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International Institute of Information Technology - [IIIT-B], Bangalore

Bangalore, Karnataka NAAC, UGC Estd 1999 Deemed University
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Interview: Prof. S. Sadagopan, Director, International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore

Ques. What is your viewpoint on the effect of education on the mindset of a human being?

Ans. Education transforms a human being by opening up the mindset, enables one to learn new ideas and knowledge from circumstances and make the world a better place to live. At the economical level, education provides livelihood that too in a sustained manner all through one's life.

Ques. We heard you obtained your PhD from USA. Can you tell us your viewpoint on the PhD done from foreign institution as compared to doing it in India?

Ans. I completed my Ph.D. in 1979 from Purdue University, USA. There are three distinct advantages of doing Ph.D. in USA: 

  1. You get a global experience as in every class there is a good chance that there are students from many countries - USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, China and India, for example:
  1. You get to choose courses from a large variety of disciplines - Physical & Biological Sciences, Engineering, Management, Social Sciences, Agriculture and Medicine.
  1. You get exposed to a scale (tens of thousands of students) and scope (diversity of disciplines, nationality of students and teaching / assessment processes, without sacrificing rigour)

Ques. Tell us something about your research work that has appeared in international journals?

Ans. Along with my former Ph.D. student Indu Shekhar Singh I published a paper on Model Management System LAMP (Language Aided Mathematical Program) in the International Journal "DSS Journal". Systems like LAMP permit modelling at a much higher abstraction level that takes away the drudgery of manual data entry - for example entering the coefficients of thousands of variables involved in hundreds of linear inequalities. When one attempts to model large scale linear programs in transportation planning, agriculture, economic modelling, to name a few applications. In today’s world of Analytics, one talks of languages like "R"; systems like LAMP are precursors to "R" like systems.

Ques. What prompted you to become a columnist with the TOI and several other magazines?

Ans. It is just a coincidence that I shared the stage in a panel discussion with Times of India Editor Mr. H.S. Balaram; he found my explanation of complex IT applications interesting. It was he who thought I would be a good technology columnist. He gave a target of fortnightly column. It was difficult for the first three months, but I quickly started enjoying. Times of India being the largest circulated English newspaper it was satisfying; it also permitted interacting with very large number of younger readers (mostly students) who will give instant feedback through email. (No WhatsApp during 1997 to 2007)

Ques.Can you enlighten us with the mode of admission in this institution and what are the different courses which are being offered? 

Ans. International Institute of Information Technology [IIIT]-Bangalore is a Graduate School; we have only Master's and Doctoral Programs. We have a 2-Year M.Tech Program (after B.Tech) for which admission is through GATE Exam; we have M.Tech in IT (120 seats) and M.Tech in ESD (Electronic Systems Design) (30 seats). We have a 5-year M.Tech Program (after 12th Grade) for which admission is through JEE Exam; we have CSE (60 sears) and ECE (30 students) streams. We have a 2-year M.Sc. (Digital Society) Program (after Undergraduate Degree B.Sc. / B.Tech) for which we conduct our own online exam followed by Interview (30 seats). M.S (Research) and Ph.D. are Research Degrees for which Admission is through GATE / Entrance Exam followed by Interview (about 10-20 seats). All our Admissions are merit-based.

Ques. Being a Director of a college like IIIT Bangalore must be very challenging. Can you throw some light on it?

Ans. The challenges of Institution building are simple challenge of attracting great IIIT Bangalore faculty and students. With more IIT's and IIIT's coming up everywhere and with established IIT's growing, the competition is getting tough on both faculty and student front. However the quality of our faculty and our brand built over the past sixteen years help us. Since IIIT-B does not take salary grant from the Government there is the added challenge of resource generation; our friends from Government and Industry and our Alumni are a great help.

Ques. How is IIIT Bangalore different from other institutes?

Ans. We are different in four ways

a) We are much younger compared to many IITs (16 years Vs nearly 60 years).

b) We focus on IT only (other IITs have all branches of engineering).

c) We are research-led educational Institution Graduate School by design, unlike other IIIT's.

d) Of course, we are in the best location (Bangalore, IT Capital of India and one of the global Technology hubs) that too in Electronics City.

Ques. What are your long term goals towards IIIT Bangalore?

Ans. Obviously we want to be a Top Technology School in India and counted as a premier School globally. In 2, 3 areas like E-Health, IT and Society and Technology in learning we aim to be the leader in India by 2025. We combine Education, Research and Entrepreneurship in an organic way each strengthening the other.

Ques. Tell us about your plans in making this institute as one of the premier institutes of the country?

Ans. Our M.Tech / PhD Programs are "best in class"; ESD Program and Digital Society IIIT Bangalore Programs are unique Along with upgrade we are launching a unique online Program in Analytics in 2016. Our EHRC (E-Health Research Centre) works with Technical Institutes, Universities & Medical colleges in India and abroad. Our Innovation Centre has gone beyond Incubation to Accelerators promoting tech entrepreneurship in a big way.

Ques. Any suggestion you would like to give to the current youth?

Ans. You have abundant choices available; make a conscientious choice that matches your aptitude and ability. Excellence is the watch word; how you do is far more important than what you do. You are a global citizen in the New India; leverage this position enjoyed by India today (unlikely to go away for the next couple of decades).

Last Updated - 05 May 2016

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