Sunday, November 24, 2013

Innovation in Iiit

There are a thousand people staying in our Institute. They consume a lot of water. The tanks are filled twice a day. When the water is nearly full, the tank overflows. That is a messy sight. The water falling from hundred feet above makes a lot of noise, messes up the walls, the floor etc.

I was looking for a simple, robust and practical solution. I had sounded this to many people: our students, faculty, vendors etc. The suggestions came in large numbers. From very sophisticated to vey impractical.

Finally, prof. Khirod rout came with a solution that is amazingly simple, extremely low cost and very practical. A hooter will raise an alarm when the tank is about to overflow. The operator will stop the water supply. Too simple, yes.

The device contains a DC power supply, a transistor, a hooter. The most expensive part is the cable running from the tank to the ground floor. The cost of the device is about two hundred rupees. The prototype is operational in the I block.

India's strength is in low cost engineering. This little innovation is an demonstration of that ability.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Good News! Bad News! Who knows?

This is a story I heard long ago.

The Chinese tell the story of an old man who owned a bony plow horse. One spring afternoon the horse ran away. The old man's friends, trying to console him, said, "We're so sorry about your horse, old man. What a misfortune you've had." But the old man said, "Bad news, good news-who knows?"

A few days later the horse returned home leading a herd of wild horses. Again the friends came running. Filled with jubilation, they cried, "How wonderful!" But the old man whispered, "Good news, bad news-who knows?"

Then the next day, when the farmer's son was trying to ride one of the new horses, the young man was thrown to the ground and broke both legs. The friends gasped. The old man stood still and said, "Bad news, good news-who knows?"

And a short time later when the village went to war and all the young men were drafted to fight, the farmer's son was excused because of two broken legs. Good news. Bad news. Who knows?

 Last week, the story came back to my mind. A news about Odisha attracting huge investment was posted on our Facebook page and the title was Good News, Bad News Who knows. One reader responded angrily what is bad about it. When the RBI Governor rated Odisha at the bottom of all states, I thought that was bad news. Then, another news article reminded us that now we can demand more from center because of our backwardness. That is good news.

We started operating 2 Lifts in Hostel. Within two days, there were physical damages done to the Lifts my our dear students. I felt that is bad news. However, the good news is that the students will remain fit.

This is a story which gives me hope when things go bad and keeps my feet on ground when the things seem to go right.

Monday, August 26, 2013

At long last, the Odisha Legislative Assembly has passed the IIIT Bhubaneswar Bill. Here is a short FAQ regarding this bill.

Q: Have we become a University
A: Wait. Not yet. The Governor has the give accent to the Bill. The Government have to notify that the Act comes to effect on a particular date. That's when the Institute will become a University.

Q: What will this mean for the Institute
A: The Institute will have Academic Autonomy for floating new courses, design curriculum, adopt pedagogy, evaluation methods etc.

Q: How will the Institute use University status.
A. To start with the Institute will offer Doctoral Programmes, and more Masters programmes. The B.Tech. Programme will be made more rigorous.

It have been a long, winding and arduous journey so far.

The University status will eliminate one stumbling block and a big excuse for not achieving our potential. The Institute has to buck up and race ahead to achieve its mission.

PS: My blog on University status in 2010 was the most watched and commented one.

Monday, August 19, 2013

IIIT on Facebook

The social media is evolving rapidly. The blogging was (it now looks like) ancient form of social media. People with ample time will sit-down, ruminate over some strange topic and write volumes. This is so passé.

Now is time for twitter and Facebook. Amitabh Bachchan tweets every day and updates his status every day.

IIIT has a facebook page now. Events, updates, photos, videos, fun stuff are all posted in these pages. Request students, parents and any one with some interest in the Institute to follow the Facebook page.

Here is the Facebook link

However, if you like to read long posts written infrequently, please visit this blog. 

Monday, April 22, 2013


It has been years since (actually a year and 8 months) I last posted a blog. May be I am too busy or may be I am a little lazy (the former is more true).

One significant event which happened last week is Advaita. This is the inter college techno-cult fest organized by our students.

When the students approached me to organize the event, I was reluctant to give permission. Earlier events organized by the students had some very ugly incidents. Hence, I questioned their ability to organize an event with decency. However, they promised to organize will not have any law and order issues.

We told them that there are three parameters to judge the event:

Financially sustainable: I told the students to have plans for three scenarios. Scenario A being they get all the finances as they had planned and the Scenario C is they get nothing as planned. Hope for Scenario A and Plan for Scenarion C.

No Ugly Incidents: The events should be free from any ugly incident. That means they need to take adequate measures for crowd control, selective in inviting etc.

Start and finish on time: Each event must start and finish on time.

We did not put a yardstick on quality.

Advaita is successful on the first two criteria. On the third, the success is mixed.

Liked: The website is very cool. Good team work. Plenty of enthusiasm.

Didn't like: Facebook page is empty. Not enough reporting on the events.