prof. C K Prahalad (University of Michigan) and Tony Tether (Director, DARPA). link
     
  • The latest Campus Diary reports on the International Workshop on Nanotechnology held at IIT Bombay during January 6-8, 2005. The workshop was jointly organized by IIT Bombay Heritage Fund's Faculty Alumni Network (FAN) and had twenty-one high quality presentations spread over three days including eleven presentations from invited researchers from the US, Australia, Singapore and from by IIT Bombay faculty. link
     
  • Mood I Bay Area Ishtyle ... San Francisco Bay Area Chapter announces a 2 1/2 hour variety entertainment program on Sunday, April 17, between 1.30 pm and 4 pm. Alumni and their loved ones and friends will perform songs, dances and more, in Western or Bollywood ishtyle. Auditions begin on Saturday, Feb 26. Come with your spouse/significant other, your children, family and friends and participate as Audience and/or Volunteer and/or Performer. Please let us know your interest AS SOON AS POSSIBLE by sending an email to moodibayarea@iitbombay.org. link
     

February 2005

  • The February issue of InsIghT magazine reports on upcoming campus elections and an incident involving the relatives of an ex-Registrar of IIT Bombay who physically assaulted a student trying to intervene in a fight following to a minor accident link
     
  • Five faculty members at the University of California, Berkeley, have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional honors for an American engineer. The new members include Arunava Majumdar (BTech ME '85), professor of mechanical engineering. They are among 74 new members elected to the NAE this year. The total U.S. membership of the academy is now 2,195, and the number of foreign associates is 178. Prof. Majumdar was honored for his contributions to nanoscale thermal engineering and molecular nanomechanics. link
     
  • On eight occasions in 2003, he was part of teams that caught leopards inside the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Powai. But on Thursday, Pandurang Koli was caught unawares when a leopard he was trying to trap lunged at him. The 53-year-old security inspector was poking the leopard with a 12-ft bamboo and trying to push the leopard into a cage when it mauled him. link
     
  • The University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore won the first prize in the three-day Asian Open Software Competition ‘Techfest 2005’ held at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, from January 28 to 30. The UET software ‘IRTIQA’ simulates the aging effect on facial images. It can display a human face in various stages of life such as adolescence, middle-aged and old aged. link Robotic team from Iran's Science and technical university captured the second place in Micromouse section of the India's international robotic competitions. link
     
  • The October issue of InsIghT magazine reports on the Cultural and Sports scene at IIT Bombay in an attempt to clarify the "GC or no GC?" question. Articles in recent issues cover the  Placement Office and other news from Powai. link
     
  • Anura Wickramanayake (28) strolls around the Powai campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) with a suitcase on wheels, trying to find the right place to display his creation. ‘‘I have modified a circuit breaker so it can monitor leaks in electricity,’’ he explains. A Master’s student in Energy Technology at the Moratuwa University in Sri Lanka, Anura is one of the several participants at the Ninth Techfest, a three-day event organised by IIT-Powai. link
     
  • For three days beginning January 28, the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, campus is going to witness exciting robotics competitions in their annual Techfest: this year, the motto is 'Technology For All'. Here’s a guide to the war of robots: * 750 colleges are coming from India and abroad to participate in various robot games and competitions like ‘Survivor’, ‘Micromouse’, ‘Rescue’ and ‘Power Boats’ * 15,000 students are expected at Techfest 2005 * $2,500 US is the total prize money for the winners of the most popular ‘Survivor’ event, in which the players have to build a robot that can overcome various hurdles like jumping over cliffs, walls and mazes In other games like ‘Rescue’, students have to build a robot to rescue a princess, while in ‘Micromouse’, the robots have to find their way out of a complex prison on their own. * Soccer fans can witness a match—played by humanoid robots * The McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 racing car will be on display. This 3000-cc power-machine has been brought here from Germany. link
     
  • Sikh youths who attended the annual rock concert ‘Livewire’, held at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Powai campus, were taken aback to see an image of Guru Gobind Singh being projected on the giant laser screen while the Indo-American band Dragonfly was performing on stage. A student organiser of Livewire said, "We were also surprised, but the issue is now settled as Dragonfly had publicly apologised. In fact, a Sikh member of Perestroika, G Singh, also came on stage and apologised on their behalf to all his Sikh brethren." link

January 2005

  • For University of Massachusetts abroad student Lazarus V. Morrison, 23, his decision not to spend Christmas night camped on an Indian beach probably saved his life. On his December recess from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Bombay, India, the fifth-year senior from Massachusetts traveled the country, sleeping on the southeastern beaches of India. His classes resumed on Jan. 3 at IIT, and Morrison is now back in Bombay. He plans to return to the U.S. in May in time for the UMass graduation ceremony. Although life is beginning to return to some semblance of normal in India, Morrison says the relief effort is still very much underway. link
     
  • "The Big Picture", IIM Ahmedabad Professor T T Ram Mohan’s fortnightly column, has been appearing in The Economic Times for over six years now. Its incisiveness, academic depth and readability have given it a wide following among policy-makers, bankers, academics, students and general readers. This book brings the column together under five broad themes – the financial sector, Indian economy, privatization, corporate governance and international economy. Analytical, hard-hitting and often contrarian in its conclusions and prescriptions, this book is a lively guide to some of the great debates that have dominated and continued to dominated and continued to dominate public policy in the country. A graduate from IIT Bombay and IIM Calcutta, he obtained his doctorate from Stern School of Business, New York University. link
     
  • Outsourcing may be the rage these days, but offshoring India's higher education is going to be the next big thing soon. To begin with, India's most celebrated education brands -- IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIM (Indian Institute of Management) -- are all set to go global. So who all are taking their prestigious schools abroad? IIM-Bangalore and IIT-Bombay are going to be the pioneers. IIM-B -- the impressive B-school in India's Silicon Valley of Bangalore that made it to The Wall Street Journal's list of the top 100 business-schools globally in 2003 -- has already chalked out a plan for an international debut. IIM-B's first destination? Most probably Singapore. "We have finalised a plan to set up an international campus in Singapore or any other South East Asian country. We hope the new campus will be operational by next academic year," IIM-B Director Prakash G Apte said. Similarly, IIT Bombay has tied up with the prestigious National University of Singapore, which paves the way for the former to offer M.Tech courses to students in Singapore. link
     
  • Be it engineering or management, it seems IITians really know how to get all the top jobs. The Shailesh J Mehta School of Management at IIT Mumbai completed its placement with 85 job offers being made for its 52 students. What's more, the placement for the entire batch was completed in just eight hours. With an average salary of Rs 7.43 lakh ($17,000) per annum and the highest domestic salary of Rs 11 lakh ($25,000) per year, the college is clearly in the big league. The campus was visited by 74 companies such as IBM, Tata Strategic Management Group, JP Morgan Chase, SBI Caps, Ernst & Young, Godrej, e-Clerx, Cadbury, Marico, Citibank, Accenture, Infosys Technologies, Wipro, Bristlecone, Anand Group, Mahindra British Telecom. link
     
  • President Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam speaking at the valedictory session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas–2005 in Mumbai praised the work being done by Anuvrata (Dunu) Roy (BTech ChemE '67 / MTech ChemE '69). President Kalam said that ... "I would like to share the experience of another personality who is an IIT Bombay graduate and has taken a unique initiative of doing what he would like. He went to Madhya Pradesh and started an enterprise called Vidushak Karkhana in Annupur near Shahdol. His name is Shri Anuvrata K Roy, universally known as Dunu. I was moved to note his contribution to the society which I consider as the highest category of contribution by an IITian. The following statement made by him moved me - "To be able to extract valuable ores from the depths of the earth under harsh working conditions for a pittance that barely keeps the body alive, to provide the affluent with all the means for their comforts, while being denied one’s own basic necessities to maintain the entire structure of society, without any provision for one’s family future – requires a kind of survival skills that only the most adventurous in formal society can dream of." link
  • More about Dunu Roy ... "Dunu Roy devoted over three decades in the field of rural development. A chemical engineer, holding an M.Tech degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, he provided technical expertise to rural communities, carried out prolonged experiment in environmental planning and now provides succour to those who became victims of Delhi’s hazardous life. He runs an institution with likeminded persons and the organisation itself has been named "Hazard Centre" ... Fifty-eight-year-old, Dunu Roy gave up his career as chemical engineer as temperamentally he could not be tied down to long office hours and the challenges outside beckoned him. Initially he had done lot of work in tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh covering such areas as environmental planning and imparting education at mass level. The challenges before him now are manifold and of gigantic magnitude but he is not the one to give up. Even if a part of the work he has undertaken yields result, it will be a big leap forward in service to the community. link
     
  • If the end goal of all this research is to help people, then the patents recently issued to Purdue engineer Nagabhushana Prabhu (BTech CS '87) at Purdue University and to Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal at MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Texas will help people where it hurts ... thanks to Prabhu’s remarkable foresight in linking mathematics, computer science, and structural biology, a patent has been issued for his 'Method for diagnosing and treating breast cancer.' link
     
  • The wake-up call was too loud and way too costly this time. So, during his visit to the tsunami-hit Andamans last weekend, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the setting up of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), a mechanism that will come into action every time disaster strikes. The legislation is being drafted and a bill will be introduced in the budget session. Says Ravi Sinha, professor at the department of civil engineering, IIT, Bombay, "In India, disaster management was typically reactive. But in the last few years, particularly following the International Decade on Natural Disasters Reduction, steps are being taken to limit the effect of future disasters." Says Sinha of IIT, Bombay, "Because of the complexity of our social and administrative setups, the overseas models may not be directly useful." However, he and other experts feel the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US could be a useful model as it is closest to the Indian situation. link 
  • The eighth annual Techfest, IIT Bombay's technology festival, will be held on the IIT Bombay campus from January 28-30, 2005. The first Techfest in 1998 was dedicated to "Technology is Fun", while the motto for TechFest 2005 is "Technology for All". Techfest has a history of doing new things every year, including the first videoconference in India, holding a defense exhibition or showcasing Sony Aibo robots playing football. link
     
  • They are called the F-Cells. The are powered by hydrogen. And they sport the Mercedes Benz three-pointed star. They are the fuel cell Mercedes Benz cars and will be seen in India for the first time. DaimlerChrysler India Limited is bringing one of its fuel cell cars to India. Students of IIT Powai will have a close look at this hydrogen-powered car at their tech fest later this month. A dekho of the car of the future is mostly thanks to Dr Bharat Balasubramanian, an IIT Bombay alumni, who is also vice-president with the Mercedes Car Group looking after development engineering technologies and regulatory affairs at DaimlerChrysler, Germany. He had visited the Indian operations of DaimlerChrysler and the IIT in end 2004. link
     
  • In the wake of the tsunami disaster, research on earthquakes is in the spotlight. A city-based researcher has developed a new website which provides laypersons information about earthquakes and helps researchers in investigating a building's resistance to earthquake. The website is one part of a recently-concluded World Bank-funded project to spread awareness about earthquakes. The second part of the project aimed to figure out how much civic and state government officials knew about disaster management. According to researcher Kishore Jaiswal, a PhD student at IIT Bombay, most civic officials he interacted with knew little about earthquakes and how to react to them. link
     
  • Did you ever wish that you could track the location of a mobile user? Well, this could very well be a reality largely thanks to the efforts of three young Mumbai-based IITians, who have developed a Linux-based software application that tracks the location of mobile phones. Service provider Airtel provided a platform for the IIT trio to test their software, which was demonstrated at the recently concluded Mood Indigo festival on a sample crowd of 300 cell phone subscribers. link
     
  • "AYE Aye Tee" sang Goan legend Remo Fernandes in an extempore anthem, hair slicked back and in Elvis Presley whites. It’s been a relationship that started 20 years ago, when Remo first performed at IIT’s Mood Indigo. He was a student of Sir JJ School of Architecture and it was one of his first musical breaks ... Remo kept his young audience enthralled with his cool sense of humour and youthful hits like Pyaar to hona hi tha, Oh meri Munni, Humma humma and Jalwa. He also got a tad nostalgic about performing at the IIT campus. "It’s been a very long time. But I still feel the same thrill because students really love and understand music. Afterwards, careers and family matters become more important than the music - which is sad."  link

Document Actions