A few months (or an infinity) ago, the steady, onward movement of our lives halted. The world came to a standstill as it navigated a challenge on an unprecedented scale in the form of a pandemic. People everywhere stayed home as our public spaces became empty and deserted. Much has already been written about all this.
National Education Policy 2020: IITJ Perspective
Prof. Santanu Chaudhury
The New National Education Policy, approved by the cabinet on last Wednesday (29/7/2020), is a landmark in envisioning future of the Indian education. This step is more significant given the fact that current policies were framed about 35 years ago and the world has substantially changed since then. The present policy with a different outlook towards all levels and aspects of education entails significant departure from the past.
Focus on multidisciplinary approach in contrast to specialised discipline-specific academic programmes and institutions is the key recommendation of the new education policy regarding higher education. The policy has indicated that engineering education should “also aim to be offered within multidisciplinary education institutions and programmes and have a renewed focus on opportunities to engage deeply with other disciplines”.
The exhaust generated by the internal combustion is a major cause for the creation of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particle pollution, and sulfur dioxide. The Environment Protection Agency, USA (EPA) implemented the Clean Air Act, 1963, to define air quality standards. To maintain these standards and curb air pollution, the EPA in 1975 mandated the use of catalytic converters in vehicles. Catalytic converters are part of automobile exhaust systems and oxidize or reduce toxic gases such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and soot into less hazardous gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen. Typically, a catalytic converter is a honeycomb-like structure containing gram levels of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium and are therefore expensive. Metal leaching and poor performance over time have also been serious issues with conventional catalytic converters. Since conventional catalytic converters normally work best at high temperatures, they also release toxic pollutants until the vehicle warms up. While engines that work at low temperatures have been designed and developed, designing a low-cost, low-temperature catalytic convertor has led to a resurgence of active research in this area.
The Sustainable Materials and Catalysis Group at IIT Jodhpur has conducted research on clay-based heterogeneous catalysts as potential alternate technological solutions for various challenging problems in the energy and environment domain. The group attempted to address the problems associated with the conventional catalytic converter such as decline in function over time, metal leaching, and high-temperature stability. With time, the palladium particles spread over cerium undergo surface oxidation and decompose into small particles partly due to the high-temperature oxidation process. Therefore, reduction of operating temperature, replacement of palladium and cerium with non-noble metals, and re-design of the converter to prevent metal deactivation were necessary interventions. Clay has inherent properties such as large surface area, broken edge bonds, potential for ion exchange (increases the adsorption of gases). The group has engineered clay containing simple non-noble metals like iron, nickel and cobalt as well as hafnia. The Fe-Ni-Co cooperative nano-particles work as isolated nanospheres (single-site catalyst) while the hafnia-rajasthani clay function as an oxygen reservoir with controlled supply. The catalytic performance of the developed clay-based device was found to be better than the conventional catalytic converter even at high temperatures over several cycles. Further testing and prototype development are currently in progress. Devika Laishram, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Chemistry, played a major role in the development of the device.
Another focus area of the sustainable materials and catalysis group is water treatment. Though water scarcity is emerging as a major problem across the globe, water as a resource is usually taken for granted, which leads to water-insecurity. India’s situation is precarious because the country has to deal with water contamination by industrial and geogenic impurities. The underground water in India, therefore, is often polluted with harmful substances such as dyes, fluoride-rich chemicals, and other industrial discharges. The group has developed Rajasthani clay-based photocatalytic water purification technology using sunlight. In this technology, Rajasthani Clay is modified by a simple chemical process and impregnated with metal nanoparticles. The photocatalytic materials show semiconductor characteristics after incorporation of metal nanoparticles. The metal nanoparticles have multiple roles in the treatment of water such as absorbing sunlight, adsorbing pollutants, decomposition of pollutants etc. The process involves exposing a slurry made of the clay catalyst with the contaminated water followed by sunlight exposure for five hours with frequent agitation. Highly ordered long galleries in the nanoparticle impregnated clay help to absorb the sunlight. This process has been successfully used to treat waste water emerging from textile, dairy, pharmaceutical, and poultry industries.
Currently, the Sustainable Materials and Catalysis Group at IIT Jodhpur is working on a prototype to modify this technology to provide clean water to remote areas. The studies leading to the development of this technology were performed by a team including Vineet Soni, Toran Roy, Suman Dhara, Ganpat Choudhary, and Pragati Sharma.
Department of Chemistry
The development of unmanned aerial vehicles has been a highly active area of research in the recent decade. These aerial vehicles require proper control strategies for a stable flight to make the vehicle perform the required task in the real outdoor environment. All over the world, several organizations, educational institutions, and individuals are working on various aspects of development and application of this technology to real life scenarios. Development of an autopilot system is one of the main challenges in the realization of a reliable vehicle. In India, there are many companies/startups that use the procured foreign technology, particularly with regards to the autopilot system, to make their vehicle fly in autonomous mode. As the design of the autopilot system is critical and challenging (which depends on the dynamic behavior of the vehicle), it is important for us to develop a system indigenously so that we have maximum control and information regarding the reliability and working mechanism of the autopilot system. This will allow us to modify various modules and algorithms of the system to achieve the specified task.
To achieve the goal, the focus of our study is on the design and development of a complete autopilot system including selection of sensors, their integration, data processing, control algorithm for attitude and navigation, and communication to ground station. The developed autopilot system has been tested on-board a quadcopter flying in an outdoor environment. The results of the flight test clearly show that the indigenous autopilot system satisfies the autonomous control and way-point navigation for short range flights due to limitation in the range of wireless communication. The design procedure and the control algorithm developed in this study can now be implemented and tested in various flying vehicles with VTOL capabilities, including mini helicopters. The control architecture, quality of attitude control achieved, and the quadcopter with autopilot are shown in the figures below.
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Solar thermal systems have always held a cornerstone position in renewable energy applications and the share in market potential. The photovoltaic (PV) route to tap solar energy is fraught with heavy metal pollution which impacts the solar panel life and efficiency for process heating/cooling applications. Solar thermal technologies, on the contrary, are environment friendly and efficient for a wide range of applications. In order to overcome the barriers in the commercialization of solar energy based technologies, IIT Jodhpur focuses on cutting-edge research on solar thermal systems. The research encompasses not only improving the efficiency of solar thermal systems, both standalone and integrated, but also to train engineers in this field for future advancements.
An interdisciplinary team of faculty members and research scholars are working on variety of solar thermal systems and technologies including Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems - the parabolic dish concentrator, solar PV panels, central receiver, thermal energy storage, solar dryer, solar cooker to name a few.
The Government of India initiated the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) program. Under this program, the Union Cabinet, through Department of Science and Technology (DST), has launched several Technology and Innovation Hubs (TIHs) across the country focusing on different areas of Cyber-Physical Systems such as Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision, IoT, Data Science, Security, and many more as well as sectors related to health, agriculture, water, transportations, finance, etcetera. Through a competitive process, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur is identified to host the TIH on Computer Vision and Augmented and Virtual Reality (CV and ARVR).
The TIH at IIT Jodhpur is named as iHub Drishti and it will: (i) focus on advancing the research outcomes in core problems related to CV and, ARVR, (ii) augment imaging with additional (multimodal) sources of input such as haptics, language, and IoT to advance state-of-the-art in the domain areas, (iii) create technology solutions for socially relevant and industry-facing problems, (iv) support and nurture start-up ecosystems, (v) stimulate skilling and reskilling educational programs, and (v) advise governments for appropriate policy-related matters in the domain of CV and ARVR.
iHub Drishti, a Section 8 company, is hosted in the premises of IIT Jodhpur. The hub, steered by the Hub Governing Board and the Director of the TIH, will host teams of faculty members, research scholars, developers and scientists who will work towards developing the technologies. Further, four different kinds of partners are identified: (i) research collaborators from national and international institutions, (ii) domain expert partner institutions, (iii) hub and spoke model (mentor-mentee) based partner institutions, and (iv) research labs and industry including startups. The TIH envisions creating an ecosystem in and around the thematic areas and building collaborations with other TIHs to foster the overall growth and development of CPS technologies. The facility would include a mix of office and laboratory spaces with state-of-the-art infrastructure facilities that will cater to the collaborating institutions. The TIH will also build a network of researchers and developers, both externally hired and from the student body, such that in the next 5 years, iHub Drishti becomes the main hub of technologies related to computer vision, virtual and augmented reality in the entire country.
The proposed TIH will initially focus on fundamental research, developing Intellectual Properties and building prototypes (TRL 3-4). Based on the technologies generated, these IPs will be converted into products and then marketed in association with startups, industry and its own team of executives. The experts, through iHub Drishti, will also provide consulting services to other companies and government institutions. It is envisioned that iHub Drishti will be self-sustaining by the end of five years with continuous growth in research, technology and product portfolio.
Project Director, iHUB Drishti
Professor and Swarnajayanti Fellow
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
“...Technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.” ~ Steve Jobs
The Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur started the Interdisciplinary Research Platform on Digital Humanities (IDRP-DH) in 2019, making the Institute a pioneer in launching an exemplar platform for Digital Humanities in India. With the starting of such a platform, the Institute also joins hands nationally and globally with a new field of organised research that emerged at the beginning of the 2000s examining the use and application of digital technologies in humanities, the liberal arts, social science scholarship, and beyond. Popularly nested under an umbrella term “Digital Humanities”, this area of scholarship takes a critical stance to examine the role, use, application, and impact of digital tools in our everyday life, our societies, economies, cultures, and governments.
To be sure, disciplinary evolutions of the natural sciences, social sciences, the arts and humanities and allied technologies have converged and diverged over the centuries. The digital scholarship in the social sciences, the arts and humanities are only emerging. One reason for the growth of digitization in the social sciences, the arts and humanities is not an emulation of the natural sciences, rather, discovering meaning in the application of information technology as an aid to fulfil the disciplines’ basic tasks of preserving, reconstructing, transmitting, and interpreting the human record historically and contemporaneously. While the use of computational tools in social science and humanities work is not very new, however, the availability of a large body of cultural artefacts after the digital turn, as well as emergence of new kinds of digital objects and embodiments, has opened up several possibilities for social science and humanities research, practice and pedagogy using computational approaches.
The premise of IDRP-DH at IIT Jodhpur is on two aspects: (1) Digital Humanities is interdisciplinary, and therefore IDRP-DH focuses on integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines, using a real synthesis of approaches; and (2) the Digital Humanities platform investigates the unique relationship that technology has with the humanities, social sciences and similar other areas. Specifically, the DH platform examines questions that primarily arise out of the humanities, social sciences, and allied disciplines and those that necessitates answering with the use of technology, and also questions about humanities and social sciences that are enabled because of the presence of technology. This of course opens up a much larger discussion about the evolving nature of technology in society, a symbiotic one, that the IDRP-DH also actively explores.
The research focus and pedagogy in Digital Humanities at IIT Jodhpur emphasize on many of the emerging and related epistemological questions on knowledge production about generating digital data from material objects, and on rethinking of existing processes of knowledge production. Some key extramurally funded research projects of this interdisciplinary platform include the Indian Heritage in Digital Space Project of the ICPS funded by the DST, the Archiving project on Cine-Politics funded by SPARC (Government of India), and the CRAFTs project (Handicrafts and Handloom) which also envisions setting up of a CRAFTs lab as the Common Facilities Centre (CFC) for Technology Intervention as part of the Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation Cluster project of the Government of India.
Pedagogically, IDRP-DH places the Institute at the frontline of organized teaching programs on Digital Humanities in the country. The doctoral program in Digital Humanities started in 2019, and the M.Sc. program in Digital Humanities is starting from the upcoming academic year (AY 2020-2021). The doctoral program offers unique opportunities to redraw conventional disciplinary boundaries among the humanities, the social sciences, the arts, technology and engineering, and the natural sciences en route to training students to learn a balanced mix of qualitative and quantitative approaches to understanding Digital Humanities. Doctoral students have the opportunity to hone their skills through internship opportunities with various reputed organizations across the country, such as the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the French Institute of Pondicherry. The M.Sc.-DH program is a first of its kind in India, and has been tailored to provide critical insights into the key parameters that are continually influencing and impacting the amalgamation of diverse disciplines that comprise Digital Humanities, especially digital technologies with humanities that constantly re-engineer emerging societal structures and behavior. Some of the major thrust areas of the M.Sc. DH program are archiving, cultural heritage and digital preservation, data analytics for social sciences, data journalism, and digital marketing. The M.Sc. program has been conceptualized through an intensive curriculum development workshop conducted in September 2019 with experts across the fields, and has attracted significant accolades from the Digital Humanities fraternity nationally.
Faculty members affiliated with IDRP- DH are from various departments: Humanities and Social Sciences, Computer Science and Engineering, and Mathematics to name a few. In addition, IDRP-DH enjoys the advisement of senior faculty members from other esteemed institutes in the country such as IIT Delhi, IIT Indore, IIT Kharagpur, IIM Indore, and ISI Kolkata, and other senior officials such as from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The interdisciplinary faculty of IDRP-DH has been instrumental in organizing various international workshops on Digital Humanities such as at the IEEE BigMM Conference (2019, 2020), participate in national and international Digital Humanities conferences such as the Digital Humanities 2020 conference by the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, and other national and global events such as the International Heritage Symposium and Exhibition, 2020 . To enhance collaborative workflows, IDRP-DH actively involves academics and resource people from other institutes and universities across the country and internationally.
Coordinator, Digital Humanities
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur is committed to educational excellence through a strong student-focused educational experience and to provide quality education with the contemporary and highly professional curricula. In order to achieve this objective, IIT Jodhpur has undergone a thorough curriculum change in the year 2019 and has come up with a new curriculum. This article highlights philosophy ingrained in the new curriculum and some of its salient features. The societal challenges of the 21st century are profound and wide-ranging. Basic needs such as energy, food and water, housing, mobility, and health will become even more acute as the world population exceeds 9 billion. The demands for sustainable development will require redefined and innovative engineering talent and leadership. There has been an emergence of a connected, competitive, and entrepreneurial global economy, in which successful engineers increasingly need technical competency and professional skills that differ from what worked in the past. These reasons build up a clear case for disruptive revision of the undergraduate curriculum.
Today the creative function of engineering is expected to be viewed and understood in the broader context of the new patterns of knowledge creation across disciplines obliterating traditional boundaries between science, humanities and social sciences, arts and engineering. IIT Jodhpur has pursued a newer structure of programmes in addition to classical programmes to address these opportunities.
The objective of the new curriculum is to define a novel instructional paradigm and content plan to address modern demands of professional education (as outlined above) based upon the philosophy of outcome-based education. The curriculum builds on four guiding principles of outcome-based academics, i.e.,
Unique features of the undergraduate curriculum are highlighted as follows:
Throughout the curriculum, efforts have been laid down at building up strong foundation, enabling continuous learning, inter-disciplinary breadth, and design thinking, and imbibing creative and critical thinking, social responsibility, professional ethics, and sustainability as distinct thematic commitment.
Associate Dean (Academics – UG Programmes)
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Last year IIT Jodhpur has celebrated 10 years of excellence in teaching and research. In continuation of its mission of conducting high quality research, 2019 onwards the Institute has revamped its doctoral programmes in a more systematic and comprehensive manner with a clear vision towards delivering highly trained research manpower, and impactful research and translation. In this direction, the Institute has repositioned its doctoral programmes by introducing new and specialized programmes along with new interdisciplinary approach and platform, enhancing the rigor of the training process for the doctoral candidates, and also putting forward a deliberate effort towards translation of the research output.
In the process, the Institute has started new doctoral programmes in Chemical Engineering, Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, and Management from 2020 in the areas of contemporary global interest as well as in emerging areas. A first of its kind, the Institute is launching a joint doctoral programme with AIIMS Jodhpur from July 2020. The doctoral programme in Medical Technologies, jointly offered by IIT Jodhpur and AIIMS Jodhpur, are uniquely placed wherein one of the major objectives is to produce a pool of Medical Technologists in the country who shall develop globally competitive medical and healthcare technologies to address the current as well as emerging challenges of the future. This programme has been conceived and designed in a way to not only knit together the relevant key elements of Medical Science and Engineering Technology but to also have desired emphasis on translational R&D, innovation, technology management and entrepreneurship aspects required for realizing the deployable techniques, technologies, devices and systems in medical and healthcare domains. Moreover, to establish its national and global presence and to enrich its competitive research ecosystem, the Institute is also planning to offer new joint doctoral programmes. The Institute has augmented the unique MTech-PhD dual degree programmes in specialized areas as well in some of the thrust areas. Fourteen such MTech-PhD programmes are currently being offered at IIT Jodhpur. This new avenue has efficiently improved the overall quality of the doctoral research ecosystem.
Towards enhancing the rigor of training of the doctoral candidates, the Institute has developed and implemented a new set of regulations to be followed during the tenure of a candidate at IIT Jodhpur. Carefully designed separate academic credit requirements have been set for regular and interdisciplinary doctoral programmes to gain required knowledge in the area. Further, to maintain the quality of the research work throughout the duration of programme, the continuation criteria and eligibility for assistantship after each semester, as well as at the end of the course work has been set, annual progress monitoring meeting is planned, and a qualifier requirement including four components with rigorous assessment during comprehensive examination is in place. These new set of regulations, which are in effect from 2019, have significantly promoted the high standard of the doctoral research and will certainly help in producing highly-trained research manpower.
During doctoral research, the research advancements are generally based on the outcome of the conventional search of the prior work reported, typically, in conference proceedings and journal articles. Many a times, prior work may contain very important and commercially impactful contributions that have been patented. Before starting the research in the chosen direction, it is prudent to do patent landscaping, in addition to the conventional search. Among other nuances in the IIT Jodhpur IPR Policy, which has been delicately drafted and implemented recently, every doctoral candidate is expected to conduct a holistic literature search covering all forms of literature including patent documents, and formally submit a comprehensive technology landscape on her/his chosen research work. This is an integral part of his/her research work, prior to starting the research, and has been included as a part of a state-of-the-art seminar - formally starting the research work. It was therefore thought essential to expose all the doctoral candidates to basics of patent searching and deriving technology-based information from patent documents for the preparation of their respective technology landscapes. In addition to this, a course on patent landscaping is a compulsory course to be taken by all the doctoral candidates at IIT Jodhpur. This has enhanced the impact of the doctoral research outcome of the Institute.
Moreover, IIT Jodhpur extends all support to boost translational research in campus and implemented several major schemes in last one year. The Office of R&D provides a one-year fellowship to those doctoral candidates whose thesis work is aligned or projected towards translational output. This support is available even after submission of the thesis. The candidate has to present the plan and show the translational component in front of the duly constituted expert committee. This scheme has opened up a new avenue in the present research ecosystem of the Institute.
To meet today’s technological challenges and pave a path towards a significant boost in impactful research in campus, the Institute has created an interdisciplinary platform to offer doctoral degrees. Disruptive in nature, the platform is aimed to support the vision of creating ecosystem for competitive and cutting-edge research. IIT Jodhpur is one of the pioneering institutes in the country currently that offer interdisciplinary doctoral degrees in Digital Humanities, Space Science and Technology, Quantum Information and Computation, Robotics and Mobility Systems, Science of Intelligence, Smart Healthcare, and Internet of Things and Applications. These interdisciplinary doctoral programmes have emerged as multi-disciplinary initiative to solve a problem which requires an integrated approach through fusion of knowledge as well as expertise from multiple fields. These doctoral programmes offer exclusive opportunities to redraw conventional disciplinary boundaries among the basic sciences, engineering, and humanities and social science. Doctoral students opting for these programmes are contributing towards integrating disciplinary approaches of the respective domains with cross-disciplinary theorising and research. Hence, these interdisciplinary programmes have repositioned the doctoral programmes of the Institute and have given an edge.
With the unique philosophy adopted and accordingly policies/schemes implemented by the institute to reposition the doctoral programmes, as Associate Dean (Academics - Post Graduate Programmes), I strongly believe that the quality of doctoral research as well as the standard of candidates who will be eligible for PhD degree would be significantly enhanced in next couple of years. Moreover, research output in terms of publications and translations will increase manifolds.
Associate Dean (Academics – PG Programmes)
Department of Physics
The Smart Healthcare IDRP aspires to create significant scientific and technological advancements in the area of healthcare by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of scientists working in the interface of Biology, Chemistry, Healthcare & Engineering. The research is intended to focus on designing and developing sustainable solutions for point-of-care health devices, drug discovery, affordable diagnostics, biocompatible implants, and remote health care, including personalized telemedicine. The IDRP platform is expected to support the development of various eHealth- and mHealth-based solutions for improving the quality of healthcare and making it available to large segments of the society.
At IIT Jodhpur, multiple labs are working in various related domains in collaboration with several external organizations such as AIIMS Jodhpur, Defense Lab Jodhpur, ACTREC/TMH Mumbai, and IIT Bombay. These labs are appropriate candidates to grow as interdisciplinary labs and contribute in the following areas as follows:
The Post Graduate Programs in Medical Technologies, jointly offered by IIT Jodhpur and AIIMS Jodhpur, aim to foster innovation and produce a pool of Medical Technologists in the country who shall develop globally competitive Medical and Healthcare Technologies to address the current as well as emerging challenges of the future. These programs have been conceived and designed in a way to not only knit together the relevant key elements of Medical Science and Engineering Technology but also have desired emphasis on translational R&D, innovation, technology management and entrepreneurship aspects to realize deployable techniques, technologies, devices and systems in medical & healthcare domains.
The healthcare industry has observed an unprecedented surge of innovations in diagnostics and therapeutics enabling significant improvement in the quality of life and its expectancy. However, healthcare challenges have risen with an equal rate demanding innovations that can improve quality, improve access, increase efficiency, eliminate waste, and lower costs (Haughom, J (2014) Innovation in Healthcare: Why It’s Needed and Where It’s Going. Health Catalyst). Biology and Medical Sciences have begun experiencing Moore’s law due to accelerated growth in multi-omics including genomics, bio imaging, biosensors and bio-inspired robotics. These inherently interdisciplinary developments have enhanced the scope of improving health care facilities for:
The Medical Technologies Programs (Masters, Masters-PhD and PhD) proposed jointly by IITJ and AIIMS Jodhpur aim to provide a common platform for doctors and engineers fostering knowledge sharing and innovation, leading to development of indigenous healthcare devices and systems through the process of incubation and entrepreneurship. This inherently structured program has been designed to be open and to evolve to create a synergy between skill sets of technologists and medical practitioners. This will also create a unique collaborative platform that integrates technology and medicine to solve problems in human health and encourage entrepreneurship in healthcare technology. The program offers an equal number of seats to medical and engineering graduates and coursework offered jointly by IITJ and AIIMS Jodhpur. The course work is followed by hands-on immersive project work enabling extensive coherence and complementation amongst the team members to build futuristic devices, processes, products and/or protocols.
The nonlinear pace of progress technology today will almost certainly create a substantial market disruption in healthcare, spawning wave after wave of opportunities for traditional healthcare organizations, and new start-up companies alike. There is a need for professionals with multi-disciplinary background with training in entrepreneurship and business dynamics for meeting the challenges of future transformations of the healthcare technology. This cannot be done by only medical practitioners or engineers or management professionals. The program targets to generate manpower with multi-dimensional capability of creative thinking, deep knowledge and strong sense of business.
IIT Jodhpur has several advantages while venturing into management education. Competency on diverse technology disciplines, a most sought after UG programs around STEM, increasing faculty size, a vibrant research culture, a strong doctoral program – all with a globally respectable brand. IIT Jodhpur is venturing into management education with a proposition to inculcate all the above qualities via various programs – regular MBA, Tech-MBA, executive programs, leadership programs, international programs and doctoral program. These are being conceived under a new School of Management & Entrepreneurship. The school is going to offer several programs for aspiring entrepreneurs and guide them through incubation and further commercialization. It is positioned to feed the state of Rajasthan in designing policies, projects and capacity building. With such a clarity and focus, IITJ is comparable to MIT and Sloan School of Management within MIT premises which have co-existed for a long time and have been guiding the entire world via high quality research and also producing deserving business leaders. There is no similar example in India so far.
As we see business and industry around the world has been facing a challenging situation due to on-going havoc created by Covid-19, which is not only sudden but also unique. These are unlike situations where business continuity solutions are tested enough to respond quickly. The full impact of the COVID-19 situation is unfolding gradually every day. Given its uniqueness, many businesses were not fully prepared to handle the situation. For academic institutions, challenge lies into developing new content and format of programs that help organization deal with situation like these. Tech-MBA is the most relevant and possibly the best thought-out program to create technology leadership capability to ferry the organization out of this crisis. It is a rigorous journey of intense learning about the skills, technologies, applications and practices for the exploration and investigation of existing data assets to gain insight and not only drive business planning but ensure 'Business Continuity'.
Emerging Industry 4.0 organizations are about an ecosystem of real-time enterprises in its entirety. This depicts a scenario characterized by real time data flooded from multiple sources viz. banking, financial services, telecom, manufacturing and retail cutting across multiple functional areas. The nature of jobs will be dominantly around:
These jobs require professionals ready with skill to be able to leverage inputs from multiple cross-functional disciplines for implementation of advanced computational and mathematical models integrated with business rules from different functional areas of management. Technology leadership with emerging technologies (ICT Product, IoT, Big Data, Data science, Block chain, Cyber security & Real-time Business continuity) will never be possible with a conventional MBA. Developing professionals for these roles is one of the major premises that make Tech MBA highly relevant and yet different from conventional MBA. It is not only a novelty but also a need of the hour, and is going to be more pervasive than one can visualize, particularly in the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic triggered by Covid-19.
The Tech MBA reflects the growing demand for business leaders who can upskill and also be digital leaders where they apply their tech expertise within a business context. Tech MBA is still an MBA with a general management perspective, but a general management perspective for tech and tech-centric related companies. Tech-MBA focuses on digital finance, data analytics and AI, as well as digital transformation. It is a wholesome package created for students who are also going to study business strategy, in addition, they will be analyzing the corporate strategy of top tech companies, like Amazon, Google, and other tech-centric companies, such as start-ups which are considered digital masters. They will study economics but there’s going to be a strong emphasis on the digital economy. Operations are going to still focus on supply chain but with a focus on e-commerce companies. We are revolutionizing the way logistics and supply chain are managed and taught.
Admissions to this program was based on the CAT 2019 score, followed by a personal Interview. In the 3 months of rigorous process, we offered 319 candidates that yielded a batch of 76 brilliant participants. Diversity of this batch is going to be a key enabler in the learning process. More than 25% of the participants are female. The batch has PAN-India representation—we have participants from as far as Mizoram in North—east to Kerala in the Sothern part of India. Close to 2/3rd of the batch bring variety of professional experience to complement the classroom learning and enable a better theory-practice connect in the classroom.
The first batch was inaugurated on 27th July 2020 by the Director, IIT Jodhpur. The Chief Guest for the event was Mr. Ashwani Lohani (Former Chief of Air India and Indian Railways). The inauguration followed one week of enriching induction program designed to orient candidates to the various aspects that would be crucial for their next 2 years of rigorous program at SME, and further in their career.
Corporate Relations Centre (CRC) at School of Management and Entrepreneurship (SME), Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur is responsible for the development of collaboration with the business environment. The Centre aims to promote and facilitate larger IITJ-Industry Collaboration between business and Industry through strategic partnerships. We intend to help companies, academic staff and students on collaboration by providing right talent, sharing information on industry trends, best practices through management development programs (MDPs), live industry projects, and collaboration methods and models in research and learning.
An underlying theme of this program is to enhance perception of Corporates about existence and capability of SME MBA students. To achieve this, one will need to mobilize multiple levers, covering major facets of this perception enhancement initiative, and then convert it into a reality. Foremost, we need to focus on the value creation. Here, we highlight existing value levers, enhance certain components and meticulously create media opportunities highlighting this delta.
At SME, IIT Jodhpur (OR SMEJ), our priority is to ensure that relevance meets rigor across all functional areas. Students have many opportunities for engagement with industry and thought leaders throughout the year. These interactions will not be limited to internships and industry talks. In addition, we intend to organize and moderate leadership talk series, industry summits, and business conclaves in order to bring in experts, thinkers, policy makers, practitioners from all spheres of academic and industry across the globe.
With the available resources in the form of faculty talent, campus infrastructure, and access to state of the art technology, SME is equipped to offer short term and long term LT for top-level and mid-level managers. Also, the school envisions to roll-out Exed programmes to address the concerns of young managers in the organisations.
Decision-makers at the top and mid-management level face a distinctive set of leadership challenges daily. Their decisions may have everlasting implications on the organisation and its people. Therefore, decision-makers need to be well-informed about the newer developments in the ever-evolving business world. Business schools such as SME has a responsibility to respond to the corporate world at large with its cutting edge insights through more in-depth case studies and research analysis. Our LT (Leadership Training), OLeT (Online Leadership & executive Training), and Exed programmes provide the managers with tools and insights to think strategically.
When it comes to pedagogy of LT, OLeT, and Exed, academic may have to move beyond traditional lecture methods and adopt case and activity-based learning methods. Why the case study approach? One of the critical reasons is that case studies bring new field-based perspective on real managerial and entrepreneurial concerns. It not only provides with a manner in which a company or an entrepreneur handled a specific situation, but also offers a possible alternative that could have been adopted to solve the same problem. Moreover, the case approach eliminates a monotony in learning in a classroom. Instead, the case method makes learning a two-way process. Participants engage in an active learning mode by debating and discussing the case problem. Multiplicity in viewing a case problem may open up new avenues to solve similar business challenges in other industry segments.
One important aspect of preparing future Tech MBA is providing adequate international exposures so that they are ready to the lead to world going to be defined with a blurred geographical boundary. With this in consideration, SME has brought internationalization in three forms—Global immersion, Semester Exchange, Dual Degree, International Faculty, and Global Accreditation. All the participants are required to go for two weeks of mandatory global field visit at the end of first year as part of Global immersion program. The institute has forged collaboration with the several leading instituted abroad where the participants can go for one-semester exchange or purse entire second-year to a dual degree. A greater chunk of classes in the SME will be delivered in collaboration with the faculty from the leading global universities. Further, as earning the reputed global accreditation is one important way to be recognized on an international platform, right from the day 1, SME is committed to achieve the three most coveted B-School accreditations (AMBA, EQUIS, AACSB).
It is certain that organizations of the future would exist on the digital landscape. Real-time systems are going to surround most of our existence with real-time data enabling real-time decisions and actions. Today innovation is differentiating leading companies and will continue to do so – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft etc. An MBA graduate in such a dynamic business environment would require serving not only as a typical analyst but also as a strategist. Innovation management, Product management and Program management will be more dominant than the roles around business analysis which is, of course, overshadowing today. Taking a long-term view, Tech-MBA of IIT Jodhpur is visualised as an MBA for future organizations; an MBA best suited to tech companies where, apart from tech essentials, tech strategy related coverage will be significant. Therefore, a typical ‘Human Resources Management’ course is replaced by ‘Managing Human Capital’; ‘Leadership’ by ‘Technology Leadership’; and ‘Economy’ with ‘Digital Economy’. Few new courses may be ‘Working practices in the digital age’, ‘Digital platform innovation’, and ‘Digital transformation of government’-to name few.
There will be high international exposure i.e. teaching by international faculty, immersion & exchange programs, dual degree options and adopting experiential learning pedagogy. In global immersion, students will be required to spend a few weeks at a place oversees (School/Workplace abroad) for gaining additional exposure to the global workplace. Exchange Program will allow students to spend a semester at international B-Schools of repute. Opportunity to Earn a Dual and Joint Degree - there would be multiple options to the candidates - regular MBA, Tech-MBA, modular MBA, and International MBA (Joint Degree and Dual Degree) all of which would be aimed toward building socially responsible corporate leaders.
School of Management and Enterpreneurship
IIT Jodhpur as a second-generation IIT has initiated to set-up a state-of-the- art Animal House Facility in its campus and construction of animal house building is in full swing and expected to be completed in November 2020. This facility will help to successful validation of various projects related to healthcare technologies, medical implant, drug discovery and behavioral neuroscience.
Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked recessive muscular dystrophy affecting roughly 1 in 3500 boys, which is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene on the short arm of chromosome Xp21.2 committed to encode “Dystrophin” protein, the key connector between cytoskeleton of a muscle fiber to the surrounding extracellular matrix through cell membrane, causing gradual loss of muscle tissue and function which eventually leads to wheelchair dependency at approximately the age of 12 years, requirement for assisted ventilation at approximately the age of 20 years and eventually premature death. Currently, there is no cure for DMD, but improvements in integrative treatment can slow down the disease progression and thereby extend the life expectancy of DMD patients. Patients with DMD have different forms of mutations at varying positions of the protein, resulting in the production of functionally compromised dystrophin ORF. The hallmark of DMD is the lack of presence of cellular dystrophin, the cementing protein linking actin cytoskeleton to muscle cell membrane. However, the selective absence of dystrophin can be reversed by the overexpression of utrophin, a close homolog of dystrophin. Mutations in the gene causing a disruption of the open reading frame or introduction of a premature stop codon lead to a complete absence of a functional dystrophin protein.
One of the main strategies of the current research towards the treatment of DMD is to restore the expression and function of the dystrophin gene. Despite its severity in terms of systemic muscle impairment culminating into multi organ failure and death, this disease is so far neglected due to lack of proper theranostic tools for in-time diagnosis and treatment. This project aims to address major issues through development therapeutic leads and its formulation for the treatment of DMD patients. Recently, DST-SERB India has sanctioned grant for establishment of First Government of India Funded Centre on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in India at IIT Jodhpur. This project will be implemented in collaboration with AIIMS Jodhpur and DART Bangalore. Further, IIT Jodhpur has planned a future roadmap for the supporting of DMD patients from state of Rajasthan as well as other parts of country.
As the coronavirus outbreak becomes more and more vicious with every approaching day, the novel coronavirus disease better known as COVID-19 keeps puzzling the scientists with newer riddles to crack. Several reports now emerging from various European countries, Korea, China, and Iran that many COVID-19 patients are observed to exhibit anosmia (loss of smell) and ageusia (loss of taste) indicate that these could be potential hallmark symptoms in early diagnosis of the disease. This piece of information may actually be a grave cause of concern as this indicates that SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) may actually be exhibiting the potential of infecting the brain and the nervous system contrary to the conventional belief that it only infects the pulmonary system and causes lung failure. In this paper, Professor Ghosh and his team have discussed the neurological manifestations of the COVID-19 virus and the probable therapeutic strategies that could be adopted to combat it.
The paper also highlights the geographical topology of the pandemic with a special focus on our country. SARS-CoV-2 is known to interact with a specific human receptor known as hACE2 (human angiotensin-converting enzyme-2) which also happens to be the entry point of the virus. Now, the neuroinvasive nature of the virus can be predicted very well from the fact that this receptor has an almost ubiquitous presence in most human organs ranging from lung parenchyma to nasal mucosa. The brain is also known to express this receptor. The reason for the loss of smell or taste may be attributed to the fact that nose and mouth both are very important entry points of the virus, which then may be slowly making its way to the olfactory bulb using the neurons of the olfactory mucosa. The olfactory bulb located in the forebrain is the structure that is chiefly responsible for olfaction or the sense of smell. This explains the loss of smell associated with many asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 but what is more worrisome here is the fact that it makes the entire central nervous system (CNS) or the underlying structures in the brain more prone to viral infection, possibly with devastating effects.
The paper recounts a recently conducted study on the brain scans (CT and MRI) of a patient infected by COVID-19 virus that shows a rare encephalopathy called ANE which leads to brain dysfunction with seizures and mental disorientation. This kind of study indicates that in the presence of human ACE2 receptors in CNS, the brain may be infected by the virus not only through the olfactory bulbs but also through any other peripheral nerve terminals or simply through blood circulation and may breach the blood-brain barrier to innervate and attack the CNS. In that case, the results may be horrific as it may completely destroy medulla oblongata of the hindbrain. The medulla oblongata or simply medulla is an extremely important structure of the brain stem as it is the main center that controls blood circulation and breathing in humans. Hence, if medulla gets affected by the virus, it affects the patient in the worst way possible leading to either death or coma.
Currently, to say the least, we are mostly in oblivion about the neurological aspects of COVID-19 which may not be a good thing for the future. Looking at the increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients globally every day, we must start to scrupulously investigate the effects of the virus on the CNS starting with maybe performing more brain autopsies of COVID-19 infected patients and analysis of their cerebrospinal fluid.
The above factors discussed also put patients with pre-existing mental disorders like Parkinson’s disease in a more tight space as these are the people that could now turn out to be worst affected by the pandemic if not carefully monitored. The paper also rings warning bells to the asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 with anosmia or ageusia to self-quarantine themselves as soon as they feel they lack taste or smell, otherwise, they might well turn into carriers of the disease spreading it further. Along with these, those with ageusia or anosmia and testing positive for COVID-19 must consult specialized neurologists as they may be at a greater danger of CNS infection.
The paper along with this also focuses attention on the likeliness of smoking to increase the chances of contracting COVID-19 infection, which may be attributed to the interactions and co-expression of the hACE2 receptor and the nicotinic receptor which is stimulated on smoking. Though more studies are needed on this part, smokers for the time being need to more careful and possibly cut down on their daily number of cigarettes to a bare minimum.
One of the major areas of the paper focuses on the various therapeutic agents that could act as our shields protecting us and boost our immunity in this war against the novel coronavirus. The paper reflects upon several such agents ranging from the peptide-based therapeutics which will curb the interaction between the viral protein and the human receptor to the strategic design of small molecule inhibitors designed against the viral spike protein that interacts with the ACE2. It also takes into account the development of subunit vaccines from the purified virus along with antibody-based drugs.
The paper also touches upon another interesting topic of discussion doing the rounds regarding the endemic response of the people to COVID-19 infection. Well, there is no proof in scientific literature yet to conclusively claim that we have a certain genetic advantage over the Europeans and Americans to COVID-19 infections but some recent computational and sequence analysis does indicate why we might be slightly more genetically blessed to combat the novel coronavirus as a unique anti-viral microRNA unique to only Indian sub-population has been reported in one such study. To say the least, even though such genetic disposition may give us an advantage in these tough testing times we must not breach the rules imposed by our government as only social distancing is the key at this moment to keep the virus at bay. We hope the paper touches upon several key features pertinent to the disease and it does help in raising scientific and public awareness against COVID-19 pandemic. This paper has been highlighted by major media houses in India since its publication on 22nd April 2020, with article 10859 views, an Altmetric Score 53 and 13 Citations. Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has posted this work in their website and recently Loss of Smell and Taste Inducted as COVID19 symptom by ICMR India.
IIT Jodhpur provides unique opportunities for students during the curriculum by offering a flexible program structure with the right balance of knowledge and hands-on experiences. One of the unique features of the program is to have emphasized design thinking and creativity in education, which enables students in product realization during the curriculum itself. The undergraduate students having interests in such activities are offered a unique option to pursue Engineering Innovation specialization during the final semester of studies. Final year B.Tech. (ME) students of 2016 batch, Parth Joshi and Poojan Gajjar opted for the specialization and worked on the Development of Electro-mechanical Muscle Fatigue Measurement Device during their studies. This multi-disciplinary work involved interfacing with Medical Science, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering. Dr. Kaushal A Desai, IIT Jodhpur, and Dr. Prathamesh Kamble, AIIMS Nagpur, mentored the work.
The project aimed at the development of a novel muscle fatigue measurement device that aims at replacing a conventional tool, namely Mosso’s Ergograph, used in laboratories. The work aimed at developing a compact electro-mechanical device serving the same purpose with additional features and advantages such as compact size, electronic output, versatility, portability, etc. The work developed an indigenous and ergonomic mechanical structure with Electro-myography (EMG) sensor as a new-generation device. The work has been chosen for the SITARE and SRISTI Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) awards 2020. The awards are given each year by Honey Bee Network and Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) to innovative ideas having a significant amount of novelty and social applications. The awards also incentivize students to pursue entrepreneurial ventures wherever possible and also motivate them to develop solutions for unmet social needs.
A telemedicine system allows clinicians to remotely interact with patients and other doctors. A specialist can provide consultancy via video conferencing services integrated with electronic healthcare records management. It allows us to handle non-emergency cases immediately at the ease of doctors and patients. An AI-powered telemedicine system can bring a paradigm shift in currently known methods and benefits of telemedicine. Today’s AI is majorly data driven and employs powerful machine learning (ML) tools to handle as well as process large volumes of data (big data). Continuously evolving ML algorithms and increasing computational power have made real-time data analysis possible. Big data is going to be an important attribute of the proposed telemedicine system. It would include radiological data such as CT and X-ray images, digitized pathological, clinical, and occupational data etc. AI algorithms will be used to extract relevant information from these datasets to build diagnosis and prognosis models and assist the doctors who would be remotely interacting with patients. This project aims towards (i) tailored made solution for providing telehealth solutions based on existing solutions for screening of covid19 suspects, (ii) Deployment of multiple kiosk at covid19 hotspot areas, (iii) AI-based model development and enhancement for sensor data analytics for covid19 screening.
Recently published research in ACS Chemical Neuroscience from IIT Jodhpur shows that COVID 19 has significant neurological impact such as patient loss smell and taste. These two symptoms are now inducted by ICMR as symptoms of COVID 19. Now the question is if we can measure somehow the loss of smell and taste in a gradient manner or quantitative manner, it would be extremely useful to detect asymptomatic patients. Towards this vision we are working on (i) Development of an AI based platform trained on previous data sets with a definite set of parameters to correctly aid in early diagnosis of COVID-19 and predict their likely course of treatment, so basically we are talking about the development of an artificial intelligence software that triages COVID-19 suspects based on defined parameters of loss of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia), (ii) Development of AI-based platform to trawl through all the current literature relating to the disease and study the host receptors and structure of the virus to identify the COVID-19 hotspots to trace suitable drug candidates.
An accurate estimate of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection progression is necessary for optimized treatment and morbidity reduction. We aim at the prognosis of COVID-19 infection based on the longitudinal studies on multimodal data including X-Ray images, X-Ray reports, CT scans, clinical data such as body temperature, and treatment given to the patients. Our main goal is to predict the severity of infection in lungs due to COVID-19 for subsequent days given the data for current days, primarily to augment the decisions of physicians. We will also consider the effect of the presence of comorbidities on COVID-19 prognosis and the impact of COVID-19 on comorbities and co-existing diseases. This project proposes to build an artificial intelligence (AI) driven hybrid model using a combination of advanced deep learning methods and belief networks. Deep learning has shown success in accurate diagnosis of many diseases such as pneumonia and also in developing prognostic biomarkers for diseases such as colorectal cancer. Very recently, studies have been reported to demonstrate effectiveness of AI tools in COVID-19 diagnosis, however, to the best of our knowledge no work has been reported to build an AI driven prognosis model of COVID-19. The first step towards building such a model is to predict the level of severity of infection. Given a multimodal dataset, we train a deep encoder- decoder neural network for level of infection prediction. The proposed network generates a compressed representation of the input data which is fed into another branch of the network (classifier) to predict the infection level. Further, using the compressed representations of the data of previous days, we train a Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) based sequence to sequence prediction network to obtain the representations of subsequent days. This would allow us to use the classifier for future infection level prediction using the compressed representations predicted by the LSTM model without requiring the actual data. Accordingly, we can estimate the progression of COVID-19 infection. As of now the data for COVID-19 is limited, however continuously growing. We will first use the available data for viral pneumonia to develop the proposed deep learning model and subsequently fine tune it for COVID- 19, which has symptoms similar to viral pneumonia. Thus, the proposed framework would be an extendable framework which can be used for other diseases in the future. Further, to take into account the co-existing diseases and estimate the severity level in presence of comorbidities, we will incorporate the prediction of the deep neural network based classifier in a Bayesian framework. We will also extend the approach to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 infection on existing comorbidities. Bayesian framework is adopted considering that the availability of a large amount of data for comorbidity analysis is unlikely. Accordingly, we will make use of articles reporting case studies on patients with comorbidities.
In the current situation, it is crucial to increase the number of individuals getting tested so that appropriate measures can be taken. The traditional way of COVID testing is a time taking process with the confirmed results taking more than a day. Due to the mismatch in the availability of kits and the number of individuals to be tested, it is essential to find additional accurate ways of testing and screening. This project aims to address the problem of COVID-19 detection using cues present in frontal chest X-ray images. Chest X-ray contains vital information such as the presence of opacities, mismatch in lung ratios, and cues from bronchi. While these details are prominent, we currently have limited samples to train the deep learning model. This project aims to build efficient machine learning models that not only predict whether the chest X-Ray has symptoms of COVID-19 or not, but it also presents the regions and characteristics based on which the model has given a particular prediction. Since a limited number of samples are available for training the models, the project will involve designing efficient machine learning algorithms that perform segmentation and classification with a smaller number of training samples.
With an increasing number of COVID-19 cases globally, all the countries are ramping up the testing numbers. While the RT-PCR kits are available in sufficient quantities in several countries, some are facing the challenges with limited availability of testing kits and processing centers in remote areas. This has motivated researchers to find alternate methods of testing which are reliable, easily accessible and faster. Chest X-Ray and CT images are some of the modalities that are gaining acceptance as an alternate screening modality. AI and ML based systems which automatically screen the suspected COVID-19 patients from X-Ray and CT images play a critical role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus due to no direct contact between the suspect and doctor during the assessment process. Towards this direction, our research has two primary contributions. We present a COVID-19 Multi-Task Network (CMTNet) which is an automated end-to-end network for COVID-19 screening. The proposed CMTNet performs both classification and segmentation of the lung and disease regions for X-Ray screening of the COVID-10 suspects. The CMTNet further predicts if lungs are affected with COVID-19 or Non-COVID-19 disorders and differentiate them from healthy lungs to further enhance the screening process. Inclusion of simultaneous disease segmentation in the CMTNet helps in making the decisions explainable. This enables the doctors to analyze the automatic screening decisions in more detail and take the appropriate decision quickly. It is observed that the proposed CMTNet achieves a sensitivity of 87.20% at 99% specificity, with an overall test classification accuracy of 98.79%. The proposed CMTNet achieves the highest TPR and lowest EER compared to existing algorithms.
We further address the problem by predicting the level of severity of infection in the lungs by using the longitudinal-multimodal medical data for the subsequent days, for monitoring the progression of the infection, optimized treatment, prediction of the ventilator support, and morbidity reduction. Therefore, our main goal is to predict the severity of the infection in lungs due to COVID-19 for subsequent days given the data for current and past days. To predict the level of severity of the infection, we train a deep auto encoder-decoder neural network for learning a lower dimensional representation of the multimodal data (X-Ray and CT images and Clinical Measurements) of a patient. The proposed network generates a compressed representation of the input data which is fed into another branch of the network (classifier) to predict the infection levels. Then, by using the compressed representations of the data of previous days, we train a Long Short Term Memory (LSTM) based sequence to sequence the prediction network to obtain the representations of subsequent days. This allows us to predict the severity of infection in the lungs for subsequent days given the data for current days. We achieve an accuracy of 79% for classifying the severity of lung infection into four categories: Normal, Ground Glass Opacities, Consolidation, and Pleural Effusion.
The design of a face shield to protect health workers from Covid-19 was conceived by the Automated Manufacturing research group at IIT Jodhpur using Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools. The designers printed a few prototypes in the initial stage to examine the effectiveness of usage, ergonomic comfort, feasibility of indexing, ease of manufacturing and assembly etc. The discussion level prototypes were printed using the FDM 3-D printing facility at the institute. Based on multiple brainstorming sessions, the designers arrived at the final version shown in Figure 1. Subsequently, 50 such prototypes were fabricated using the 3-D printing facility within a span of 3 days. The prototype design consists of three major parts; an indigenously designed fixture (Fig.1); transparent plastic sheet (typical thickness in the range of 0.3-0.5mm, Figure 2); an adjustable band to fix the face shield on the forehead ex. velcro, elastic band etc. These prototypes were supplied to Jodhpur district COVID-19 administration for user feedback and assessment. An important point to note is that the fixture is reusable with replaceable transparent plastic sheets easily available in the market.
As face shields were required in huge quantities by the district administration in a short span of time, 3-D printing was not a time efficient option for mass production. The group explored the injection molding process (available with most plastic manufacturers across the country) as a commercially viable option. The group worked jointly with M/s. Iscon Surgicals Ltd., Jodhpur, one of the leading surgical equipment manufacturing industry under Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation Cluster initiative of Government of India to transform this prototype to a commercially viable solution. The group actively participated in the development of the injection molding dies and necessary tooling for the product. The dies were machined using high speed CNC machining and CAM solution. Upon transfer of technology to the collaborating industry during the first week of April 2020, the necessary tooling was developed. The final product with necessary accessories and packaging was developed by end of April, 2020 and it was launched in the market.
Taking cognizance of paucity of alcohol-based hand sanitizers in the market due to the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, our team consisting of faculty, Ph.D. Students, technical staff members and the deputy librarian, in consultation with the Institute’s Medical Services Committee, took up the responsibility of in-house preparation of alcohol-based hand sanitizer for the campus community. The components used for preparing this hand-sanitizer are Isopropanol, Aloe Vera extract, Glycerine, Hydrogen Peroxide, Distilled water and Fragrance.
This work was started in the month of March 2020 and the first phase of distribution took place on 21 March 2020. The preparation is being continued and is supplied to all Offices and Departments on a regular basis. Besides this, Covid-19 related hygiene awareness posters were also prepared by this team and posted at various places in the campus. The team has also prepared Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), in consultation with various stakeholder groups for planning and executing the operations of various entrances, Offices and Student arrival on campus.
There is a growing need for antiviral and antibacterial painting in hospitals and public areas for effective prevention of the spread of infection. To meet this growing demand, nanotechnology has been explored by different research groups and industries. Silver nanoparticles embedded paint was demonstrated as biocidal coatings for decontamination of surfaces in hospitals. HeiQ (A Swiss Technology firm) has developed vesicle and silver based coating technology for reducing virus infections including human coronavirus in year 2020 during the outbreak of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2). Another promising approach in this regard could be the use of reactive oxygen species (ROS) producing nanoparticles. It has been demonstrated that carbon quantum dots (CQDs) exhibit antiviral activity to human norovirus virus-like-particles by generating ROS. This project aims to develop metal ion-decorated carbon quantum dots (M-CQDs) based antiviral paint. Upon light activation (preferably room light), M-CQD will produce highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) on the surface of the walls. That ROS will damage the viral proteins leading to the effective disinfection/decontamination of walls/surfaces. Presence of selective metal ions in M-CQDs will enhance the trapping of the virus particle on the wall and will facilitate the virus damage/ degradation by bringing the virus to the close proximity of the ROS source. The advantages of using M-CQDs are (i) its superior light absorbing capabilities; and (ii) highly resistant to photodegradation/photobleaching, so that it can produce ROS over a significant period of time.
The increased number of Covid-19 patients in the various parts of the country poses challenges for medical professionals related to focussed health monitoring and care for critical cases. IIT Jodhpur, AIIMS Nagpur, and IIIT Nagpur have indigenously designed and developed a useful prototype for active tracking and monitoring of COVID positive and suspect patients. The device is in the form of a smart wristband designed to overcome the limitations of existing mobile-based applications used for tracking and monitoring. The existing solutions depend on the continuous use of mobile phones by COVID-suspects/patients and the availability of stable internet connection. The mobile applications can track the movement of an individual but cannot monitor specific symptoms as it is performed based on subjective self-assessment of the user. The smart wristband, named as COVID-19 tracker by the team, can provide objective and reliable data of vital parameters such as temperature, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation so that the quarantined person will get a health alarm seeking early medical help. The device can also provide mobile-free operation using a geofencing technology, which will be able to provide a real-time alert on any breach in the quarantine zone. In addition to concept development, indigenous structure and body parts of the device were designed by the Automated Manufacturing research group at IIT Jodhpur, considering ergonomic factors, the effectiveness of application, compactness, tamper-proof design, etc. AIIMS Nagpur validated the device for its specificity and effectiveness. The team is currently augmenting a full-scale prototype with additional features and in discussion with industrial collaborators for the development of the device for mass-scale deployment. The RAKSHAK scheme launched DST, Govt. of India is supporting this joint research work of three institutes.
Overall, IIT Jodhpur has worked as a team in these unprecedented times using cutting edge research and technology to offer various solutions to deal with COVID 19.
With the limitation of classical mechanics to explain phenomena such as black-body radiation, photoelectric effect, emission spectra of atoms, and structure of atoms- the first three decades of twentieth century witnessed a period of turmoil, excitement, and creative intellect to accept the need to replace the existing theories and to introduce a new theory for a complete mathematical description of the physical world. Subsequently, Erwin Schrödinger and Werner Heisenberg proposed a mathematical framework of the new quantum theory independently using wave mechanics and matrix mechanics, respectively. Since then, Quantum Mechanics has emerged as a fundamental ingredient for understanding various facets of nature such as atomic and sub-atomic physics, quantum optics and a plethora of phenomena in condensed matter physics. Modern developments in computing could be said to have started from the work of Alan Turing, while information theory was put on the pedestal of modern science by the efforts of Claude Shannon. The amalgamation of quantum physics with computing and information theory could be historically traced from the works of Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR), followed by that of John Bell and culminating in efforts made by Charles Bennett. This was further cemented by the efforts of William Wootters. The EPR paradox paved the way for several open-ended discussions, studies and debates to understand and analyse quantum correlations, described by quantum mechanics as against the description provided by local hidden variable (LHV) theories. Experimental developments over the last few decades have brought the subject of quantum information and computation to the threshold of technology development.
The advent of quantum information and computation promises an effective and secure mechanism of storing, manipulating, and transmitting information based on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics. Similar to a bit- a fundamental unit of classical computation- A qubit is the fundamental unit of quantum computation. Unlike a bit which can exist only in one of the two possible states 0 or 1, a qubit can exist in an arbitrary linear superposition of 0 and 1, |y>=a|0>+b|1> the state of a qubit can be represented as where are complex numbers in a two-dimensional complex vector space, |y> is a mathematical description of the state of a qubit, and | > signifies a ‘Ket vector’ representing a quantum state. The physical realization of a qubit can be understood in terms of an electron, a photon, an atom or a very cold superconducting circuit. For two or more than two qubits superposition principle, in specific cases, leads to entangled quantum systems- Cynosure of most of the phenomena in quantum information and computation. Apart from addressing and satisfying the quest to understand the foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum entanglement has also been extensively used as an effective resource for several potential applications such as dense coding, teleportation, secret sharing, quantum algorithms, quantum key distribution and quantum cryptography, quantum games, quantum communication etc. In the last three decades, the existence of long-range quantum correlations between entangled particles has been established as a factor responsible for achieving efficient, secure and optimal communication in comparison to its classical counterpart. In fact, recent studies have shown that separable systems exhibiting quantum correlations- as captured by a measure known as quantum discord- can also be used for efficient quantum information and computation. In a nutshell, nonlocal or quantum correlations existing between particles give an edge to quantum computation over classical computation.
On the implementation front, a quantum computer is required to deal with quantum complexity and quantum error correction from the perspective of scalability. With the increase in the number of qubits; controlling, processing, and accessing quantum information becomes much more intricate due to the uncontrollable interactions of the original quantum system with its surroundings- the characteristic trait of complexity. Unfortunately quantum error correction involves huge expense in terms of number of qubits and quantum gates, thus scalability is a major issue to be addressed before one can have a fault tolerant quantum computer. Clearly, there are many tech giants working to address technological challenges in addition to academicians analysing the theoretical and experimental challenges up front. Some of the top companies and research labs include IBM, Google, Microsoft, D-Wave, Intel, Regetti, Hewlett Packard, Ion Q, Cambridge quantum computing and Quantum Biosystems, to name a few. IBM has provided an online platform to experience prototypes of quantum computers and to contribute to the State-of-the-Art. Google has recently announced what they termed as Quantum Supremacy, only to be rejected by IBM a couple of days later. The D-wave company introduced a 2000-qubit quantum computer based on quantum annealing. The D-wave machine, however, is not a circuit based machine but a noisy version of an adiabatic quantum computer. Nevertheless, there is progress and there is a way forward!
The interdisciplinary research group in Quantum Information and Computation (QIC) at IIT Jodhpur works towards establishing a convergence between diverse academic spaces. In this interdisciplinary joint collaboration, we study quantum correlations in non-classical states from the perspective of a practical interface between quantum optics and quantum information processing. Such correlations occupy a central position in the quest for understanding and harvesting the power of quantum computing and fundamentals of quantum information processing. Another problem of particular interest is to analyse and characterize multi-qubit entangled states for establishing shared communication networks among multiple users. In order to deal with issues of decoherence, the group makes systematic use of open quantum systems to study various facets of quantum information and computation, including the analysis of efficacies of quantum resources.
The Faculty Members in the group are involved in Government of India-funded projects on Quantum Information and Computation of approximately Rs. 3.45 crore ranging from classification and quantification of multi-qubit entangled states to generation of multi-qubit entangled states to heat engines. Further, the group routinely organizes workshops and conferences to enable conversations and collaborations. The QIC group also organizes Faculty development programs for knowledge dissemination. At present, Atul Kumar, Department of Chemistry; Subhashish Banerjee and V. Narayanan, Department of Physics; Kirankumar Hiremath and Vivek Vijay, Department of Mathematics; Suman Kundu and Debasis Das, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Mahesh Kumar and Harshit Agrawal, Department of Electrical Engineering; and B. Ravindra, Department of Mechanical Engineering are actively contributing towards development of the Interdisciplinary Research Platform- QIC at IIT Jodhpur.
From the perspective of academic programs, the group offers a Ph.D. program in Quantum Information and Computation to interested students. Further, the group has also proposed a specialization in QIC to B.Tech. students which will allow them to complete a minimum of 20 credits through compulsory and elective courses. The courses will be integrated with online quantum experience platforms so that students can learn as well as contribute to the state of the art.
Quantum Information and Computation offers potential applications that are otherwise not possible using classical computation. Although a fault tolerant scalable quantum computer is considered as a distant dream, once implemented, it promises exciting possibilities in security, computing, finance, drug and material, and computational chemistry. One may consider teleportation between ground and space, establishment of mobile quantum satellite station for quantum key distribution, dealing with quantum devices in noisy intermediate-scale quantum (NISQ) era, developments in post quantum cryptography period, estimation of ground-state energy of hydrogen molecule, Lithium and Beryllium Hydride and simulating water molecule using variational quantum eigensolver (VQE) coupled with classical optimization algorithm to evaluate its ground state as small steps towards future. Definitely, the accuracy of calculations depends on adding and handling more quantum resources with algorithms running for a longer time. Nonetheless, the classical and quantum machines will definitely co-exist in future with users maximizing the technologies at both ends to the best of their abilities and advantages.Let’s dive into the new computing paradigm where the complexities involved will, in fact, make our life simple!
Dr. Rakesh Sharma
Dr. C. Venkatesan
Solar thermal systems have always held a cornerstone position in renewable energy applications and the share in market potential. The photovoltaic (PV) route to tap solar energy is fraught with heavy metal pollution which impacts the solar panel life and efficiency for process heating/cooling applications. Solar thermal technologies, on the contrary, are environment friendly and efficient for a wide range of applications. In order to overcome the barriers in the commercialization of solar energy based technologies, IIT Jodhpur focuses on cutting-edge research on solar thermal systems. The research encompasses not only improving the efficiency of solar thermal systems, both standalone and integrated, but also to train engineers in this field for future advancements.
An interdisciplinary team of faculty members and research scholars are working on variety of solar thermal systems and technologies including Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) systems - the parabolic dish concentrator, solar PV panels, central receiver, thermal energy storage, solar dryer, solar cooker to name a few.
IIT Jodhpur has set up a startup ecosystem, which essentially reflects freedom to encourage innovative ideas, R&D intensity, industry interaction, IP regime and protection, incentives for faculty/students to ideate/innovate, institutional setup to handhold entrepreneurs, have startup policies, equities and investments, networks with other incubators, investors, angels and entrepreneurs. The ecosystem aims to have startup policies, equities and investments, networks with other incubators, investors, angels and entrepreneurs. IIT Jodhpur Innovation Complex was inaugurated on the occasion of the Institute Foundation Day on the 2nd August, 2019. As a part of the complex, IIT Jodhpur has setup the Technology Innovation and Startup Center (TISC) as a Section 8 Company incorporated on 3rd July, 2019 under the Companies Act, 2013. The TISC focus is on the Deep Tech to promote startups and programmes founded on a scientific discovery or a meaningful engineering innovation to solve critical real-world issues through transformative technologies. TISC aims to nucleate new age ventures around the focal theme “Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)”, unique in the country, which is expected to impact all sectors of economy. Deep Tech domains of TISC interests include: New materials and material intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare, including Precision Medicine & Multi-omics, Cyber-security, Digital economy, Robotics, Advanced Communications, Quantum Computing, etc. Possible fields for Deep Tech applications include: Agriculture, Food (including processing, analytics and computing), Life sciences, Aerospace, Energy, Defence, etc. TISC also nurtures incubation projects supported by Ministry of MSME and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, and has now embarked on establishing the BioNest Bioincubator besides administering a number of entrepreneurship-related activities encompassing a multitude of programmes/stakeholders in the neighbourhood.
To this end, the following opportunities have been built for entrepreneurship at the Institute.
IITJ has developed a programme with an aim to gain insights not available from traditional engineering education, such as, understanding and designing for end users, working in and managing interdisciplinary teams, communicating effectively, thinking critically, understanding business basics, and solving open-ended problems. Students may opt for Entrepreneurship as a part of the curriculum from the beginning of the 8th Semester. A student would be required to complete a minimum of six months for Minor in Entrepreneurship, and would earn 20 credits on successful completion of a minimum of six months of Entrepreneurship. The students would be exempted from the requirement of 10 open elective credits in lieu of credits earned against Entrepreneurship. However, the remaining coursework is required to be completed by taking extra credits in the earlier semesters or can be completed after completion of Entrepreneurship. A student should have earned minimum required credits with at least 6 CGPA at the end of 7th semester to opt for dual-degree M. Tech. Programme.
IIT Jodhpur has created the first technology-based School of Management and Entrepreneurship in the state of Rajasthan and its key focus is tutoring for the startups on key managerial and entrepreneurship skills.
IIT Jodhpur has come up with centre for advanced scientific equipment (CASE) and faculties are involved in different product development and consultancies. IITJ is also providing additional facilities and services in the following:
Laboratory facilities of applied sciences with high-end scientific equipment and characterization tools are also available. The startups can use the facilities of the Institute on payment basis as per the guidelines revised from time to time.
IIT Jodhpur has come up with the new Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy of the Institute, which provides a transparent operative framework for the management of IPR resulting from the creative work, in the Institute, and of its employees, students, researchers, persons associated with the Institute in diverse capacities with short-, medium- and long-term links with the Institute, collaborations with other institutions including industries & varied governmental / non-governmental agencies, and their likes. This policy also has a special mention about the Institute startup linkage and similarly incentive for students and faculties.
IITJ has started a Technology Innovation and Startup Center (TISC) and is also setting up a Technology Park in its campus to nucleate a cluster of new-age ventures. The focal theme for both TISC and Technology Park is AI0T. At present, TISC is operational in an area of around 5000 sq. ft. with its infrastructure planned in around a 21,000 sq. ft. at IIT Jodhpur, which would be operational within this financial year. It would provide office infrastructure to the incubatees with other business support amenities like videoconferencing facilities, meeting spaces and other utilities. The incubatees will have access to the laboratory facilities, faculty and managerial expertise, library & interns available at the Institute. A strong industry linkage available with the Institute will help incubatees obtain dedicated domain-specific mentorship and networking with potential business partners and customers. Apart from these, this incubation unit will provide trainings, connect with investors, intellectual property protection support, and feedback/suggestions for progress in terms of product development, testing and customer engagement.
EoI for Startups/Incubates at Technology Innovation and Startup Center (TISC), Indian Institute of Technology JodhpurExpression of Interest (EoI) is invited from the budding entrepreneurs to apply to the Technology Innovation & Startup Center (TISC) at IITJ for physical incubation. We aim to focus on incubation support to innovative startups. We are open to exploring ideas in all fields of Science & Technology and will be happy to evaluate the business plan. This is a rolling advertisement and applications are welcomed throughout the year. All received applications will be screened periodically. Visit Advertisement
Already incubating at TISC
Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation ClusterIIT Jodhpur leads one of the clusters from six cities — Jodhpur, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad — chosen to be developed as City Knowledge and Innovation Clusters. The project is led by the office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA), Govt. of India. This cluster will provide a connect between the existing research and knowledge setups at the nearby institutions and various industries that exist in the city Jodhpur in particular and Rajasthan state in general. Accordingly, to support medical based technology startups/companies, IIT Jodhpur in association with AIIMS, Jaipur and other nearby institution and industries are already working together to strengthen the prominent medical-technology based industries in the region.
Sirohi Model Pilot ProjectIIT Jodhpur is leading and developing a unique model for exponential growth of Aspirational Districts, using latest and appropriate technologies as well as process management interventions (Partners: IIT Jodhpur, CSIR-IGIB New Delhi, CSIR-CEERI Pilani, AIIMS Jodhpur, DMRC Jodhpur, ICAR-CAZRI Jodhpur, ICAR-ATARI Jodhpur & Agriculture University, Jodhpur)
Technology Innovation Hub (TIH)
For further details related to TISC, its vision, mission, application form, eligibility and selection criteria of incubates, entry guidelines, exit guidelines, services offered at the incubation unit, etc., please visit our website and check out the rolling advertisement in the Announcement section.
Associate Professor, Department of Physics
Rural Rajasthan is largely disadvantaged in terms of access to healthcare, energy, clean water for drinking and agriculture. The Government of India and the State Government therefore recognized five districts in the state as aspirational districts. In such districts, the central and state Governments actively promote the convergence of central and state schemes, collaboration among the citizens and functionaries of the Governments, competition in the form of third party validation and community involvement to improve the development of these districts. Specifically, emphasis is on increase in indices for health & nutrition, education agriculture, water resources, financial inclusion, skill development and development of basic infrastructure. IIT Jodhpur, an institute of national importance plays an unequivocal role in helping the central and state Governments to achieve this goal by providing technological solutions. IIT Jodhpur has adopted the aspirational district of Sirohi in Rajasthan, while it also continues to extend technological solutions to other rural areas in Rajasthan.
Sirohi is a uniquely disadvantaged district, which bears the additional burden of silicosis and associated comorbidities along with the usual challenges faced by a district in rural Rajasthan. Silicosis is an occupational disease resulting from the continuous inhalation of silica dust and is associated with severe comorbidities such as tuberculosis, cancer, ischemic heart disease, bronchitis and infections caused by bacteria and fungi. This disease is highly prevalent in Rajasthan owing to sandstone mining activities that are prevalent across the state. This is alarming as the mortality associated with silicosis is high leading to a higher number of years of life lost. In order to help address this unique problem, IIT Jodhpur, along with institutes like CSIR-IGIB, New Delhi, CSIR-CEERI, Pilani, AIIMS Jodhpur, Desert Medical Research Centre (DMRC) - Jodhpur, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Rajasthan Ayurvedic University - Jodhpur, Centre for Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) - Jodhpur and Agriculture University at Mandore - Jodhpur, is jointly providing technological solutions not only to tackle silicosis, but also for the overall development of Sirohi. Specifically, solutions have been developed in the areas of accessible healthcare, clean energy, clean drinking water and alternative agriculture strategies.
As a preventive measure to reduce the incidence of silicosis, stone-dust precipitator systems have been developed to capture and precipitate the stone dust before inhalation by artisans. Dr. Ram Prakash, then project leader at CSIR-CEERI, currently Associate Professor, Department of Physics, IIT Jodhpur, led the development efforts. This system collects dust particles with its high suction power, which is about 10 times more than the inhaling power of human beings. Based on vacuum technology, the system filters the captured dust particles using a water spray and produces dust sludge, which can be used to make sculptures and blue pottery items. In December 2019, three such systems were installed at M/s Divine Stone Enterprise, Sirohi, in the presence of Shri Surendra Kumar Solanki, IAS, District Collector of Sirohi, and Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Chief Medical Officer, Sirohi. The developed system provides a dust free environment to the workers and can also be fitted in smaller factories.
Although the developed precipitator systems may help in the prevention of silicosis, early diagnosis of the disease and comorbidities is important for those afflicted by silicosis. In this context, an artificial intelligence platform for detection of silicosis and tuberculosis from chest radiographs is being developed. A cloud based portal for upload of digital X-ray data is being developed. Analysis of the comprehensive dataset using the artificial intelligence system is likely to develop a scoring metric, which will be helpful in predicting the long-term clinical outcomes of patients.
In addition to this initiative, an artificial intelligence based framework to predict patient outcome to treatment based on a tumour spheroid derived from patient biopsy is also being developed.
Patients with silicosis have restricted lung function due to consolidation of the lung tissue. This results in decreased respiratory capacity in these patients. Current modes of testing lung function in humans employ the spirometry based evaluation of lung capacity that requires active and forced breathing into the spirometer. This is often a problem with the reduced capacity of silicosis and TB patients. Oscillometry based forced air devices are better suited for this scenario as this does not require intensive breathing by the patients for measurement of the lung capacity. CSIR- IGIB has been instrumental in the development of such an oscillometer - pulmoscan that has the added benefit of being extremely portable with real time data and hence can be used at field sites extensively. In discussion with the hospital at Sirohi, the first pulmoscan device was successfully tested for patients with respiratory problems. This was done by setting up a 3-day camp during 12-14 November 2019, wherein the vital parameters of the patients and the lung function was assessed by both a spirometer for comparison with the pulmoscan device. The clear advantage of using a forced air device was seen with the pulmoscan as against the spirometer in patients with extensive lung obstruction. The ability of pulmoscan to detect gross alterations in lung capacity was also visible in these patients. However, further analysis of the lung functions in larger sets of patients with respiratory disorder - silicosis/TB would be required to develop an artificial intelligence based modality for screening patients.
Access to potable water is a significant challenge in many parts of India, and especially so in Rajasthan. This is an issue of urgency in rural and remote areas that are not serviced by piped water supply. Given the size and population of our country, we are faced with a unique set of problems with respect to water. There is a need for simple, robust technologies and indigenous development addressing problems on various scales. IIT Jodhpur has taken up the responsibility of translating design, development and research on water technologies for the benefit of society at large, particularly in rural and remote areas. These technologies are targeted at increasing potability and production of water and optimizing consumption.
Pressure driven membrane processes such as Microfiltration (MF), Ultra-filtration (UF), Nano-filtration (NF), and Reverse Osmosis (RO) play an important role in water purification. IIT Jodhpur has designed and developed a decentralised water purification unit based on the UF membrane-assisted sorption process. The UF has a 20-100A pore size which is capable of removing bacteria, virus and high molecular weight substances. It runs by gravity and is useful for the removal of fluoride, bacteria and viruses from drinking water. It does not require electricity for water purification, hence it is a cost-effective green technology that is ideal for rural and remote locations.
These interventions using UF technology have been carried out at Government schools in the districts of Sirohi and Jhunjhunu so far. By involving staff members, students, village manpower and local institutions such as JJT University - Jhunjhunu, and the involvement of the local community, these installations have empowered these communities to adopt decentralized and self-reliant technology solutions to the problem of potable water. IIT Jodhpur is planning to set up fifty such water purification units in different schools of rural and remote areas of Rajasthan in the next phase of this project.
Along with the provision of a low-cost, indigenous, non-polluting and user-friendly solution to the problem of potable water, the introduction of this technology in village schools enables students to get exposure to practice-based, skill-oriented learning. We hope that such examples will inspire the students in these schools towards developing such technologies in the future.
In less than a year, the decentralized water purification units were installed and being used at the above locations in the districts of Sirohi and Jhunjhunu. IIT Jodhpur is planning to set up fifty such water purification units in different schools of rural and remote areas of Rajasthan in the next phase as a part of SSR.
Alongside water availability and use, water production is an equally important consideration given the arid and dry nature of the Thar Desert. IIT Jodhpur is exploring the possibility of water production through the condensation of water vapor on specific surfaces, especially in the low temperatures and lake based micro-climate of Mt. Abu at Sirohi. While the climate of Mount Abu varies with altitude, the top of the region is pleasant and moderate for the longer part of a year, with temperatures of 23-25°C from March to July and -2 to 25°C from November to February and average rainfall. This fog harvesting or dew catching technology is being explored through a set of stills at Mt. Abu. This project has been allotted to IIT Jodhpur by the Department of Agriculture, Sirohi, and is being conducted in collaboration with them.
Currently, the experiments yield 3-4 liter/day per square meter of dew catcher surface. Meraj Ahmad, Lovelesh Dave, Hanwant Rathore and Nirmal Gehlot from IIT Jodhpur planned and executed these installations and are presently studying the catchers for better moisture catching capabilities. The implications of this technology are tremendous for a water-scarce region such as Rajasthan.
The G-filter technology has been developed by IIT Jodhpur’s Ph.D. students Sandeep Gupta, Amrita Kaurwar, and Rajkumar Satankar as a solution to the challenge of potable water. These are frustum gravity-based ceramic water filters developed to use and empower the traditional artisan’s (Potter or Kumhar) skill of our rural villages. The raw materials for the manufacture of G-filter include clay and organic materials. The nature of organic materials and type of clay used can vary depending on the location, production process and type of industry. The compositional variation and raw material availability enable the implementation of a customized solution to the water problems specific to a location. The G-filter will enable filtration and contaminant removal through the ceramic, a result of the clay’s microstructure, manufacturing process, and electro-kinetic processes that occur when water interacts with the ceramic over its holding time. Given the presence and prevalence of potters in rural India, the implications of this technology are huge for the water access and governance in our country. This research has been featured in the MRS Bulletin in an article titled “The G-filter: A simple high-tech solution to India’s water pollution” in their 44th volume published in December 2019.
The G-filter technology can penetrate into local markets across India because of the reduced costs of establishing skill sets, teaching, and gaining local trust. G Filter receptacles are providing potable quality water at par with WHO standards at almost 1 liter per hour at different household installations in Pali, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
Technology translation involves the cultivation of mutual trust between researchers and local residents. Through a process of continuous, on-site research in rural Rajasthan, we are understanding and meeting local needs and difficulties in the implementation of this technology. Presently, IIT Jodhpur is also trying to manufacture G-filters for the removal of selective contaminants; trials are being conducted in different locations at Pali. The rewards of such work go beyond the academic ivory tower. We were overjoyed to receive a picture from a two-year-old user of the G-filter from Sanawada, Jaisalmer.
The challenges of agriculture in an arid region involve the optimal consumption of water for irrigation. To meet this challenge, a project on sub-surface irrigation has been implemented in the lemon farm of Mr. Ramesh in the village of Esau in Ajari Gram Panchayat, Sirohi. The SSPV (Sub-Surface Porous Vessel) Technology is an innovative product delivered through a RuTAG IIT Delhi funded project at IIT Jodhpur. Lovelesh Dave, Pankaj Jakhar, Hanwant Rathore and Nirmal Gehlot are the young minds behind the execution of this project. SSPV is useful for drainage management, water conservation, root medication, landscaping, low energy irrigation, afforestation and enables remediation of contaminated/saline soils. After implementing this technology in Mr. Ramesh’s lemon farm, we have observed an approximately 30% reduction in the consumption of water for irrigation. The overall benefits include water conservation, better nutrition for fruit crops, root medication and improved fertility at low costs. The SSPV technology can also potentially be used in setting up organic kitchen gardens for individual households and organizations to increase food self-sufficiency amongst people during a pandemic.
COVID-19 virus has spread rapidly throughout the world bringing an epidemic-like situation. Given the lack of an efficacious vaccine and also dangerous shortage of personal protective equipment, the global population has been hit hard by the current coronavirus outbreak. What has to be done by common people during COVID-19 pandemic, is a big question? We are hearing most of the time to develop sanitizers or sterilizers (disinfectors) for immediate relief. However, resources such as water, chemicals and energy costs are becoming more critical and judicious uses are recommended by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Let us make it clear that disinfecting and sanitizing can be considered the same thing for some people particularly when knowing what to do during a time once a pandemic like COVID-19 is present. Nevertheless, the fact is that they are different from each other. While they both have the same objective to clean and decontaminate a surface by reducing the number of germs present, one is much more reliable than the other at killing germs. So, when to sanitize? Sanitizing is meant to reduce the growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Sanitizing is important and necessary when surfaces come into contact with food. Sanitizing is also part of most modern home appliances, such as, a laundry machine, dishwasher, etc. and sanitizing cycles are inclusive of the process. But, when to disinfect? Disinfecting is meant to ‘kill’ on the infected areas and eliminate many or all pathogenic microorganisms on the surfaces. Disinfecting is meant to help stop the spread of diseases. We should note that during this time, it is recommended worldwide to disinfect surfaces over sanitising.
Wet chemical processes are popularly known and many disinfectants are used alone or in combinations (e.g., hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid) in the health-care settings. These include alcohols, chlorine and chlorine compounds, glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, iodophors, ortho-phthalaldehyde, phenolics, peracetic acid, and quaternary ammonium compounds . In most cases, a given product is designed for a specific purpose and that has to be used in a certain manner. Disinfectants are not interchangeable, and improper concentrations and incorrect disinfectants can result in unnecessary costs and also a number of health issues. People have also tried other disinfecting methods, such as, heat sterilization , metals as microbicides , Ultraviolet (UV) radiation , etc. However, many surface materials cannot be heat sterilized and might be damaged by chemical disinfection. In most disinfectants, UV-light is well recognized as an effective and fastest method for inactivating microorganisms without any damage to the surface (cold technique) .
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a spectrum of light just below the range visible to the human eye. The UV light is divided into four distinct spectral areas and they are Vacuum Ultraviolet (VUV) (100–200 nm), UV-C (200–280 nm), UV-B (280–315 nm) and UV-A (315–400 nm). These spectral areas are very specific. Out of these, UV-C is the most lethal range as a germicidal disinfectant that is capable of altering DNA/RNA of harmful bacteria/viruses, keeping them from reproducing. UV-C is basically absorbed by RNA and DNA bases, and can cause the photochemical fusion of two adjacent pyrimidines into covalently linked dimers, which then become non-pairing bases and can deactivate bacteria and viruses. While UV is effective at inactivating a wide range of microorganisms, there are limitations for its use. Surfaces can be blocked from the light if objects are in the way because UV operates in a ‘line-of-sight’ similar to sun light. The areas that are blocked from the UV-light are commonly known as shadow areas. Surfaces in these shadow areas do not receive adequate disinfection as UV-light does not have the ability to reflect well off surfaces. Shadow areas are typically dealt with by moving the UV-light source during the treatment to the other positions to accommodate disinfection of the surfaces blocked from UV disinfection. It is important to note that care must be exercised while using UV-light systems, e.g., UV-light should not be exposed directly to eyes, UV-light should also not be over exposed to skin, low dosages may not effectively inactivate some of the microorganisms, further dosages must be carefully defined for a particular system and process.
Recently IIT Jodhpur has developed an advanced photocatalytic oxidation sterilization process based on UV-light and metal oxide nanoparticles catalyst with novel geometry designs to eliminate microorganisms and any other suspended particles including VoC’s. The technology is based on a hybrid process where UV-C light and its photons interaction with nanoparticles catalyst provides an opportunity to generate hydroxyl radicals, hydro peroxides and supper oxide ions that eventually lead to enhance the inactivation process of bacteria and viruses. In fact, in the developed advanced process the lipid peroxidation can produce transient pores (through abstraction of H atoms from Hydroxyl radicals) for wall rupture of viruses and therefore the proposed methodology can be more effective for disinfection process even without movement of the UV-light assemblies in the portable geometry systems. Furthermore, UV-light does not penetrate well into organic materials, so for the best results of UV-C light, either one should use a standard cleaning of the room to remove any organic materials from surfaces or one should have additional process. In our hybrid system there is no need for a wet chemical process and the use of UV-C with metal oxide nanoparticles catalyst plates is able to mitigate the issue via dry process. The process generates active oxygen and electron-hole pairs to produce negative and positive ions in the treatment environment. When hydroxyl radicals collide with volatile organic compounds, the energetic nuclear molecules and free radicals can act to activate or directly degrade, which together can promote VOCs degradation. Odours, the source of organic pollution, can also be quickly eliminated through the developed process because the odorous gas is oxidized by the binding of reactive oxygen. The dust and pollen can also be removed from the sterilizing surfaces, which are basically combined with the ionic bonds that are generated in the advanced process.
IITJ has developed an Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation (APCO) Sterilization System for sterilization of medical accessories being used by Doctors and COVID-19 patient handlers. The most common respiratory protection device used in healthcare settings is the disposable N95 filtering face-piece respirator (FFR). However, infection control procedures typically call for disposable FFRs to be discarded after a single use to avoid cross-contamination. This means that a pandemic of a disease such as COVID-19, SARS CoV, Influenza would require a huge number of FFRs to protect healthcare workers from airborne transmissions. One possible way to meet the need for FFRs during a pandemic would be to reuse them and even a small number of reuses would greatly expand the available pool of disposable respirators. In the developed system two indigenous assemblies of lantern UV-light sterilization systems in combination with synergistically used metal oxide nanoparticles catalyst plates are housed within a standard Class II A2 biological safety cabinet to kill the bacteria and viruses in a portable protective environment. The developed system has been optimized for the UV-light dosages as per the CDC guidelines. This system not only eliminates bacteria and viruses but also can remove odors, noxious gases and volatile organic compounds or any other suspended particles within the mask. With the developed prototype system, one can easily prepare more than 150 masks per day for reuse. The system has been tested at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS), Jodhpur.
IITJ has also developed an Advanced Photocatalytic Oxidation Conveyor (APCOC) System for sterilization of surfaces, such as, food packets, books, mobile phones, laptops, carry bags, courier bundles, etc. The developed sterilization method is a substitute of traditional chemicals and scrubbing agents for common people during the pandemic. This technology can also be used on some of the thick peel food items, leather items, during the packaging of herbs and seeds, etc. and may reduce the number of complete washdowns required during processing, thereby saving resources, such as, water, chemicals and energy costs. This system mitigates cross-contamination concerns, removes suspended impurities, and enhances overall quality of the daily use items. The product is under evaluation and testing for its disinfection efficiency.
Department of Physics
The New National Education Policy, approved by the cabinet on last Wednesday (29/7/2020), is a landmark in envisioning future of the Indian education. This step is more significant given the fact that current policies were framed about 35 years ago and the world has substantially changed since then. The present policy with a different outlook towards all levels and aspects of education entails significant departure from the past. Focus on multidisciplinary approach in contrast to specialised discipline-specific academic programmes and institutions is the key recommendation of the new education policy regarding higher education. The policy has indicated that engineering education should “also aim to be offered within multidisciplinary education institutions and programmes and have a renewed focus on opportunities to engage deeply with other disciplines”. This is a far reaching recommendation which requires revisiting the whole philosophy with which institutions like IITs were established in the independent India.
Sir Nalini Ranjan Sarkar committee, set up in 1945, recommended that at least four Higher Technical Institutes on the lines of famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A. be established in the Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern regions of the country. Post-Independence, it was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who pioneered establishing of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to provide the nation with trained technical personnel of international class, who would act as leaders in technology for the newly born independent India. Over last 70 years, IITs have established a unique identity in terms of excellence in engineering education, research and innovation. With 23 IITs all across the country, these institutes are contributing highly valued manpower for the engineering profession, producing top-class engineering scientists and distinguished innovators including an array of Unicorn start-up’s. This was possible because IITs (with almost no exception, although each IIT has its own autonomy) provide broad science based engineering education, where humanities and social sciences also form a significant component – multi-disciplinarity being talked about in the new policy today, has been an intrinsic feature of IIT education, despite being a pure technology institution. However, it is also very important for institutions to contextualize themselves periodically with reference to the changing world. If we consider the philosophy of MIT today, which was the model for IITs, it clearly states that “the institute is committed towards generating, disseminating and preserving knowledge and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s greater challenges”. This is a commitment to knowledge in general and not focussed only in the domain of technology. On the other hand, vision statement of IIT Jodhpur is the following: The Institute - promotes technology thought and action, and prepares needed technical human resources to meet the technology challenges of the nation. It is clear that despite broad based education imparted by IIT Jodhpur, its vision remained technology centric. It has to possibly change. Proposed national education policy is prompting IIT’s to think differently and take specific initiatives, although in action IITs have delivered broad-based engineering education for a very long time.
Globally multi-disciplinary multi-dimensional education is becoming need of the hour. Any engineering project today requires knowledge from multiple fields. An automobile has more computers in it than what we find in the hostel room of a Computer Science undergraduate. Production of a movie requires more technology than artistic talents. An artist uses technical knowledge for unique creative expressions. Economic theory gets built upon machine learning principle. The brain science validates hypothesis about neural processes through computational models. Any diagnostic investigation requires sophisticated instrumentation. Data science is providing new insights in social science. We are discovering new drug molecules using computational processes. The emerging field of human immunomics is enabling development of artificial intelligence tools to speed up development of vaccines for a wide range of diseases. Increasing food production requires technology interventions along multiple fronts. If we really want to work for mitigating challenges posed by global problems like pandemics or meet sustainable development goals (SDG’s) we need multi-modal multi-disciplinary approach. This is not possible, if IITs do not transform themselves into institutes with broader vision and perspectives.
The policy document has provided examples of multi-disciplinary universities in India from the past. It referred to ancient Indian literary works such as Banabhatta’s Kadambari which described a good education as knowledge of the 64 Kalaas or arts. These “64 ‘arts’ were not only subjects, such as singing and painting, but also ‘scientific ’fields, such as chemistry and mathematics, ‘vocational ’ fields such as carpentry and clothes-making, ‘professional ’fields, such as medicine and engineering, as well as ‘soft skills’ such as communication, discussion, and debate”. This notion of a ‘knowledge of many arts’ in modern times is often called the ‘liberal arts’. A liberal arts education offers an expansive intellectual basis in all kinds of humanistic inquiry. It is a vital foundation for both individual’s growth and the well-being of our society. A commitment to the liberal arts, should possibly become part of IIT’s mission for meeting need of the changing time. Although, it is not that liberal arts education has been ignored in IIT ecosystem, there remains ample scope to amplify their contributions. In the process of redesigning curriculum in its second decade, IIT Jodhpur has made different aspects of liberal arts as core component of UG curriculum. As part of B.Tech programme students need to take courses in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences amounting to 10% and can take up to 35% of the total credit requirements for their B.Tech degrees, which can include a minor in the area of humanities and social sciences. In addition, students can take courses in performing arts or fine arts as part of their graduation requirement. Professional ethics is also a core component of their curriculum. However, there has been a significant lack of interplay between technology and liberal arts in integrated academic programmes of IITs.
In recent times, responding to the demands of cutting edge technology, many IITs have started a process to broaden their gamut of educational and research activities. Multi-disciplinary research initiatives have become significant component of the research agenda of IIT’s. IIT Jodhpur is no exception. This has happened organically. At IIT Jodhpur, we have created seven interdisciplinary research groups – Smart Healthcare, Digital Humanities, IOT and Applications, Space Technology, Quantum Information Processing, Robotics and Mobility and Science of Intelligence reflecting common research interests of faculty members from diverse disciplines – humanities, engineering, biological, physical, chemical and mathematical sciences. These groups have initiated multi-disciplinary research and academic programmes. Smart Healthcare group has collaborated with AIIMS, Jodhpur to initiate joint Masters and PhD programme in Medical Technology with focus on innovation. This is an example of creating trans-disciplinary clusters, as envisaged in the new policy document, where institutions from diverse domain can come together to create new programmes to meet the need of the time. MSc and PhD programmes in Digital Humanities are expected to enhance interplay between humanities and engineering sciences. IIT Jodhpur is making conscious effort to enable multi-faceted growth in biological sciences. A research centre for rare diseases and an animal house for experimental study is on the anvil. IITJ will be possibly among very few IITs to have animal house facility.
Our undergraduate programmes in different engineering disciplines, driven by technology foresight, have been designed with a multi-disciplinary perspective. Emerging scientific concepts and new technologies, like internet of things, AI, Cyber-physical System, Materials Science, Quantum Information Processing, have been made part of engineering curriculum to enable graduating students to deal with future challenges. IITJ also offers students a unique possibility of graduating with a degree in Engineering Science in which a student can design his program, under supervision of a faculty mentor, integrating courses from different disciplines to build up his or her own unique capability matrix. IITJ has set up a centre on – Technology Foresight and Policy to have clear vision about the future of technology and strategy and become a think tank for all policy matters. Academic activities of this centre will add a new context to the academic ecosystem of IIT Jodhpur. A new School of Management and Entrepreneurship has brought in a distinct culture of business school at IIT Jodhpur.
New education policy also emphasizes the need for India to take a lead “ in preparing professionals in cutting-edge areas that are fast gaining prominence, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3-D machining, big data analysis, and machine learning”. These technology domains will substantially impact industry in all areas of engineering in the next few years. IITs have already taken initiatives in this direction. IIT Jodhpur is setting up a School of AI and Data Science which will have a number of focussed centres of excellence working on multi-disciplinary applications of AI and Data Sciences. We propose to set up CoE’s in the areas of Mathematical and Computational Economics, Smart Infrastructure, AI+Ayush and others which can execute projects for meeting national needs. With the support of DST we are setting up Technology Innovation Hub in the area of Computer Vision, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. This hub will address applications in diverse domains like plant phenomics, aqua-culture, public health, radio-genomics, educational technology, smart manufacturing, digital heritage. Some of these technology domains (smart manufacturing and digital heritage) will also support advancement of 3D printing technology. This initiative for multi-disciplinary technology development in different IITs and academic institutions will require strong support from National Research foundation for taking forward the agenda of inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary academic and research initiatives which has been so passionately advocated in the policy document. This support can only transform IIT’s into multi-disciplinary institutes of higher learning involved in teaching but with emphasis in research.
It is clear from this discussion, that IIT’s, including IIT Jodhpur, have already taken steps which are aligned with the new education policy. National education policy 2020 can definitely help in accelerating these initiatives. New future for IIT’s will be constructed through careful integration of multiple disciplines which can generate new solutions for problems faced by the humanity. Policy makers must enable IIT’s to follow this new path of multi-disciplinary growth through appropriate support. Inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary research programmes can enable propagation of this culture of problem solving involving knowledge from all possible domains. Further, support for a new School of Liberal Arts in IITs which can house varied disciplines of humanities and social sciences including performing and fine arts under one umbrella, can provide a fillip to multi-disciplinary academic pursuits in these areas with integration of science and technology. This will also provide impetus to IIT’s mission of producing professionals with multi-dimensional personalities who can play critical roles in nation building, nurture the new culture of innovation and make India self-reliant. Success of the national policy for higher education, to a great extent, is therefore, dependent upon plan of the government for funding the initiatives promoted by this policy.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
A few months (or an infinity) ago, the steady, onward movement of our lives halted. The world came to a standstill as it navigated a challenge on an unprecedented scale in the form of a pandemic. People everywhere stayed home as our public spaces became empty and deserted. Much has already been written about all this. Our screens and brains have been deluged by data and models. For some of us, work and life have shifted online, to an intensity perhaps never experienced before. In the middle of isolations, quarantines and social distancing, it is good to recall Olympic athlete Andrew Murphy’s important words: “you are confined only by the walls you build yourself”.
Even as scientists and medical researchers push the needle incrementally on what we know about the Covid-19 virus, there are vast areas that remain unexplored. This represents an enormous opportunity for the global scientific community and academia to be of service to society. Many predict that the world as we knew it will never be the same again. If this is true, we have collectively borne witness to the end of a way of life, indelibly defined by a pre- and a post-. Amidst these potential endings, it is fitting that we also have new beginnings. One such beginning is the launch of IIT Jodhpur’s Research Bulletin, TechScape.
In this first issue released to commemorate the Institute’s thirteenth Foundation Day, we bring to you a snapshot of the world of technology and science through a collection of detailed feature articles, fact boxes, research snippets, news and views, and commentary. As educational institutions everywhere reorient their pedagogical approaches in light of our new norms of social distancing, IIT Jodhpur is launching a slew of new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes that cater to a wide variety of prominent fields such as Data Science, Medical Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Tech-Management, and Digital Humanities. The Institute is actively working to improve its pedagogical and research infrastructure through online teaching platforms, interaction spaces, and initiatives such as the Technology Innovation and Startup Centre and an Animal House. Mindful of the changing dynamics of the economy, the Institute is also bolstering its links with industry through Section 8 companies that effectively marry the interfaces of research and entrepreneurship. Our News and Views section features several pieces that provide deeper insights into the Institute’s efforts to improve education and industrial collaboration. Our In-Focus section features two articles: one sheds light on IIT Jodhpur’s efforts towards mitigating the effects of the pandemic and the other discusses the dynamic field of Quantum Information Processing and its implications for interdisciplinarity. The Research Snippets section chronicles the sheer breadth of ongoing research efforts at IIT Jodhpur featuring the contributions of various faculty members. Finally and most importantly, the Scientific Social Connect section features those research initiatives from IIT Jodhpur which resulted in tangible, lasting benefits to society at large.
We hope that the bulletin will be a valuable resource for those at IIT Jodhpur. More importantly, we hope that it will help disseminate IIT Jodhpur’s research and outreach efforts to our extended network of well-wishers, collaborators, partner institutions and the scientific community at large. This is a small but sure step in that direction.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences