This issue of TechScape commemorates IIT Jodhpur’s 6th Convocation ceremony where, in the middle of a global pandemic whilst battling numerous logistical, structural and emotional challenges, yet another batch of students will be ready to graduate.We are proud and happy; we cannot wait to see what they will do next.The occasion is graced by renowned scientist, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton.
Prof. Santanu Chaudhury
India celebrates its diversity. Its diversity is reflected in the variety of languages spoken and written in India. As per 2011 census, there are total 121 languages and 270 mother tongues. Census defined - “Mother tongue is the language spoken in childhood by the person’s mother to the person. If the mother died in infancy, the language mainly spoken in the person’s home in childhood will be the mother tongue. In case of doubt, the language mainly spoken in the household may be recorded.”
Of these, 22 languages are included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. As per the same census, top two languages used in India are Hindi (by 43.63%) and Bengali (used by 8.03%). There are thirteen languages used by more than one percent of the total population of India as their mother tongue. About 25 thousand people use Sanskrit. People having the same mother tongue is also distributed over multiple states. Two contact languages have played an important role in the India
India celebrates its diversity. Its diversity is reflected in the variety of languages spoken and written in India. As per 2011 census, there are total 121 languages and 270 mother tongues. Census defined - “Mother tongue is the language spoken in childhood by the person’s mother to the person. If the mother died in infancy, the language mainly spoken in the person’s home in childhood will be the mother tongue. In case of doubt, the language mainly spoken in the household may be recorded.” Of these, 22 languages are included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. As per the same census, top two languages used in India are Hindi (by 43.63%) and Bengali (used by 8.03%). There are thirteen languages used by more than one percent of the total population of India as their mother tongue. About 25 thousand people use Sanskrit. People having the same mother tongue is also distributed over multiple states. Two contact languages have played an important role in the India: Persian and English. Persian was the court language during the Mughal period in India. In India, English has been the language used for science and technology communication. Given this context of multi-lingual character of the country, education in mother tongue at all levels pose an unprecedented challenge. Further, we can not ignore English as English is the medium of communication with the outside world and between different regions of the country. Intellectual and economic growth of the country are functionally linked with its linguistic diversity. In this article, we focus on education and linguistic diversity of India.
2.0 Language in School Education
Language is the basic medium of communication and understanding in class-room based or online learning environments. Efficiency of knowledge transfer is optimal when loss in the channel i.e. the medium of communication is minimum. Hence, education in the language in which learners and teachers are most comfortable is expected to be the most effective. It is desirable that education is imparted in the language in which most learners and teachers are comfortable. It is expected that the majority of the students will be comfortable with the most popular language of the region/state. This will be the same for the teacher also. However, the students from minority language croups staying in the region will not have that advantage. At the same time, education only in the mother tongue or most popular language of the state has the danger of restricting opportunities for the students.
Mother tongue-based bilingual programs use more efficient strategy. The learner's first language, known as the Ll, is used for teaching of basic reading and writing skills. Initial academic content is also delivered in L1. The second or foreign language, known as the L2, in Indian context English, is taught systematically so that learners can transfer skill gradually from L1 to L2. Subsequently L2 can become the dominant language for further learning. Bilingual as opposed to monolingual schooling offers significant pedagogical advantages (see reviews in [Baker 2001]; [Cummins 2000]; [CAL 2001]: However, for linguistic minorities this process is still challenging because they may have inadequate familiarity with the L1 – experiencing what is called partial submersion ("submersion" (Skutnabb-Kangas 2000) because it is analogous to holding learners under water without teaching them how to swim.).
Teaching literacy through a familiar language facilitates an understanding of sound-symbol or meaning-symbol mappings. Psycholinguistic guessing makes learning to read easier for a known language. Students can communicate through writing as soon as they understand orthography of the language. Teaching of new concepts in L1 can happen even before students become competent in L2. Teaching of L2 can begin with oral skills so that students learn the language through communication. Pedagogical principle behind “interdependence theory and the concept of common underlying proficiency” [Cummins 1991] indicates that the literacy and concepts learned in the L1 can be referred and used in the second language once oral L2 skills are developed. Bilingualism will enable students to meet future challenges of job market, global economy and mobility.
Through longitudinal studies [Nakamura et al. 2019], it has been shown that there exists a nonlinear relationship between L1 and L2 reading skills due to the need for sufficient acquisition of cognitive and linguistic resources in L1 and the need for sufficient acquisition of L2 oral language skills. The association between L1 and L2 skills are small below a threshold level of learning, and increase exponentially above that threshold value. This exponential increase can enable a successful transition from L1 to L2 for biliteracy achievement. Assessment of what a student has learnt can be made more accurately in a bilingual class-room, even when concepts are taught in L2. Since, a student can express themselves freely in L1, it is easier to determine whether students have difficulty in understanding the concept itself or the language of instruction.
Teaching and learning materials needed to be tailored to exploit all available resources. Specifically, multilingual children should be empowered with linguistic resources from a first language to reach a threshold level of ability before they are introduced to L2. Thus, if English literacy instruction is introduced prematurely, it is unlikely that children will have sufficient local language reading ability to support that transition to acquiring a new literacy. In addition, if the transition is completely to English only instruction then students will not develop further capability in L1. Improving learning outcomes of multilingual students may also require grouping classes by skill level to the extent possible. This will enable us to tailor curricula for multilingual students, or providing teachers with toolkits to handle varying levels of local language proficiency in the same class. Students, even from the same region, can have different mother tongue and hence, different levels of understanding of the L1 used in a state. This recommendation is consistent with recent findings from studies in India that focus on Teaching at the Right Level, by splitting classes based on the level of the students. Such initiatives can result in an improvement in scores in learning outcomes in various Indian contexts.
It is clear from our discussions that, given multilingualism in the country and diversity of mother tongue, we need to evolve an integrated strategy for designing learning ecosystems in the school where L! literacy has to be emaphasized and L1 literacy is to be used to enable L2 proficiency. Therefore, education in mother tongue for a multi-lingual country like India requires careful analysis for policy formulation and implementation. Bilingual class-rooms in which teaching learning process involves L1 and L2, is possibly the desired solution which ensures both cognitive and language learning and ensures higher probability for the attainment of learning outcomes. Research on linguistic theories such as that from [Degraff 2014] has highlighted the importance of language in the processing of new information. It is therefore hypothesized that the use of student’s mother tongue in a bilingual class-room will increase the efficiency of understanding and acquisition of new knowledge in the school education system. Limiting the approach to only L1 may lead to restrictive and non-inclusive opportunity for the majority of the talent pool that India has. To ensure, global presence of Indian talent bilingual approach is the most desirable solution. Bilingualism should lead to creating an inclusive approach to education through combination of L1 and L2 as the communication medium. Technology can play an important role in creating bilingual and multi-lingual learning environments and class rooms.
2.1 Science Education
Science at school level can be largely taught through illustrations of practical manifestations and experiments. But appropriate teaching and learning process require language for communicating the principles through oral discussions or through written material. Teachers need to explain and students need to answer questions. Language plays a critical role in the development of concepts and doing reasoning using those concepts in other words, for solving problems applying these scientific principles.
The words used in science class rooms belong two categories: normal and technical. Typical examples of technical words are: genes in biology, momentum & capacitance in physics, etc., When used as science terms, every day words like resistance attain new meanings. Other examples are reaction in chemistry, diversity in Biology. They become science words. Also, some constructs like – if – then, therefore, define, explain, - acquire special meaning.
This change in meaning of words in the context of science and introduction of technical words makes it difficult for the students, in many cases, to explain basic scientific concepts even if they are fluent in the language in which they are being taught science. If this language is different from mother tongue or the language in which the student is most fluent, they struggle more. New measures are required to design the science communication techniques and curriculum so that the concepts are easily explained using the languages in which students and teachers are most proficient. In this context, free unrestricted use of L1 and L2 may enable students to better acquire concepts named in L2 but explained in L1 in conjunction with other cognitive cues (like pictures, actual experiments, video’s, etc).
2.2 Bilingualism and Cognitive Abilities
Knowledge of L1 and L2, as per some of the research findings [Filipović 2018], has important implication for the cognitive abilities of the students. It seems that the L1 and not the L2 is the strongest factor aiding recall. It is found that “thinking for speaking and remembering is mainly influenced by the L1 for late L2 learners, because these speakers are still thinking in their L1 when using the L2. Speakers do not resort to their L1 in some other less complex tasks that they can perform solely by using their L2 (e.g. categorization or similarity judgements for simple events), but for more complex tasks such as causation and its recall, L2 learners rely heavily on their L1. More proficient L2 learners with extensive immersion experiences could demonstrate more of an L2 effect in this and similar tasks”. Interplay between L1 and L2 helps learners to perform cognitive tasks using linguistic perceptions embedded in the constructs of both the languages.
A number of studies have focused on the relation between creativity and intelligence. Michalko (1998) regards creative thinking as distinct from intelligence. That is neither high level of intelligence guarantee creativity, nor does creativity represent intelligence. Many researchers such as Runco (2007) believe that a minimum level of intelligence is necessary and below which creativity is rarely observed. A large number of researchers have engaged in seeking the relationship between creativity and bilingualism. Ricciardelli (1992) did a meta-analysis of 24 studies that examined this relation. This work indicated inclination toward the superiority of bilinguals to monolinguals in performance on measures of creativity. Furthermore, he asserted that most studies were conducted on children and employed measures of divergent thinking to assess creativity. Hommel, Colzato, Fischer, and Christoffels [Hommel et al. 2011] affirmed the positive impact of bilingualism on creativity. As creativity is enhanced by cognitive functions, so it can be expected that creative abilities are facilitated by developments in cognitive functions of bilinguals’. Bilinguals’ experience of participation in two cultures makes them see the world through two different optics. Richness in their conceptual representations may enhance cognitive flexibility, divergent thinking, and creative expression of experiences [Kharkhurin, 2007].
It is therefore hypothesized, that Bilingualism in the class room from an early age, through proper design of curriculum, can ignite more creativity among individuals. Extensive surveys, cognitive experiments and quantitative analysis are required for strengthening this hypothesis.
3.0 Higher Education
As far as higher education is concerned, English is the predominant medium of instruction in India. This is especially true for postgraduate courses and in science and professional courses and in the institutions of national importance like IITs, IISc, ISERs, AIIMS, etc. Use of mother tongue as the medium of instruction, in a limited extent, has been largely confined to arts, education, and to some extent to basic science courses at the undergraduate level. Students, as well as their parents, generally prefer English medium instruction, because it appears to provide better opportunity in the employment market and for geographical mobility, inside and outside India. Thus, adoption of mother tongue/ regional languages as media of instruction at higher education and in all courses is not a possibility in the foreseeable future. The only viable option appears to be conscious adoption of bilingualism/multilingualism in the campus.
New Education policy of India states that “ More HEIs, and more programmes in higher education, will use the mother tongue/local language as a medium of instruction, and/or offer programmes bilingually, in order to increase access and GER and also to promote the strength, usage, and vibrancy of all Indian languages. Private HEIs too will be encouraged and incentivized to use Indian languages as medium of instruction and/or offer bilingual programmes.” This proposal is consistent with core philosophy of bilingualism/multilingualism in education. We need to design appropriate implementation schemes.
Bilingualism is consistent with the current global initiative to internationalise higher education. English is being increasingly used to teach non-language subjects in countries where English is not an official language [Galloway, 2020]. This trend started in Europe. It was reported in [Wachter and Maiworm, 2014] that English medium instructions in courses have shown approximately 11 times growth between 2001 and 2014. It has become a global phenomenon, with growth in places like China and Japan. This is also linked with university rankings as internationalisation of the campus is an important requirement.
4.0 Engineering Education: Bilingual to Monolingual Transition
Bilingual school education can enable adoption of L2 in professional education. However, degree of proficiency in L2 is not expected to be the same for all students joining engineering education. It is essential to create a process through which all students can. reach the same level of proficiency in L2. We have already found that, once initial difficulties are tackled, cognitive and creative abilities are enhanced through L1 and L2 combination. More immersion in L2 enables students to perform causation and recall more in L2. This is required for access to resource material in L2, become an active participant in class room interactions and use these concepts for solving problems.
We should also accept that transition to the appropriate level of proficiency in L2 can take different time for different students. Also, no student should suffer because of less proficiency in L2. These requirements pose new pedagogical challenges. Technology driven solutions delivering personalised self-learning systems for facilitating transition from bilingual learning environment to L2 environment will create more inclusive campus. This transition can happen only when the learners have been empowered to meet learning outcomes in a step-by-step fashion at the level of school education through bilingual approach. In other words, this will be possible provided understanding of scientific concepts at the school level has reached a minimum level of satisfaction through bilingual or multi-lingual approach instead of memorisation of tricks without comprehending the language of science.
5.0 Multilingualism and Technology
Enabling multilingualism in education would require technological interventions. Today’s technology has sufficiently progressed to support bi and multilingualism in the learning environment. Here we briefly touch upon some possibilities.
Evolution of language technology has enabled development of multi-lingual provisions on the internet. This is linked to the growth of digital language technologies and politico-economic dimensions. Four distinct periods or linguistic phases in WWW are: monolingualism, multilingualism, hyperlingualism, and idiolingualism [Helen et al. 2019]. Monolingualism covers the origins of the internet and later the WWW as monolingual spaces. Multilingualism expanded substantially, potentially limitlessly with standardization of Unicode for multiple languages. With web 2.0 this has led to the diversification of online spaces to the point of “hyperlingualism”. A key development in this phase has been crowdsourcing. During the multilingualism era, the website provider decided on a limited number of desirable languages that should be offered and then use a language professional to localize the resources. This could be described as a “multilingual provision” model. With crowdsourcing in the hyperlingual era, the localization work is done by users—sometimes called “produsers” or “prosumers”—and technology makes the choice of languages largely irrelevant. A particularly well-known example was the Facebook translations app (see [Lenihan, 2011], [Lenihan 2013]. A new phase is developing, that of “idiolingualism” as a result of mass linguistic customization. It is increasingly tailoring and personalizing online language provision. An example here is the language learning application DuoLingo (www.duolingo.com). The aim of the app is to offer as many different languages as possible; the modality by which the languages are learned depends on crowdsourcing. Here the slogan is “learn a language for free forever”. The focus is on individual and customized language learning. We can analyse how millions of people can learn at once to create the most effective educational system possible. Ultimate goal is to give everyone access to a private tutor experience in language learning through technology. The current status of the language technology on the web can very easily facilitate bilingual and multilingual learning environments,
In computer-based learning environments we need to integrate the linguistic diversity present in classrooms. The environment can offer multilingual content, namely in the language of instruction and pupils’ home language. The environment can provide support in their home language through different digital tools. The access to their home language can allow students to work at a higher cognitive level. The environment provides easy digital interface for systematic alternating between languages – home language or chosen L1 and L2. It can be multi-modal – visual and auditory interface should be available. A text to speech and speech to text interface with translation facility and language dependent grammar tools will be of great use. Introduction of scientific or technical vocabulary through digital tools will be also desirable. This multimodality combined presentation of visual and auditory text can ensure easy access to content. Moreover, auditory interface can support pupils who are accustomed to use their home language only in an auditory way. Such systems [Laerna 2017] are becoming available in the European context for addressing multi-lingual needs of EU.
India is a multilingual society. Language barriers prevent the free flow of information, thought, ideas, goods and products through the country. Powerful multilingual as well as cross-lingual and monolingual language technologies, making use of the latest Artificial Intelligence algorithms in combination with ever-growing data sets, have the potential of helping to overcome language barriers not only in education but can also help in the growth of economy of the country. India can work on Digital Single Market like Europe by adopting technology enabled multilingualism. This requires substantial research effort for Indian Languages (at least for constitutionally recognised languages) in the areas of Natural Language Understanding, Natural Language Generation, Speech Recognition and Synthesis, Document Analysis and Handwriting recognition, Multi-lingual knowledge Processing and Design of Multi-lingual learning environments involving augmented and virtual reality.
Linguistically unified Digital Single Market (DSM) will impact Education and Health sector followed by Tourism and Travel, Law and Justice, Translation, E-Commerce, Entertainment (incl. arts, creativity, culture and cultural heritage), Media, Business (incl. various services and business intelligence applications), Security, Public services and Administration, Government and Finance. By ensuring better access to multilingual data and services for all people opportunities can be created for more. This can form a basis for the inclusiveness of minorities and people with special needs. Thus, in a wider context multilingualism helps remove barriers, fosters collaboration and generates economic value and creates more cultural awareness.
Education in mother tongue is essential for imbibing the sense of pride in the language and culture of the root. However, education in mother tongue must also empower individuals for accessing multilingual global knowledge. There should be no impediment for global mobility. Multilingual Education is the key enabler for knowledge driven social equity. Education can only make India a significant player in the global economy. Multilingualism can ensure a solid educational foundation for growth of the country and its multi-dimensional multilingual; culture and tradition.
[Baker 2001] Baker, C. Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Third edition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2001
[CAL 2001] Expanding Educational Opportunity in Linguistically Diverse Societies.
Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics. http://www.cal.org/pubs/ford/eeolds .html, 2001
[Cummins 2000] Cummins, J. Language, Power and Pedagogy. Bilingual Children in the Crossfire. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 2000
[Skutnabb-Kangas 2000] Skutnabb-Kangas, T. Linguistic Genocide in Education-or Worldwide Diversity and Human Rights? Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 2000
[Cummins 1991] Cummins, J. Interdependence of first- and second-language proficiency in bilingual children. In Bialystok, E. (ed), La.nguage Processing in Bilingual Children.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 70-89. 1991.
[Nakamura et al. 2019] Pooja Reddy Nakamura, Thomas de Hoop & Chinmaya Udayakumar Holl, Language and the Learning Crisis: Evidence of Transfer Threshold Mechanisms in Multilingual Reading in South India, The Journal of Development Studies, 55:11, 2287-2305, 2019 DOI:10.1080/00220388.2018.1493192
[Degraff 2014] Michel Degraff , The Ecology of Language Evolution in Latin America: A Haitian Postscript toward a Postcolonial Sequel, In Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America, Salikoko Mufwene, ed., University of Chicago Press, 2014
[Filipović 2018] Luna Filipović, Speaking in a second language but thinking in the first language: Language-specific effects on memory for causation events in English and Spanish, International Journal of Bilingualism 2018, Vol. 22(2) 180–198
[Michalko (1998)] Michalko, M. Thinking like a genius: Eight strategies used by the supercreative, from Aristotle and Leonardo to Einstein and Edison. The Futurist, 32(4), 21, 1998
[Runco 2007] Runco, M. A., Creativity. Theories and Themes: Research, Development, and Practice. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
[Ricciardelli 1992] Ricciardelli, L. A. (1992). Creativity and bilingualism. Journal of Creative Behavior, 26, 242-254. 2007.
[hommel et al. 2011] Hommel, Colzato, Fischer, and Christoffels Hommel, B., Colzato, L., S., Fischer, R., & Christoffels I., K.,. Bilingualism and creativity: benefits in convergent thinking come with losses in divergent thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 2, 1-5. 2011, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00273
[Kharkhurin, 2007] Kharkhurin, A. V.The role of cross-linguistic and cross-cultural experiences in bilinguals’ divergent thinking. In I. Kecskes & L. Albertazzi (Eds.), Cognitive aspects of bilingualism (pp. 175-210). Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer.
[Galloway et al. 2020] Galloway, N., Numajiri, T. & Rees, N. The ‘internationalisation’, or ‘Englishisation’, of higher education in East Asia. High Educ 80, 395–414 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00486-1
Wachter and Maiworm, 2014 Wächter, B., & Maiworm, F. (2014). English-Taught Programmes in European Higher Education: The State of Play in 2014. ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education
[Helen et al. 2019] Helen Kelly-Holmes, Evolution of language technology Multilingualism and Technology: A Review of Developments in Digital Communication from Monolingualism to Idiolingualism Annual Review of Applied Linguistics (2019), 39, 24–39
[Lenihan, 2011] Lenihan, A., “Join our community of translators”: Language ideologies and Facebook. In C. Thurlow & K. Mroczek (Eds.), Digital discourse: Language in the new media (pp. 48–64). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2011
[Lenihan 2013] Lenihan, A., The interaction of language policy, minority languages and new media: A study of the Facebook translations application. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Limerick. Retrieved from https://ulir.ul.ie/bitstream/handle/10344/3590/Lenihan_2013_interaction.pdf?sequence=5, 2013
[Laerna 2017] Evelien Van Laerea , Kirsten Rosiersb, Piet Van Avermaetb, Stef Slembrouckb and Johan van Braaka What can technology offer to linguistically diverse classrooms? Using multilingual content in a computer-based learning environment for primary education, JOURNAL OF MULTILINGUAL AND MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT, 2017 VOL. 38, NO. 2, 97–112
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
This issue of TechScape commemorates IIT Jodhpur’s 6th Convocation ceremony where, in the middle of a global pandemic whilst battling numerous logistical, structural and emotional challenges, yet another batch of students will be ready to graduate. We are proud and happy; we cannot wait to see what they will do next. The occasion is graced by renowned scientist, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, who once famously said, “In the long run, curiosity-driven research works better...real breakthroughs come from people focusing on what they’re excited about”. We could not agree more.
This issue of the journal features two articles by Dr. Rajlaxmi Chouhan and Dr. Vandana Sharma about online teaching and learning, a central aspect of education in 2020. Even as the world crests and ebbs through waves of the pandemic, Dr. Vidya Sarveshwaran’s article introducing the field of Environmental Humanities to a broader audience is a timely reminder about planetary crisis and our responses. In this issue, the reader will find milestones in research and teaching excellence achieved by IIT Jodhpur in the past few months. The Institute has made significant headway in the fields of AI, Data Science, Augmented and Virtual Reality through the inauguration of the School of Artificial Intelligence and the Samsung AR-VR Lab. For those interested in learning about Dr. Prakash Tiwari’s work on green electronics, you will find his article in this issue illuminating. Dr. Sushmita Jha’s article provides insights into the ways AI can be mobilized for progress in cancer research. Dr. Sampat Vadera’s article introduces the Jodhpur City Knowledge and Innovation Cluster, an ambitious multi-institutional collaboration combining the interfaces of government, academia and industry to augment and improve life in Jodhpur through innovations in medical technologies, water treatment, e-governance and craft. An exciting article on tissue engineering by Dr. Indranil Banerjee allows readers who are not from the field to gain useful perspectives. This and much more, you will find in this issue of TechScape, although this Editorial can only do meagre justice to describing all of it.
The Publications Committee is grateful to all the people who are helping TechScape move from strength to strength. We remain committed to our objectives of making domain-specific and highly specialized knowledge accessible to a larger audience through this journal.
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
The Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) Innovation lab at IIT Jodhpur was established on November 20, 2020. The lab is a joint initiative between IIT Jodhpur and Samsung R&D Institute India-Delhi (SRI-D). The lab, located at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, was virtually inaugurated by Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India, in the esteemed presence of Ms. Mugdha Sinha, Secretary, Art, Literature, Culture, Government of Rajasthan. On this occasion, other dignitaries who were also present included Mr. Deokho Kim, Managing Director, Samsung Research & Development Institute, Delhi, Dr. Kaushik Saha, CTO, Samsung R&D Institute, India, and Prof. Santanu Chaudhury, Director, IIT Jodhpur.
The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and high-end equipment, allowing the users to create technology solutions and stimulate skilling and reskilling educational programs in AR-VR, which can have a transformative impact on society and technology. The lab is a part of Samsung Digital Academy, which is the company’s corporate social initiative. It aims to bridge the country’s digital divide and proficiency gaps by skilling students in Digital Heritage, Immersive Experience, and Human-Computer Interaction. As AR and VR are finding applications in diverse fields like education, industrial design, robotics, infrastructure management, and medicine, students of different programs in the Institute will take advantage of this facility. Courses at the lab would be run by Samsung engineers in conjunction with the faculty of IIT-Jodhpur and will be offered to students of IIT Jodhpur.
Dr. Chiranjoy Chattopadhyay
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering
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 with interdisciplinary breadth. With this focus, IIT Jodhpur has started four new B.Tech. Programs from A.Y. 2020-21 and the unique features of these programs are highlighted through this article.
B.Tech. in AI & Data Science
While Artificial Intelligence aims to create machines to act with higher levels of intelligence and emulate the human capabilities of sense, comprehend and act, Data Science is the art of generating insight, knowledge and predictions by processing data pertaining to a system or a process. The future industry will be driven by the synergistic combination of data science and artificial intelligence. IIT Jodhpur offers a unique undergraduate program in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science from the academic session 2020-21. The curriculum includes courses in computer science, mathematics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and their applications in various domains. The course structure also provides opportunities to the students to explore specialized areas like visual computing, socio-digital realities, language technologies, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence of things. Building on the core background of AI and Data Science, students will have the opportunity to pursue MBA (Tech) in the fifth year as a dual-degree option in the School of Management and Entrepreneurship. An interesting feature of the B.Tech. program is the opportunity for the interested students to choose a minor area which would prepare them for an entrepreneurial career in the field of AI and Data Science. Under the broad umbrella of IIT Jodhpur’s unique proposition of AI for everything, students belonging to this academic program in B.Tech. in AI and Data Sciences will be part of scientific innovations for solving local and global engineering and social problems in close collaboration with industry. Students will be part of institute’s initiatives for ensuring better life and livelihood for all with AI as the enabling force. Unlike many other institutes, IIT Jodhpur would like AI and Data Science students to explore transdisciplinary research agenda fostering collaborative opportunities across all the departments of IIT Jodhpur and partner organizations.
B.Tech. in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering
IIT Jodhpur offers a unique undergraduate program in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering commencing from the academic year 2020-2021. The rapidly urbanizing society and increasing quality of life, demand reliable and intelligent infrastructure systems that cater to the needs of the society, from an individual to a community level. Consequently, the Civil and Infrastructure industry has undergone profound changes and is constantly evolving. The new-age designs and innovations in civil and infrastructure industry can only be driven by a group of engineering graduates who have multidisciplinary training and a sound understanding of emerging technologies. From this standpoint, the IIT Jodhpur has made a stride to reimagine the course structure that integrates and incorporates the elements of conventional Civil engineering with advanced transformative technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cyber-Physical System (CPS), and Digital Twins (DT). Additionally, a major thrust is also planned on the design, implementation, and maintenance of large-scale integrated infrastructure systems across different domains. The curriculum includes courses from the major domains, namely, Geotechnical Engineering, Water Resources Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure, Environmental Engineering, Transportation engineering, Structural Engineering, Smart infrastructure Technology, and Infrastructure Systems. The courses would provide an expanded but holistic understanding of different civil and infrastructure systems and an in-depth understanding of the differences, similarities, and relations between different scales and components of it. They are designed in a unique way to gain the ability to take a multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving, and willingness to go beyond conventional paths. The course structure will also help students to have a thorough understanding of green and sustainable materials, practices, and principles for designing resilient infrastructure systems using safe methodologies coupled with advanced technologies such as AI, DT, CPS, and Internet of Things (IoT).
B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering
World has changed in the last few months and is facing several new challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic. None the less, this has also opened up new opportunities in Chemical Engineering and for future Chemical Engineers. Through the B.Tech. program in Chemical Engineering, IIT Jodhpur is making a conscious effort to chart out a new path and establish itself to become a leading institute in this new genre of Chemical Engineering Education. The objective of the B.Tech. program in Chemical Engineering at IIT Jodhpur is to empower students with emerging concepts in chemical engineering with a solid base in fundamentals like chemical reaction engineering, fluid mechanics, heat transfer, mass transfer, transport phenomena, process control, and thermodynamics. In addition, students will have exposure to several newer areas including intelligent process engineering, molecular engineering, sustainability, complex fluids and interfacial Engineering, and biochemical engineering. Translation of molecular information into the discovery of new products and processes will play an important role. With Industry 4.0 transforming the chemical industry, AI and IOT for chemical engineering forms an integral part of the new curriculum. In summary, Chemical Engineering program at IIT Jodhpur has been formulated to produce future-ready chemical engineers capable of meeting new industrial challenges. The program has several unique opportunities and flexibilities inbuilt for the students, which are quite different from else-where. As a part of 4-Year program, a student can do department specialization in (i) Process Engineering Intelligence; (ii) Molecular Engineering; or (iii) Sustainability. The student has an option to do Minor in (i) Management; (ii) Entrepreneurship; (iii) Data Science; or (iv) Interdisciplinary Areas such as AI, Robotics, etc. The student will have the choice to opt for a double B.Tech. within the 4-Year program through extra credits. Option to convert B.Tech. into 5-Year B.Tech.+MBA(Tech.) or B.Tech.+M.Tech. is also available to the student in the 7th semester. An important option to pursue entrepreneurship and engineering innovation is available for the willing student in the 8th semester. B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering at IIT Jodhpur is full of opportunities and flexibilities for the students. Sky is the limit
B.Tech. Materials Engineering curriculum is designed to cover the breadth and adequate depth through foundational courses, program compulsory courses, program elective courses, and open electives. Courses, such as, Scientific Computation, Machine Learning, Data Structure and Algorithm, Signals and Systems, and Computational Materials Modelling are made integral part of the B.Tech. curriculum to equip the students with relevant skill sets required for the emerging industry-demanding areas of Computational Materials Design, Process Modelling, Process Control, Structural Health Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance, etc., to name a few. Courses such as Electronic Materials, Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion, Smart Materials have been made program compulsory keeping in view the increasing demand of new functional materials in Electronics and Energy sectors. The program compulsory and program electives are offered from a wide basket of courses from four major streams of Materials Engineering - Structural Materials, Functional Materials, Computational Materials Engineering, and Process Metallurgy. For further depth in the curriculum, the Department also offers optional specializations in these major streams. The students can choose either a department specialization or an interdisciplinary specialization in demand-driven areas such as Artificial Intelligence, Energy Materials, Smart Healthcare, etc., and may do B.Tech. project in the area of specialization. The unique undergraduate program offers several options to the students, who based on their interest can choose department specialization, interdisciplinary specialization, Minor in areas such as Data Science, Management, and Entrepreneurship. The students can also opt to do B.Tech.-MBA dual degree. The B.Tech. program offers a unique flexibility to students to plan their career path based on their interest while taking industry requirement into consideration. The students will be part of technological innovations for solving engineering and social problems through materials solutions in close collaboration with industry.
Dr. Suril Vijaykumar Shah
Associate Dean (Academics – UG Programs), IIT Jodhpur
The internationalization of academic programs and research activities is becoming important for academic institutes in India due to thrust towards globalization of education system and introduction of new education policy. IIT Jodhpur made concentrated efforts during last one year to establish connect with the global universities for exploring possibilities related to student-faculty exchange programs, joint research guidance and projects, sharing of resources for mutually beneficial goals, joint academic programs, joint workshops and conferences etc. The institute has signed MoUs with multiple universities in the recent past to meet some of these objectives.
Virtual MoU signing Ceremony with University of Western Australia
Dr. Kaushal A. Desai
Associate Dean, International Relations, IIT Jodhpur
Image 1: The Happy Dance
In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Lear asks one of his blinded companions, how he “sees” the world through his blindness. The amused companion responds saying that he sees the world not with his eyes, but with a fullness of his heart. What we learn from Shakespeare’s most vital characters, is this deep sense of empathy for the world.
The scientist, James Lovelock, while simultaneously studying the planetary ecologies of Mars and the Earth, discovered that the earth was a ‘single living self-regulating system’ and his new insights revealed that the earth has the tenacious ability for homeostasis. According to Lovelock, this mutually symbiotic process between all life forms makes it impossible for human beings to claim pole position in the evolution of life. It is this deep connection, this empathy for the planet that Shakespeare’s character refers to.
The emergence of the Environmental Humanities: Beyond Boundaries
The field of environmental humanities has emerged as a new ‘interdisciplinary matrix’ over the last decade. It seeks to study and understand the interrelationship between humans and nature. It is mindful of the organic web of mutuality that lays the foundation for all ecocritical thought, where the whole world is viewed as a continuum. In engaging with new archives, tools and communications venues, “environmental humanists seek to make the differences between their own home disciplines productive rather than divisive” (Bergaher et al). The discipline engages in a spectrum of conversations with ecocritics, humanists, scientists, engineers, activists, policy makers, social scientists, artists, writers, film makers and philosophers, drawing insights from a wide range of disciplines and partnering both within and outside academia.
A globally significant and emerging field, it seeks to harness the interpretative powers of the Humanities and Social Sciences and seeks to contextualise technologies and policies. It differs from nature writing in the sense it is grounded in the understanding of “ecological crises as a basic cultural process” (Heise 2018), and seeks to create a more sustainable world for humans, the biota and the abiota – our co-inhabitants of the planet.
The Age of the Anthropocene - Difficult Dialogues
It was the atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen who came up with the term Anthropocene to describe the present epoch that we live in. He went on to make a case for the Anthropocene in his article in Nature, in the year 2002, stating that it is increasingly accepted, that the planet has approached a new geological epoch – The Anthropocene. The etymology of the word Anthropocene is derived from the Greek word anthropo for “man” and cene for “new”, and roughly translated, means an epoch where human activities have altered ecosystems in ways unimaginable, and on unprecedented geological scales.
While the Anthropocene epoch still remains an unofficial unit of geologic time, and has not been formally adopted by the International Union of Geological Sciences, (IUGS) which names and defines epochs, there is no denying that our present societal changes have caused and continue to cause a tremendous dent on the blue planet. Taken in its entirety, the planetary ecological crisis has presently reached a magnitude perhaps even beyond human comprehension. Depletion of natural habitats, global warming, acidification of oceans, climate anomalies and systematic subversion of indigenous cultures are some of the issues that instil a sense of urgency and a desperate need to act to halt global ecological decimation.
In his seminal essay, ‘The Climate of History’ Dipesh Chakrabarty observes that historians will have to revisit many fundamental assumptions and procedures in this era of human-induced climate change where, “humans have become geological agents, changing the most basic physical processes of the earth”(197-198). In his work The Great Derangement : Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), Amitav Ghosh goes a step further and states “The Anthropocene presents a challenge not only to the arts and humanities, but also to our common-sense understandings” (12) and to contemporary culture in general. Climate crisis therefore is also viewed as a crisis of culture.
Reimagining Sociocultural Entanglements through Environmental Humanities
Scratch the surface of any culture and you will find a fascinating, disturbing and potentially beautiful story – that are both local particularities and simultaneously accessible universalities. It is believed that from every corner of the earth, wherever human beings reside or transit through, there are unique and significant exchanges between human culture and the natural world. Typically, these expressions may be a result of native, indigenous, colonial, post-colonial, neo colonial practices and expressions or beyond.
How does the knowledge of human entanglement with the environment affect cultural production? What do specific power structures mean to society at large? Are there literary texts/genres, creative nonfiction and fiction, art installations, aesthetic digitization, visual narratives, experiential data, all of that which offer alternative voices and insights that are inclusive, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable? Do these alternatives help us in reimagining our socio-cultural structures that complement mainstream scientific discourses on sustainable solutions and development? Environmental Humanities often poses these questions, simultaneously providing an equitable space for innovative cultural strategies and forms that are willing to go beyond the conventional academic engagement of teaching and research.
Environmental narratives around the world are often disparate and unequal, sometimes where voices are muffled, for various reasons, and seek urgent international attention since we are all participants on this shared and troubled planet. Environmental Humanities as a discourse seeks to address these issues respectfully and sensitively.
Sustainable Narratives and Public Outreach through Environmental Humanities: A Film on self-reliance (Atmanirbhar Bharat) and Sustainability from IIT Jodhpur
A clarion call for sustainable societies and self-reliance or Atmanirbhar Bharat have been consistently reiterated by the Government of India. Self- Reliance is the need of the hour, with a focus on sustainable economies, infrastructure, systems, demography and demand as the five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
We, at IIT Jodhpur with an international public outreach grant from Germany and a seed grant funding from IIT Jodhpur decided to create a short documentary film to showcase a remote Indian village in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan that has managed to be a model village for self-reliance or Atmanirbharata.
The short film titled Under another sky is an uplifting story about a unique, remote village in India called Piplantri. The village is situated in the Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, India and celebrates the birth of every girl child by planting 111 trees. Situated at the confluence of environment, local ecologies, mining, gender, education, empowerment and self-reliance, the film documents this model village which is an exemplar of Atmanirbharta. Located in a state which produces 90 percent of mined marble in the country and 11 percent of the global market, the villagers decided to use the marble mined land as a palimpsest to rewrite their local histories. The village has planted a quarter million trees over the last six years. The collective initiatives, community building resilience and several government schemes have empowered the people – especially the women, both financially and emotionally. The film addresses issues of the environment, that are both local and global - sustainability, stewardship, a deep passion to preserve our planet through the lens of the environment and aesthetic entanglement.
Reflection, research and the praxis of environmental humanities has made one more mindful of one’s role – both as a witness and as a participant in this beautiful planetary narrative. The air hangs dense with peace and silence on a winter morning, on this 800 odd acre spectacular campus where I live. Lack of raucous humans has made the campus stark and naked. Birds of all kinds are my avian-circadian rhythm keepers.
This morning as I change the lens on my EOS 600 to focus on a peacock, lest I miss him in the wilderness, I see he is not afraid. He is patient. I see him through my viewfinder… his eyes are focussed on my lens. Suddenly, I am a little shaken by a flutter of wings…he does a dramatic and flirtatious display of his brilliant plumes and insists on doing the happy dance for me.
We both see each other – me through my lens and he through his eyes. The moment is visceral. Visceral, in other words simply means “the fullness of the heart”.
This is all we’ve got!
 Bergthaller, Hannes, Rob Emmett, Adeline Johns-Putra, Agnes Kneitz, Susanna Lidström, Shane McCorristine, Isabel Pérez Ramos, Dana Phillips, Kate Rigby, and Libby Robin, “Mapping Common Ground: Ecocriticism, Environmental History, and the Environmental Humanities,” Environmental Humanities 5, no. 1 (2014): 261-76. doi:10.1215/22011919-3615505.
 D. Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 197–222, Jan. 2009, doi: 10.1086/596640.
 A. Ghosh, The great derangement: climate change and the unthinkable, Paperback edition. Chicago London: The University of Chicago Press, 2017.
 U. K. Heise, J. Christensen, and M. Niemann, Eds., The Routledge companion to the environmental humanities. London ; New York, NY: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2017.
 A. Primavesi, Gaia’s gift: earth, ourselves, and God after Copernicus. London ; New York: Routledge, 2003.
 S. Slovic, S. Rangarajan, and V. Sarveswaran, Eds., Ecocriticism of the global South. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2015.
Image Copyrights – Vidya Sarveswaran.
You tube link for the film - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQZdDmC_W5w&t=4s
Dr. Vidya Sarveswaran
Associate Professor, Department of Humanities & Social Sciences
Quantum bits or qubits play a vital role in Quantum computation and to be able to manufacture qubits at will is a prerequisite for any quantum lab. Qubits differ from normal bits in the fact that instead of being limited to either 1 or 0, it exists in superposition and can be entangled. Our short term goal was to manufacture and characterize two qubit Bell states using spontaneous parametric downconversion (SPDC) which would act as the groundwork for future quantum experiments. Bell states are four maximally entangled 2 qubit states, all of which have a maximal value of . These are 2 qubit states which are in an equal superposition that takes one of the following four forms
To confirm that we are indeed producing the Bell state or any other entangled state we choose, some means of characterizing and also representing the produced state needs to be adopted and quantum state tomography is just that.
The concept of the quantum state is key to understanding quantum tomography. Any state, Quantum or Classical, is simply the set of all the things that we know about a particular system. A state can contain any number of ‘facts’ about the system that may be of use. These facts can be used to describe the current configuration or situation of the system under examination. For example, to describe the state of a ball we can specify its position with respect to some origin, its momentum or velocity if it is in motion, its size, colour, brand or any other property or attribute that may help to set our ball apart from everything else. This is the classical example of a state.
A quantum state is analogous to the previous example but there are some very stark differences. Until measured, a quantum system is assumed to not be in any single state. In other words, a quantum system is thought of as existing in all possible states simultaneously. This property is referred to as superposition. This means that Quantum mechanics deals in probabilities instead of actual values.
Measurement returns a single value but disturbs the quantum system in a way that it is no longer in superposition. In other words a measurement will give a classical state from a quantum state by taking away the superposition.
It is therefore essential to discuss the methods of state representation. There are two types of states: Pure states and mixed states. If the state in question can be described by a state vector it is considered pure otherwise it is a mixed state. A density matrix can be used to describe both mixed and pure states. There are certain rules that a density matrix must adhere to in order to remain a physical and realistic representation of the state of quantum system. An important property worth noting is that the trace of the square of the density matrix must not exceed one. Most quantum systems exist in mixed states and as a result the concept of the density matrix is essential to understand what state has been produced at the end of an experiment. So now the focus is on how to extract information about a state from an experiment and form its density matrix. But there is a problem here; once a quantum state is measured, it loses its superposition and collapses to a classical state. This means that if we attempt to find out what the state of a quantum system is, it will cease to be a quantum system. This would imply that it is impossible to use any quantum resource if measuring it will destroy the property that made it so appealing in the first place. So why not simply create the same state n- number of times? The no-cloning theorem forbids specifically this. According to this postulate of quantum mechanics, it is impossible to create an exactly identical copy of an arbitrary unknown quantum state. Things might seem hopeless at this point but there is a way out and it is called Quantum state Tomography. To get around the no cloning theorem, it is possible to manufacture a large number of identically prepared states and conduct a series of projective measurements on them and from the results of these measurements arrive at a reasonably accurate density matrix. The process of reconstructing the density matrix of an arbitrary unknown state through above mentioned process is referred to as quantum state tomography. For photon polarization based two qubit state characterization, projective measurements are essential for the reconstruction.
Projective measurements in experiments related to SPDC utilize the Stoke’s parameters to selectively project the unknown state onto a set of known states of polarization, one by one. Here the measurement parameter is the photon count that is registered by the detector after the projective apparatus is set to transmit only one particular state. To project the unknown state onto a polarization state of the experimenter’s choosing, three optical elements are placed in front of each detector in the following order: a quarter wave plate, a half wave plate and a linear polarizer or a polarizing beam splitter. The angles of the fast axes of both wave plates can be set arbitrarily which means that the unknown state can be projected onto any desired state by setting the relative angles of the fast axes of the wave plates.
Figure 1: The kind of setup used for tomography of the state obtained from SPDC
The figure shows the kind of setup used for tomography of the state obtained from SPDC. However this is the case for 2 qubit tomography.
The qubit is the basic unit of quantum information and computing. It is analogous to the classical bit which can either be a zero or a one and is the basis of current computational technology. The qubit differs in the fact that it is more of a superposition of the two states |0> and |1>. With superposition, we can encode an exponential amount of information that can scale a solution better than classical computing. Such qubits are represented by an ideal two-state quantum system.
In the specific case of polarization qubit systems, the measurable parameter will be the coincidence counts .The coincidence counter registers a count only when both detectors click within a very small time window. Light from the source will fall on the detector past the Stoke’s parameter arrangement only when there is a component of the projector state in the unknown state. The unknown state will have to be projected onto 4n different known states, where n is the number of qubits in the unknown state.
The goal of tomography is reconstruct the density matrix of the unknown quantum state from the set of coincidence counts, . For this we will need to introduce a family of matrices which are in some way connected to the projector states. These are termed the matrices. These matrices are required to possess certain properties. They must form an orthonormal basis and more importantly, they should be able to express any matrix in terms of a product between itself and the matrix. Mathematically this will look like where is any matrix of the same dimensions as . Conveniently, these matrices can be derived from the Pauli spin matrices. The second property allows for the density matrix to be expressed in terms of the matrices. Cutting to the end, it can be shown that the density matrix can be obtained from the coincidence counts through an expression that involves a family of matrices derived from the matrices through some rigorous mathematical manipulation as
A sample set of coincidence count values lifted from literature can be used to verify the competence of the Mathematica code written. For the coincidence data set
We were able to the correct density matrix.
This meant that when we eventually acquire coincidence data from our own experiment, we could obtain the tomographic density matrix at the click of a button with the full knowledge that it was accurate.
However, the results obtained through tomographic measurement techniques often have certain problems. Most of the time, the results obtained violate basic but very important principles like positivity. The density matrices obtained using this technique are often unphysical. The culprits here are the statistical fluctuations of the coincidence counts as well as experimental inaccuracy. What this means is that the counts collected from an experiment may not be as accurate as we imagined. There are several factors that can cause a coincidence count irregularity such as spurious counts from the detector, stray background light and other factors we have no control over. However this does not mean that quantum tomography is useless. The Technique of Maximum Likelihood Estimation can be employed in this scenario to iron out the kinks. MLE is a constrained optimization technique where the space of all allowed, physical density matrices is searched using the optimization algorithm for the one with the highest probability to result in the measured counts.
MLE is a three step process:
Once the optimal t-parameter values are obtained, these values can be substituted into the expression for and the resulting matrix will be the best estimate for the density matrix derived from the experimental data. This matrix can be represented by. We performed MLE on the density matrix obtained earlier and ended up with a perfectly physical density matrix
To be able to characterize the state being generated in any quantum optics experiment is paramount and at the moment we are fully equipped to tackle 2 qubit characterization and have the knowhow to extend these techniques to characterize states with any number of qubits.
 H. Singh, Arvind, and K. Dorai, “Constructing valid density matrices on an NMR quantum information processor via maximum likelihood estimation,” Physics Letters A, vol. 380, no. 38, pp. 3051–3056, Sep. 2016, doi: 10.1016/j.physleta.2016.07.046.
 Z. Hradil, “Quantum-state estimation,” Phys. Rev. A, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. R1561–R1564, Mar. 1997, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.55.R1561.
 A. C. Keith, C. H. Baldwin, S. Glancy, and E. Knill, “Joint quantum-state and measurement tomography with incomplete measurements,” Phys. Rev. A, vol. 98, no. 4, p. 042318, Oct. 2018, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.98.042318.
 J. B. Altepeter, E. R. Jeffrey, and P. G. Kwiat, “Photonic State Tomography,” in Advances In Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, vol. 52, Elsevier, 2005, pp. 105–159 [Online]. Available: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1049250X05520032.
 D. F. V. James, P. G. Kwiat, W. J. Munro, and A. G. White, “Measurement of qubits,” Phys. Rev. A, vol. 64, no. 5, p. 052312, Oct. 2001, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.64.052312.
Roy Philip George K A
Project Student, Department of Physics
Project Student, Department of Physics
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
Associate Professor, Department of Physics
The maintenance of cellular homeostasis is essential for survival and cells have multiple systems for it, with the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy being the two major ones. The UPS generally involves targeting of smaller proteins and polypeptides for degradation and autophagy involves degradation of larger proteins, their aggregates, and even cellular organelles like mitochondria and the ER. The UPS is a crucial regulatory system for maintenance of the proteostasis in the cell cytosol and dysregulation and/or imbalances in this system can increase the propensity for the aggregation of cellular proteins. This aggregation of misfolded proteins and their accumulation can lead to the genesis of different neurological pathologies and imperfect ageing. This system involves the sequential action of certain enzymes in order to tag the target protein with the small protein: ubiquitin. Consequently, this ubiquitinated protein can be marked for proteasomal degradation to maintain the protein homeostasis in the cell.
The key enzymes are E1, which activates ubiquitin; E2, which conjugates ubiquitin, and finally E3. Acting sequentially E1, E2, and E3 and are involved in activation of ubiquitin by E1 and transfer of this thioester of ubiquitin to the E2 and lastly E3 catalyses the formation of the isopeptide bond between ubiquitin and the target protein. Our lab focuses on different E3 enzymes like LRSAM1, E6AP, MGRN1, among others as well as the proteasome to investigate their involvement in homeostasis. We also study the effects of their perturbations (e.g., by mutations) on the cellular protein quality and aggregation. We also investigate the effect of different natural and synthetic compounds, and nanoparticles on different components of UPS and their effects on cellular physiology in normal and disease conditions. Our research interests also lie in the chaperone network in the cell and its association with the UPS.
Autophagy is one of the key regulators of protein quality control in cells. Autophagy is the process of “self- eating” and involves the degradation of damaged intracellular components and cytotoxic protein aggregates in a lysosome dependent manner. It has many types like microautophagy, chaperone assisted selective autophagy, chaperone mediated autophagy and macroautophagy. The macroautophagy is sometimes called bulk autophagy and it may be selective or non-selective in nature. For selectivity of cargo many chaperones and molecules are required. In the process of autophagy, the cargo is selected and is sequestered in a double membrane vesicle which then fuses with lysosome and in presence of lytic enzymes the degradation takes place. chaperone mediated autophagy (CMA) can identify and target soluble cytosolic proteins with help of a pentapeptide sequence KFERQ. Overall autophagy is important for eliminating and degrading the toxic proteins and organelles of the cell and provides a survival mechanism to cells in case of nutrient deprivation. Autophagy maintains the homeostatic balance of cells makes available the nutrient metabolites for many mechanisms like tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) cycle by recycling.
Any deviation in function of autophagy may lead to serious diseased conditions like neurodegeneration. The failure of autophagic machinery may lead to accumulation of aggregated cytotoxic misfolded proteins in neurons and lead to degeneration of neurons. The pathophysiology of many neurodegenerative diseases has the common link of failed autophagy mechanisms. There are several molecules and ATG genes that are involved in autophagy with intricate pathways, maintaining the autophagic flux in the cells. All these pathways and molecules are potential therapeutic targets for modulation of autophagy in a diseased condition. Our lab is interested in studying this complex mechanism in different diseased conditions and is attempting to establish the link between them. We can identify the co-localization of an autophagic target molecule like p62 and can explore the autophagic status in different cell types in different conditions. We can identify new drug molecules that are interacting with autophagic molecules and are presenting desired effects. Our team focuses on investigating multiple aspects of the above-mentioned systems of protein quality control and their regulation and modulation, to improve our understanding of this machinery and neurodegenerative diseases.
Further Details: http://home.iitj.ac.in/~amit/
Dr. Amit Mishra
Associate Professor, Department of Bioscience & Bioengineering
‘Singularity’ is a mathematical term that refers to a critical point where a given mathematical function is infinite or not differentiable. Analogically, a mathematical model of a physical system hosts some singular points or singularities in its parametric space, which are fundamentally different from their neighboring points and at which the behavior of the respective physical system is not well-defined. The hosting of such singularities in different physical systems has attracted enormous attention due to their unconventional functionalities and new physical insights. The most famous example of a singularity is studied in the context of gravitational-singularities in the general theory of relativity, which is the center of a black-hole that accommodates a huge mass in an infinitely small space (can be considered as a one-dimensional point). Here, we have explored the intriguing features of a new class of singularities, namely Exceptional Points (EPs), which usually appeared in open systems, i.e., the systems that interact with their surroundings. The open systems are well-defined by the non-Hermitian formulation in quantum mechanics, and in this context, the term "Exceptional Point" was first introduced by T. Kato in 1966 while studying the perturbation theory of a non-Hermitian operator .
In quantum systems, a singularity appears as a degeneracy that indicates a particular point in the system parameter space where two or more eigenvalues can exist simultaneously, i.e., where the corresponding states have the same value of energy upon measurement. If a general class of Hamiltonian H(λ) depends on a complex variable , then the eigenvalues En(λ) and the corresponding eigenvectors |n(λ)⟩ of H can be represented as analytic functions except at some singularities in the complex parameter space λ=EP, which are called exceptional points. Even though such concept of EPs was introduced in a purely mathematical context, after a long time, the physical interpretation of EPs in connection to the avoided resonance crossings (ARCs) among the coupled resonance states was first reported in 1990 by W. D. Heiss and A. L. Sannino in the context of quantum chaos in open systems . While a two-level system exhibiting an ARC, the coupled eigenvalues and corresponding eigenstates of the underlying Hamiltonian simultaneously coalesce at an EP and hence are analytically connected through a square-root singular point . More specifically, such an EP can be called as a second-order EP (EP2). After coalescence, there exists only one independent eigenvector that becomes self-orthogonal and takes a huge magnitude. Hence, the eigen-space dimensionality collapses at an EP, and therefore, the underlying Hamiltonian becomes defective, referring to the EP as a topological defect. In this context, an EP of order three (EP3) can be defined as the coalescence of three coupled states; however, the presence of two connecting EP2s among three coupled states can lead to the similar topological functionalities of an EP3 . Here, the term 'coalescence' to define an EP is genuinely different from a conventional degeneracy, like a diabolic point (DP), that usually (however, not only) appears in Hermitian systems, where only two eigenvalues coincide, but the corresponding eigenstates still remain independent and orthogonal.
Over the past two decades, extensive theoretical, as well as experimental efforts have been put forward to explore the fundamental features of the second-and third-order EPs in a wide range of open systems [4, 5] such as optical microcavity and waveguide arrangements, laser systems, photonic crystals, and also in some non-optical systems, including atomic spectrum, microwave systems, and opto-mechanical systems. Especially in the photonics domain, recent advanced technologies to implement EPs in various gain-loss assisted photonic systems offer a potential platform to meet a range of interesting applications associated with the topological control of light-matter interactions . The most astonishing applications of EPs have schematically been shown in Figure 1(a).
Figure. 1: (a) Schematic representation of some interesting applications of EPs. (b) comparison between a DP and an EP concerning the response to the external perturbation. (c) Distribution of the Riemann surfaces of two coupled eigenvalues around an EP, including the state-flipping mechanism following a stroboscopic encirclement in the system’s parameter space (P1 and P2 refer two control parameters).
Instead of a DP, the presence of an EP plays a crucial role for sensing the external perturbation, where the order of the EPs dictates the enhancement in the sensitivity measurement. In a system operating around a DP, the resulting eigenvalue splitting is proportional to the perturbation strength, say, . On the other hand, for a system with an Nth-order exceptional point, the splitting induced by the perturbation scales as 1/N [as can be seen in Figure 1(b)]. Hence, for a sufficiently small perturbation, the splitting at the EP is sufficiently larger than the splitting at conventional DP. Moreover, the cube-root response of an EP3 is extremely sensitive to the external perturbation compared to the square-root response of an EP2 .
The branch point behavior of the EPs can be established by encircling a particular EP with a sufficiently slow variation of coupling control parameters, which yield a successive state-transfer phenomenon among the corresponding coupled states . Here, the coupled eigenvalues adiabatically exchange their positions from their respective Riemann sheets (parameter dependent eigenvalue plane), besides accumulating an additional Berry's phase by one of the associated eigenstates. Such a state-transfer process has schematically been shown in Figure 1(c). Now, if we consider dynamical (time or length-scale dependent) parametric variation around an EP, then the system's adiabaticity breaks down, enabling nonadiabatic dynamics of the coupled eigenstates with asymmetric population transfer [7, 8]. Here, one of the eigenstates that evolve with lower average loss behaves adiabatically, and the others behave non-adiabatically. Such asymmetric state-dynamics are associated with the chiral property of the underlying system, where regardless of the choice of inputs, the direction of the encirclement process decides the expected output.
Here, we have systematically investigated the hosting of parametrically encircled EPs of different orders in some specially designed prototype optical microcavity [3, 6] and waveguide [7—10] configurations to explore two unique specialty all-optical applications viz. successive state-conversion and asymmetric mode switching for integrated devices.
Figure 2: (a) Schematic of a two-port open 1D Fabry-Pérot type optical microcavity. (b) Coalescence of two coupled cavity-states at an EP2. (c) Flip-of-state mechanism between two coupled cavity-states following a parametric encirclement process around the corresponding EP2. (d) Successive state-flipping mechanism among three coupled cavity-states following a parametric encirclement process around an EP3 with the simultaneous presence of two connecting EP2s.
We have designed a specially configured scalable two-port open 1D Fabry-Pérot type optical microcavity, as schematically shown in Figure 2(a) to host multiple EPs up to order three [3, 6]. Here, non-Hermiticity has been introduced in terms of unbalanced gain-loss profiles, and customizing the gain-loss profile based on two coupling control parameters viz. gain-coefficient () and loss-to-gain ratio (), we have modulated the interactions among the chosen coupled cavity-states via special ARCs phenomena. We have adopted the standard scattering-matrix (S-matrix) formalism to calculate the cavity-states, where the complex poles of the associated S-matrix, appearing in the fourth quadrant of the complex frequency (k) plane, represents the physical cavity-states. Now varying the coupling control parameters, we have encountered an EP2 by investigating the coalescence of two coupled cavity-states, as can be seen in Figure 2(b). Similarly, we can identify multiple EP2s among different pairs of coupled states within a chosen frequency range. It has been observed that under one-to-one coupling restriction between the cavity states, multiple EP2s encountered in the system's parameter space are distributed along a straight-line, which has been termed as an Exceptional line . The presence of an exceptional line offers a new degree-of-freedom in cavity-state manipulation in such specialty optical cavities. Now encircling a particular EP2 in the parameter plane, we have explored a robust flip-of-state mechanism, where two corresponding coupled states exchange their initial positions in the complex k-plane with the completion of the parametric encirclement process in the parameter plane. Figure 2(c) represents such a flip-of-state mechanism . Moreover, identifying two connecting EP2s among three coupled states, we have encountered an EP3. The parametric encirclement process around the embedded EP3 in the presence of two associated connecting EP2s enables a successive state transfer mechanism among three coupled states, which has been shown in Figure 2(d) . With the state-of-the-art fabrication techniques, such specially configured gain-loss microcavities may open a new platform for cavity-based integrated photonic devices.
In addition to the stroboscopic (time-independent) parametric encirclement of EPs in microcavity configurations, the dynamical EP encirclement scheme with time- or analogous length-dependent parametric variation has been implemented in 1D planar optical waveguides to study the novel propagation characteristics of light around an EP [7—10]. In this context, a 1D step-index planar optical waveguide has been designed, which has schematically been shown in Figure 3(a). Here, the different orders of EPs (up to order three) have been encountered by customizing the system's non-Hermiticity in terms of unbalanced gain-loss profiles. In this context, an all-lossy waveguide has exclusively been designed to lessen the excess gain-induced noise and avoid the unwanted gain-guided modes in the light-guidance mechanism . Now, considering a dynamical EP2-encirclement process [as shown in Figure 3(b)], a unique chirality-driven asymmetric-mode-conversion scheme has been proposed using the framework of a dual-mode waveguide, for which light is converted into two different dominating modes while propagating in two different directions through the waveguide. Here, the device chirality in terms of the direction of light propagation (i.e., the direction of EP2 encirclement process) decides the dominating output, irrespective of the choice of inputs [as can be seen in Figure 3(c)] [7—9]. Furthermore, a six-mode supported optical waveguide has been investigated to study the effect of the dynamical EP3 encirclement process on the propagations of the eigenmodes. Here, we have observed a nonchiral light dynamics, where irrespective of both the choice of inputs and the propagation direction, the chosen modes are converted to a particular higher-order mode. Such a nonchiral light propagation has been shown in Figure 3(d) . Thus, the proposed schemes offer EPs as a unique tool for topological control of light signals in integrated devices. Besides the strong impact in fundamental physics, the potential EP-aided applications would certainly emerge the technologies for next-generation communication and computing.
Figure 3: (a) Schematic of a planar step-index optical waveguide. (b) Dynamical EP2 encirclement scheme with length dependent gain-loss distribution. (c) Chiral light dynamics following a dynamical EP2 encirclement scheme, where irrespective of the inputs, both the coupled modes are converted to a particular dominating mode depending on the direction of encirclement process. (d) A nonchiral light dynamics following a dynamical EP3 encirclement scheme, where irrespective of the inputs and the direction of encirclement, the coupled modes are converted to a particular dominating mode.
The topological applications of EPs have an immense potential to boost integrated optical technologies in the near future. In this context, instead of only EP2s and EP3s, the chiral aspect of higher-order EPs (of the order of more than three) can be explored using suitable optical devices, which would be useful for selective higher-order mode conversion. EPs can be implemented in optical systems hosting photonic band-gap guided modes, which would open an entirely new direction in the context of topology restricted light guidance in waveguide lattices and disordered optical systems. Moreover, the research community has been looking forward to the appropriate implementation of EPs in optical fibers, which would certainly bring revolution in the future all-optical communication systems.
 T. Kato, Perturbation Theory for Linear Operators, 2nd ed. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1995 [Online]. Available: https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783540586616.
 W. D. Heiss and A. L. Sannino, “Avoided level crossing and exceptional points,” J. Phys. A: Math. Gen., vol. 23, no. 7, pp. 1167–1178, Apr. 1990, doi: 10.1088/0305-4470/23/7/022.
 A. Laha, D. Beniwal, S. Dey, A. Biswas, and S. Ghosh, “Third-order exceptional point and successive switching among three states in an optical microcavity,” Phys. Rev. A, vol. 101, no. 6, p. 063829, Jun. 2020, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevA.101.063829.
 M.-A. Miri and A. Alù, “Exceptional points in optics and photonics,” Science, vol. 363, no. 6422, p. eaar7709, Jan. 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aar7709.
 Ş. K. Özdemir, S. Rotter, F. Nori, and L. Yang, “Parity–time symmetry and exceptional points in photonics,” Nat. Mater., vol. 18, no. 8, pp. 783–798, Aug. 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41563-019-0304-9.
 A. Laha, A. Biswas, and S. Ghosh, “Next-nearest-neighbor resonance coupling and exceptional singularities in degenerate optical microcavities,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. B, vol. 34, no. 10, p. 2050, Oct. 2017, doi: 10.1364/JOSAB.34.002050.
 S. N. Ghosh and Y. D. Chong, “Exceptional points and asymmetric mode conversion in quasi-guided dual-mode optical waveguides,” Sci Rep, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 19837, Apr. 2016, doi: 10.1038/srep19837.
 A. Laha, A. Biswas, and S. Ghosh, “Nonadiabatic Modal Dynamics Around Exceptional Points in an All-Lossy Dual-Mode Optical Waveguide: Toward Chirality-Driven Asymmetric Mode Conversion,” Phys. Rev. Applied, vol. 10, no. 5, p. 054008, Nov. 2018, doi: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.10.054008.
 A. Laha, S. Dey, H. K. Gandhi, A. Biswas, and S. Ghosh, “Exceptional Point and toward Mode-Selective Optical Isolation,” ACS Photonics, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 967–974, Apr. 2020, doi: 10.1021/acsphotonics.9b01646.
 S. Dey, A. Laha, and S. Ghosh, “Nonadiabatic Modal Dynamics Around a Third-order Exceptional Point in a planar waveguide,” arXiv:2004.05196 [physics], Apr. 2020 [Online]. Available: http://arxiv.org/abs/2004.05196.
Ph.D. Student, Department of Physics
Dr. Somnath Ghosh
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
Since the isolation of graphene in 2004 by Geim and Novoselov, two-dimensional (2D) materials have opened new avenues for developing next-generation electronics devices. 2D semiconducting MoS2 with a tunable bandgap, being the frontrunner of layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) family has grabbed the renewed interest of the research community by providing unprecedented device performance at the atomic scale . Our group research is focused on most vibrant gas and light sensing applications of chemical vapor deposition (CVD) grown 2D MoS2.
Figure: 2D MoS2 nanostructures for gas sensing applications
Different nanostructures including horizontal flakes, vertical flakes and nanowires network of the MoS2 were synthesized by using the CVD process and examined for gas sensing characteristics to explore the role of different adsorption sites of MoS2. It was observed that edge sites of MoS2 exhibit higher gas adsorption compared to that of terrace sites on the basal plane of MoS2 because edge sites have a large number of dangling bonds as well as high d-orbital electron density. In this context, the MoS2 nanowires sensor with high edge sites-to-volume ratio exhibited better sensitivity with detection limit to 4.2 ppb NO2 as compared to that of horizontal and vertical aligned MoS2 . Further, defect and interface engineering were simultaneously utilized for improving the gas sensing performance of the MoS2 sensor. Optimal sulfur vacancies as defects were deliberately created in vertically aligned MoS2 via thermal annealing and then, rGO nanoparticles were loaded on the sulfur vacancy containing MoS2 (Sv-MoS2) for forming rGO/Sv-MoS2 heterojunctions. P-type rGO changed the intrinsic n-type semiconducting behaviour of MoS2 into p-type via enhancing charge transfer through chemical bonding in between rGO and Sv-MoS2. As a result, p-type rGO/Sv-MoS2 sensor exhibited excellent sensitivity to NO2 with complete recovery at low temperature (50 °C) by exploiting electronic and chemical sensitization .
Despite the high sensitivity to NO2 gas at room temperature, slow response and incomplete recovery restrict MoS2 usage on a commercial gas sensing platform. To address slow response/recovery kinetics, MoS2 gas sensor was tested under thermal and optical energy sources. The temperature was capable to achieve full recovery with the expense of sensitivity, however, the sensor showed enhanced sensitivity with complete recovery at room temperature under UV light irradiation . In addition, nucleation controlled one-step CVD process to synthesize MoS2–MoO3 hybrid micro flowers using vapor transport process was developed. The MoS2–MoO3 hybrid sensor showed good response to NO2 gas with complete recovery at room temperature without using any extra energy source (temperature or UV light) . This research work helps to remove the microheater from commercial metal-oxide gas sensor technology due to gas detection at room temperature. 2D MoS2 is also explored in optoelectronics application via fabricating a photodetector using a van der Waals heterostructure of the MoS2 and rGO. This vertical out-of-plane rGO/MoS2 heterojunctions exhibited high responsivity and detectivity in visible range wavelengths with excellent stability in air ambient as a result of the synergistic effect of enhanced photoexcited carrier density and photogating effect. The potential challenges and future perspectives in the emerging MoS2 research for sensing applications are also addressed by our Group.
 R. Kumar, W. Zheng, X. Liu, J. Zhang, and M. Kumar "MoS2‐Based Nanomaterials for Room‐Temperature Gas Sensors", Adv. Mater. Technol. 5, 1901062 (2020). doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/admt.201901062
 R. Kumar, N. Goel, and M. Kumar "High performance NO2 sensor using MoS2 nanowires network", Appl. Phys. Lett. 112, 053502 (2018). doi: https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5019296
 R. Kumar, N. Goel, A.V. Agrawal, R. Raliya, S. Rajamani, G. Gupta, P. Biswas, M. Kumar, and M. Kumar "Boosting Sensing Performance of Vacancy-Containing Vertically Aligned MoS2 using rGO Particles", IEEE Sensors Journal 19, 10214 (2019). doi: 10.1109/JSEN.2019.2932106
 R. Kumar, N. Goel, and M. Kumar, "UV-Activated MoS2 Based Fast and Reversible NO2 Sensor at Room Temperature", ACS Sensors 2, 1744 (2017). doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acssensors.7b00731
 R. Kumar, N. Goel, M. Mishra, G. Gupta, M. Fanetti, M. Valant, and M. Kumar, "Growth of MoS2–MoO3 Hybrid Microflowers via Controlled Vapor Transport Process for Efficient Gas Sensing at Room Temperature", Adv. Mater. Interfaces 5, 1800071 (2018). doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/admi.201800071
Ph.D. Student, Department of Electrical Engineering
Dr. Mahesh Kumar
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering
Dr. Gupta has made significant contributions in the research areas of electrode coatings, nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage as well as in biochemical sensors for healthcare. Her research is focussed on large scale fabrication through unconventional methods of processing of nanomaterials for device applications. The focus is on developing the materials amenable to patterning and printing over large areas for scalable nanomanufacturing. Dr. Gupta’s research group has developed scalable methods for synthesis of new photoanode materials with a remarkable enhancement in the efficiency of solar cells, novel electrodes and electrolytes for ultrafast charging of supercapacitors, efficient non-noble metal electrocatalyst for water oxidation and hydrogen evolution for energy, bio-molecular sensor for glucose sensing, breathe rate analysis based on ultrafast humidity response as a healthcare device and volatile organics detection for environmental monitoring.
The specific research work of interest is the development of synthetic strategies for scalable synthesis of metal oxides and carbon nanomaterials and their functionalization via simple solution processing at low temperatures using novel precursors. Fluorinated nanocarbon with semi-ionic C-F bonds (8.02 at%) is synthesized via generalized approach for fabrication of supercapacitor that exhibited high specific capacitance, power density and rate capability . The functionalization of α-Fe2O3 with fluorine is performed that led to an order increase in magnetization and enhancement in photoelectrochemical properties . A moisture sensitive device working in a wide range of relative humidity (10% - 95% RH) with high selectivity, stability and exceptional specificity towards humidity is also realized. The fabricated humidity sensor acted as a healthcare device for breath-rate monitoring and touch-free examination of skin moisture . Ni and Co nanostructures are fabricated as active electrode material for electrocatalysis and their scalable production is enabled using single source precursors of metal alkanethiolate complexes in the form of ink for electrode fabrication. This work also resulted in the fabrication of transparent and highly efficient glucose sensors . In a recent collaborative study, an innovative photo-chemi-resistive sensor technology is developed using fluorinated SnO2 for the detection of volatile organics at low operating temperatures (~150oC). The sensor is designed in the form of a portable and wearable display with a UV-pulse based regeneration mechanism for instant use, as in the case of sequential events, a sensor in a ready-to-use form could be an urgent necessity .
Future Research Work
Environmental sensors have been given immense attention these days because of ever-increasing pollution from various toxic gases, toxic compounds and chemicals in environment - in soil, water and air. There is a need for water and air quality monitoring in our living and working spaces for healthy living. The future work will focus on developing materials for environmental mitigation and sensing applications. Apart from environmental monitoring, sensors with a low detection limit are important for non-invasive detection of various diseases as exhaled gases and VOCs act as biomarkers. The future research is focused on the development of environmental sensors for healthcare. The VOC/gas sensors available in market work at high working temperature (>350 °C) which is a challenge for their practical applicability. In an environment where humidity, pressure, and temperature change randomly, a tiny fluctuation in humidity, pressure, or temperature can cause significant variation can affect the sensor’s response. The selectivity amongst VOCs/gases is also important to avoid any cross talks and false signals. For designing a real life sensor, engineered materials are required for multi-component detection at near ambient conditions of temperature and humidity. Dr. Gupta’s research group is presently working on organic-inorganic hybrid 2D nanomaterials for efficient VOC/gas detection. The challenge lies in the translation of these sensing materials in the form of a stand-alone device operating in a multi-variate environment which will be addressed in future course of research work.
 G. Bahuguna, S. Chaudhary, R. K. Sharma, and R. Gupta, “Electrophilic Fluorination of Graphitic Carbon for Enhancement in Electric Double-Layer Capacitance,” Energy Technol., vol. 7, no. 11, pp. 1–8, 2019, doi:10.1002/ente.201900667.
 G. Bahuguna, V. C. Janu, V Uniyal, N. Kambhala, S. Angappane, R. K Sharma, R. Gupta, “Electrophilic Fluorination of α-Fe2O3 Nanostructures and Influence on Magnetic Properties,” Mater. Des., vol. 135, pp. 84–91, 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.matdes.2017.09.012.
 G. Bahuguna, V. S. Adhikary, R. K. Sharma, and R. Gupta, “Ultrasensitive Organic Humidity Sensor with High Specificity for Healthcare Applications,” Electroanalysis, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 76–85, 2020, doi: 10.1002/elan.201900327.
 A. B. Urgunde, A. R. Kumar, K. P. Shejale, R. K. Sharma, and R. Gupta, “Metal Wire Networks Functionalized with Nickel Alkanethiolate for Transparent and Enzymeless Glucose Sensors,” ACS Appl. Nano Mater., vol. 1, pp. 5571–5580, 2018, doi: 10.1021/acsanm.8b01115.
 G. Bahuguna, I. Mondal, M. Verma, M. Kumar, S. Bhattacharya, R. Gupta, G.U. Kulkarni, “Innovative Approach to Photo-Chemiresistive Sensing Technology: Surface-Fluorinated SnO2 for VOC Detection,” ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, vol. 12, no. 33, pp. 37320–37329, 2020, doi:10.1021/acsami.0c08847.
Dr. Ritu Gupta, an Assistant Professor at Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, has won the prestigious “Indian National Science Academy Medal for Young Scientist - 2020”. The INSA Young Scientist Award, considered to be the highest recognition of promise, creativity and excellence in a young scientist, is awarded annually to those distinguished for these attributes by their research work carried out in India.
Dr Ritu Gupta
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
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 (DMD) on the short arm of chromosome 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 protein. 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.
Antisense oligonucleotide-mediated exon-skipping is currently the most promising approach, which involves the systemic delivery of specifically designed AONs to DMD patients to induce de novo protein expression in muscle. Targeted exon skipping is the front runner in the therapeutic management of DMD. Antisense Oligonucleotides (AON) based exon skipping works like a molecular patch so that the DMD gene can produce the dystrophin protein, at a lower than normal but working level, to help protect and maintain the strength of muscle fibers. The idea behind exon skipping is to hide, or mask, specific exons in a gene sequence. In DMD patients, one or more exons can be masked with specific molecules called AON or “molecular patches,” near the place in the DMD gene where one or more exons are missing. Hiding select exons works to find a “fit” between remaining nearby exons, essentially resulting in a situation where a smaller but still functional dystrophin protein can be produced. Because DMD can be caused by the deletion of different exons along the length of the DMD gene, oligonucleotides or molecular patches for a given exon will not work for all patients. For example, exon 51 skipping will only work in about 13 percent of DMD patients whose disease is amenable to skipping exon 51. Others may need skipping to take place for exons 53, or 45, etc.
Considering the severity of this neglected disease and to address the above issues, team of IIT Jodhpur in collaboration with AIIMS Jodhpur and DART Bangalore initiated a multipronged strategy to deal with the issues. This initiative will address following major issues through development of small molecule agonist for elevated expression of utrophin, recovering or balancing the dystrophin function through exon skipping using novel molecule, and development of new effective therapeutic formulation for muscle cell specific delivery. Recently, Departments of Science and Technology and Science and Engineering Research Board (DST-SERB), India under Intensification of Research in High Priority Area (IRHPA) has funded a research initiative on DMD to address the fundamental problems in DMD disease and development of multiple therapeutic leads for clinical trials in DMD patients in India. This Clinical Trial will impact the patients and the families tremendously as this is the first and only meaningful personalized genetic treatment under the “Make in India” initiative.
 A. Aartsma-Rus, “Antisense-mediated modulation of splicing: Therapeutic implications for Duchenne muscular dystrophy,” RNA Biology, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 453–461, Jul. 2010, doi: 10.4161/rna.7.4.12264.
 A. Aartsma-Rus and M. van Putten, “The use of genetically humanized animal models for personalized medicine approaches,” Dis. Model. Mech., vol. 13, no. 2, p. dmm041673, Feb. 2020, doi: 10.1242/dmm.041673.
 J. Alter et al., “Systemic delivery of morpholino oligonucleotide restores dystrophin expression bodywide and improves dystrophic pathology,” Nat Med, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 175–177, Feb. 2006, doi: 10.1038/nm1345.
 V. Arechavala-Gomeza, K. Anthony, J. Morgan, and F. Muntoni, “Antisense Oligonucleotide-Mediated Exon Skipping for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Progress and Challenges,” Current Gene Therapy, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 152–160, Jun. 2012.
Dr. Surajit Ghosh
Professor, Department of Bioscience & Bioengineering
Dr. Sudipta Bhattacharyya
Assistant Professor, Department of Bioscience & Bioengineering
Dr. Nirmal Kumar Rana
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Dibyendu Kumar Sasmal
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Various preordain situations result in a disease or injury to people and deprive them off with their natural ability to communicate verbally. The diseases which affect the voice and language of people may include congenital impairments, such as cerebral palsy, intellectual impairment and autism, and acquired conditions, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.
Speech rehabilitation for laryngectomized mute is usually done with alaryngeal methods, which include hand written notes, by simple actions, with esophageal speech or with aid of devices, such as electrolarynx or trachea esophageal prosthesis. The existing devices and methods have disadvantages. The esophageal speech utilizes the air swallowed to vibrate the pharyngeal segment to produce voice. The patient may not be able to have a sustained communication and only 1/3rd of the patients can master this technique. The electrolarynx is a handheld device which can vibrate the pharynx and soft tissue over the neck, which can be articulated into speech. The voice generally produced is a monotonous robotic speech, hence is less preferred by patients. Tracheo esophageal prosthesis is a one-way-valve prosthesis which communicates the esophagus and the trachea. The laryngectomy patient has a permanent neck stoma connecting to the trachea, so that patient breathes through the stoma. A patient with prosthesis, has to occlude the neck stoma with the hand, so that the air from the trachea can be shunted to the esophagus to vibrate the pharyngeal segment and hence voice can be produced. The disadvantages of this prosthesis are microaspiration (peristomal leak), which is the entry of food from esophagus to airway (trachea), and prosthesis site infection etc.
In general, the people suffering from speech impediment use sign language to communicate. The sign languages are expressed by the use of the gestures or facial expressions to convey the meaning. One of the most common misconceptions around the world is that a single sign language is universally defined around the world and a single set of gestures and expressions work for all the mute people around the world. The reality is that different types of sign languages are used around different places of the world. Few of the most used sign languages are French Sign Language, Russian Sign Language, American sign language, Irish Sign Language, Brazilian sign language, Indo-Pakistani Sign language etc. every sign language has few similar components that define the basis for using the sign languages. The components may include, handshape, palm orientation, hand location, hand movement, and non-manual features or non-manual markers, such as facial expressions for conveying emotions. Therefore, as it may seem to the common people, but the expression of sign languages around the world is not unpretentious. Every sign and movement or gesture may convey a very important meaning in the context of the message that is to be conveyed. Sign language is a natural language to the mute people, therefore the combination of hand gestures along with non-manual features brings in a vast variety of lexicons for them. In such a case, for the communication to take place as a two-way process, one must also be able to understand or interpret the signs or the expressions of the person communicating via sign language.
The sign languages can be accurately interpreted by the common people if they are also trained in such language. An efficient two-way communication between mute people and normal people can take place if both, mute people and common people are trained on the same sign language. Therefore, the mute people face the limitation for not being able to convey their message to everyone via sign language. Even if the listeners or the people are trained in a certain sign language, still there is a possibility of miscommunication as both mute people and normal people may not have been trained in the same sign languages, especially when mute people and normal people belong to different regions of the world. For example, the communication between a mute person, who may be a native of India and is trained in Indo-Pakistani Sign language and a normal person who may belong to Russia and may be trained in Russian Sign Language can go wrong as each of the mute person and the normal person are not trained in the respective sign language of each other.
The proposed solution describes a method and system for automatically generating speech which will be language independent and facilitate the communication between people with speech disability and others. In an example implementation, the consonant and the vowel can be from Hindi language phonetics. A phonetic is assigned to the received electrical signals based on the comparison. An audio signal is generated by an audio transmitter corresponding to the assigned phonetic and based on trained data associated with vocal characteristics stored in a machine learning unit.
The electrical signals are generated by a first set of sensors, wearable on a combination of a thumb, finger(s), and/or a wrist of a first hand of a user to produce an electrical signal depending on bending of at least one of the thumb, the finger(s), and/or the wrist of the first hand. The electrical signals are also generated by a second set of sensors, wearable on a combination of a thumb, finger(s), and/or a wrist of a second hand of a user to produce an electrical signal depending on bending of at least one of the thumb, the finger(s), and/or the wrist of the second hand. The electrical signals are received at a signal processing unit from the first set of sensors and from the second set of sensors. The magnitude of the received electrical signals is compared with a plurality of predefined combinations of magnitudes stored in a memory by using the signal processing unit. A predefined combination of magnitude of the plurality of predefined combination of magnitudes is associated with a phonetic corresponding to at least one of a consonant and a vowel. In an example implementation, the consonant and the vowel can be from Hindi language phonetics. A phonetic is assigned to the received electrical signals based on the comparison. An audio signal is generated by an audio transmitter corresponding to the assigned phonetic and based on trained data associated with vocal characteristics stored in a machine learning unit.
To realize the talking gloves, we are making use of the Arduino MEGA board Atmega 2560 Controller board to interface all the sensors, modules and actuators. In this project Flex Sensor plays the major role, which is placed on gloves fingers, as fingers bends it changes resistance depending on the amount of bend on the sensor. The gloves are internally equipped with ten flex sensors and one gyro sensor. For each specific gesture, the flex sensor produces a proportional change in resistance. The processing of these hand gestures is in the Arduino Mega board which is an advanced version of microcontroller. It compares the input signal with predefined voltage levels stored in memory. According to that required sound is produced with the help of our Smartphone which is connected to Arduino by Bluetooth. The flex sensors are basically variable resistors whose terminal resistance increases when the sensor is bent. The sensor resistance increases depending on surface linearity and it is usually used to sense the changes in linearity. When the surface of the flex sensor is completely linear it will be having its nominal resistance. When it is bent 45º angle the resistance increases to twice as before. And when the bent is 90º the resistance could go as high as four times the nominal resistance. So the resistance across the terminals rises linearly with bent angle. So in a sense the flex sensor converts flex angle to resistance parameter. For convenience we convert this resistance parameter to voltage parameter. For that we are going to use a voltage divider circuit. Flex Sensor will detect the band in flex sensor and that band will produce some changes in resistance value so the output voltage also changes. This change in voltage will be read by the Arduino board at its analog pins. GyroScope Sensor (MPU6050) will detect the movement of the hand on the different position on different dimensions like x, y and z-axis. These values are also sent to Arduino through an I2C analog pin. Microcontroller (ATmega-2560) which has 54 digital pins. It collects analog data from a flex sensor and then converts it into digital data. Also reads MPU’s data at I2C communication pin and overall data (data values by making hand gestures) will be sent to the mobile app by a bluetooth module.
The text data received from Bluetooth, the mobile app converts it into voice by using text to speech and then a text box is also there to show the voice data. A reset button is given in the mobile app for re-initialization flex sensor and gyroscope values. Along with this, there is an option in this app through which we can select the accent of the language we want to speak.
The generation of the audio signals according to the phonetics having combination of vowels and consonants leads to the generation of speech and enables the disabled people to audibly communicate with normal speech. The speech synthesis technique of the proposed approach uses phonetics, and therefore the speech generation is independent of any language.
Reference: India Patent Application: 201911035856
Publication Date: 05/09/2019
IIT Jodhpur: Dr. Sumit Kalra, Dr. Arpit Khandelwal
AIIMS Jodhpur: Dr. Abhinav Dixit, Dr. Amit Goyal, Dr. Nithin Prakasan Nair
Dr. Sumit kalra
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science & Engineering
The recent global pandemic placed restrictions on physical gatherings, and as a result, online learning environments took center stage as a way of delivering instruction to students . Instructors and students at universities worldwide had to quickly adapt as in person classes were converted to online classes. This was an extremely challenging task because a large majority of faculty were not prepared and had no prior online teaching experience. Of the various teaching techniques available, many instructors chose to continue to meet with students in real time class sessions, i.e., synchronous online instruction . Yet, being novices to online instruction, they had trepidations about whether or not it would be possible to translate what they had been doing in the classroom to an online environment , . Fortunately, there are instances of synchronous online education that were in place before the pandemic hit, and that therefore can be used as models. This article describes how an institute of higher education in India successfully ran a large synchronous online course with 132 students, demonstrating how this mode of instruction can provide an experience that parallels in person education. Participants were enrolled in a Masters in Technology, Artificial Intelligence (MTech AI) Online program from all over India at the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur (IITJ). There were 22 female and 110 male students in this section of the course, with an average age of 32 years old. The course was taught by an instructor who has a doctoral degree in mathematics and seven years of experience teaching online mathematics courses at the university level. The target students were working professionals who were geographically spread out, therefore the course structure and materials were designed to be completely accessible online.
Synchronous Online Courses
A synchronous online course structure involves real time interaction between instructors and students using features such as audio, video, text chat, interactive whiteboard, application sharing, instant polling, emoticons, and breakout rooms. Of the alternative modes of delivering instruction online, the audio and video features of synchronous online instruction make it most like in person instruction. Using audio, apart from delivering a lecture, instructors can ask students if they have any questions. Students can verbally ask questions or make comments using a chat box that allows them to type short messages that can be viewed publicly or privately. The instructor can also use the chat system to communicate with students, for example as a means of sharing a link containing an assignment or activity. Through the interactive whiteboard, an instructor can explain the content using annotation tools such as free-hand writing, drawing lines, circles or rectangles, etc. Application sharing enables the instructor to share their screens or specific software from their computer, containing lecture slides, videos and any other educational material with students. Instant polling emulates the use of clickers in an in-person classroom and allows the instructor to quickly survey student responses. This synchronous mode supports active learning by providing an environment with the learning tools, learning materials, and opportunities for contextual discussion.
The key advantages of online synchronous learning include immediate feedback, an increased level of motivation and responsibility, more in-depth learning, and richer interaction. In fact, some students participate more in discussions in synchronous online instruction than they do in a face-to-face classroom. From a pragmatic perspective, online synchronous instruction eliminates the costs related to travel and time away from home or worksite, and compared with asynchronous online instruction, may increase the likelihood that a student stays on track and successfully complete their studies.
The live sessions were hosted using WebEx (https://iitjodhpur.webex.com/), a video communication platform that supports user desktop sharing, video and audio sharing and recording, and chats. During lectures, students viewed slides that the instructor prepared ahead of each session, were displayed on using the WebEx sharing tool, and annotated by the instructor using a Wacom Tablet (Figure 1), a configuration of technologies that has long been recognized as a way of supporting the drawing of diagrams in synchronous online instruction . Students interacted with one another, the teaching assistant and the instructor using an accompanying chat session. In this way, students received responses to their questions in real time in the same manner as they would in an in-person classroom. After the session was completed, the annotated slides and a recording of the session were posted on Google Classroom for reference.
Figure 1: Synchronous classroom; Chat communication stream with annotated slides
Results of Participation and Perception
Data included survey responses, and chat communications captured by WebEx software for each of the eight live sessions. Students were very active, and the total number of chat contributions in all eight sessions was 7020. By far the largest number of chats (approximately 65%) were in response to questions posed by the instructor as part of the lessons. Such questioning patterns are applicable for instruction in “hard” disciplines, such as mathematics, where students expect the instructors to share their knowledge directly. Other dominant categories were social statements, classroom norms, access to resources, and questions about the lecture.
A survey given to students at the end of the course focused on their perception of their experience and the affordances of synchronous online learning, such as the ability to communicate with other students and with the instructor during the lectures. The accessibility and responsiveness of the instructor and the ability to communicate with her in real time were highly rated.
Conclusions and Discussion
Measures of participation, performance, and perception showed that synchronous class sessions can be used to support active participation in a class size exceeding one hundred students. This was evident by the number of chats from students during the online sessions in which they asked questions and responded to the instructor’s questions. Instead of simply being passive observers, students were engaged and following along in the discussion of the material and demonstrated their presence by promptly responding to quiz questions interspersed throughout the sessions. In addition, students appreciated how online lectures made education possible for them, and this was particularly true for female students.
Creating this active learning environment requires efforts from students and instructors. On the part of the instructor, synchronous online instruction requires fluency in the use and coordination of multiple technological tools simultaneously. Therefore, there is a continuing need for teacher training programs and professional development courses to facilitate the use of technology in instruction. For instance, it is important for instructors to promote student engagement during synchronous sessions through questioning, and then to follow through by monitoring and responding to chat activity while simultaneously delivering the lecture. Preparing and supporting instructors as they orchestrate online classrooms is critical to meet the needs of the current instructional landscape. Professional development opportunities, experience gained from practice, and technological developments will open the doors for a new era of emerging online instruction.
Despite the insight this study provides into the potential benefits of synchronous online instruction, there are limitations that need to be addressed in future research and in the development of supporting technologies. First, in our research, students used self-selected names and identification to enter the online classroom. Therefore we could not establish a relationship between the amount or quality of student activity and course performance. Also, online instruction could benefit from the continuing development of features that support discipline specific interaction. For instance, it is extremely challenging to communicate mathematics during synchronous online sessions in a chat window that does not support mathematical symbols and formatting.
There is no question that the pandemic has intensified the international need to explore and develop best practices for online education. Physical gathering limitations and travel restrictions between countries threaten the growth and spread of knowledge, thereby making the improvement of online education critical as a means of sustaining intellectual progress. This is a challenge that cannot be addressed by any single nation, but instead calls for a cooperative effort from many nations who have an interest in global education. In the world, India is second only to the US for the number of people taking online courses. Therefore, India has much to offer in development of e-learning techniques and practices. This article explored a successful large scale synchronous online course that was conducted in India and sets the stage for shared efforts to make improvements in this direction by the world.
 G. J. Longhurst, D. M. Stone, K. Dulohery, D. Scully, T. Campbell, and C. F. Smith, “Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT) Analysis of the Adaptations to Anatomical Education in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in Response to the Covid‐19 Pandemic,” Anat Sci Educ, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 301–311, May 2020, doi: 10.1002/ase.1967.
 C. Major, “Innovations in Teaching and Learning during a Time of Crisis,” Innov High Educ, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 265–266, Aug. 2020, doi: 10.1007/s10755-020-09514-w.
 Kamenetz, “Panic-gogy : Teaching online classes during the Coronavirus pandemic, 2020”, https://www.npr.org/2020/03/19/817885991/panic-gogy-teaching-online-classes-during-the-coronavirus pandemic.
 K. Kavanagh, “Teaching in the time of Coronavirus: A letter from SIAM VP for Education”. https://sinews.siam.org/Details-Page/teaching-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-a-letter-from-siam-vp-for-education?fbclid=IwAR1ESauuOoH54csob9veJx-RY0R8E1GDuoUorxkYyj6wRzp6HoujvnLwpNs, May 6, 2020.
 L. S. McCue, & G. R. Scales, “Embracing the middle ground: engaging on- and off-campus students within the same ‘classroom’ “, In B. B. Thomas (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2007 ASEE Southeastern Section Annual Conference and Meeting. Washington, DC: American Society for Engineering Education, 2007
Dr. Vandana Sharma
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics
2 August 2020Foundation Day Addresses
Dr. P. K. Mishra
Principal Secretary to the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India
Foundation Day Lecture on
Role of Technology in Shaping Education - The Future Vistas
Shri NK Singh, Chairman, the 15th Finance Commission; Shri Amit Khare, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Higher Education; Dr. R. Chidambaram, Chairman of the Board, IIT Jodhpur; Prof. Santanu Chaudhury, Director IIT, Jodhpur; Shri S. R. Vadera, Chairman of the Foundation Day Committee; members of faculty and staff, esteemed alumni and my dear students,
I am delighted to participate in the Foundation Day programme of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur. I thank Prof. Santanu Chaudhury and his team for inviting me to the celebration. I would also like to thank Shri NK Singh who encouraged me to be with all of you on this day. We were to visit IIT Jodhpur campus some months ago, but we could not do so due to COVID-19.
Today, IIT Jodhpur completes 12 years of its existence and enters the 13th year. For an individual, this would mark the onset of the ‘teenage’ phase of life. In this phase of life, foundational changes occur; not only physical characteristics but ideas, relationships and core inner values developed in this stage, influence your future.
This institute, with a dozen departments, offering a broad spectrum of B.Tech, 46 post-graduate and PhD programme options, in a wide range of subjects and disciplines, today embarks on its ‘teenage journey’. This would imply evolution
through collaborations and friendships, and encourage critical thinking and deepening of an attitude of scientific inquiry. In the post-COVID world, as technologies evolve, this will impact social, economic and human activities in a more comprehensive manner.
I congratulate all of you at the beginning of this new phase in the life of your Institute, when it begins a journey that looks uncertain and challenging and yet if used wisely, is full of promise and opportunity.
I have been asked to speak on the Role of Technology in Shaping Education – the Future Vistas. Coincidentally, the programme is organised using a technology platform, without all of us traveling to Jodhpur which would have meant more time, travels and other aspects of logistics. So, the topic for today, in my view, is in sync with the way we are interacting. However, it also deprives us of face-to-face interaction, seeing for ourselves the ambience of the institute, and experience the warmth and hospitality of all of you. This brings out the dilemmas and limitations: the relevance, use and efficacy of technology that could pose new challenges in the coming years, particularly in the post-COVID world.
Over the past five years, I have had several opportunities of addressing students on the occasion of their convocations. I would often speak a few words on how technology was changing the way we live and work, and how “game-changer” ideas such as smartphone revolution, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), robotics, blockchain technologies and Internet of Things would usher changes in a much faster pace than ever before. But, I never expected that the situation would be transformed so dramatically so quickly. During the last six months, things have changed in a way one could not imagine earlier. Role of technology has become predominant. There is no doubt that in the coming days the pace of evolution will be much faster and the transformation will be more widespread and comprehensive. This impact will be felt much more strongly in the field of education.
Technology enabled learning can bring in not only transformational change in delivery of online education experience, but it can also enhance and supplement regular classroom-based pedagogy. It could offer more flexibility and learning support
than the traditional formats. Technology offers teachers the opportunity to become more collaborative and extend learning beyond the classrooms. Educators could create learning communities comprising students, fellow educators and experts in various disciplines around the world. This environment of enhanced collaboration offers access to instructional materials as well as resources and tools to create, manage and assess their quality and usefulness.
In recent years, use of digital technologies in higher education has received much attention across the world. Across the country, Government of India is encouraging several e-learning projects under the National Mission on Education through ICT initiatives such as SWAYAM, SWAYAM-Prabha, National Digital Library, e-Yantra, Virtual Lab, that are helping students as well as teachers in up-skilling as well as providing them quality resources. In addition, these efforts are leading to creation of knowledge tools that impart not only quality education and accessibility, but also encourage creativity and innovation, particularly among young students.
Most of you would be aware that only four days ago the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was announced. The New Education Policy, replacing the earlier policy introduced 34 years ago, envisages major reforms in the education system. The emphasis is on holistic and multi-disciplinary education with flexibility of subjects and provisions for multiple entry and exit. It focuses a great deal on technology use and integration. It gives a thrust to technological innovations for the purpose of improving teaching-learning and evaluation processes, supporting teacher preparation and professional development, enhancing educational access and streamlining educational learning, management and administration, including processes related to admission, attendance and assessment.
If I could quote at some length:
The NEP recognizes that:
India is a global leader in information and communication technology and in other cutting-edge domains, such as space. The Digital India Campaign is helping to transform the entire nation into a digitally empowered society and
knowledge economy. While education will play a critical role in this transformation, technology itself will play an important role in the improvement of educational processes and outcomes; thus, the relationship between technology and education at all levels is bi- directional.
It goes on to say:
New technologies involving artificial intelligence, machine learning, block chains, smart boards, handheld computing devices, adaptive computer testing for student development, and other forms of educational software and hardware will not just change what students learn in the classroom but how they learn and thus these areas and beyond will require extensive research both on the technological as well as educational fronts.
It is proposed to set up an autonomous body, the National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) to provide a platform for free exchange of ideas and use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration and so on both for school and higher education. The NETF will maintain regular inflow of authentic data from various sources including educational technology innovators and practitioners. It will engage with a diverse set of researchers to analyse the data.
In this context, Government of India is to set up the National Research Foundation (NRF), which will initiate and expand research efforts in technology. The NRF will indeed play an important role in advancing core AI research, developing and deploying application-based research and advancing international research efforts to address global challenges.
In recent years as technology has developed and evolved, there have been disruptions everywhere. This will have even more far-reaching effects in the post- pandemic world. I am happy to note that, with the support of the Department of Science and Technology, IIT Jodhpur has set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Computer Vision, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality under the National Mission on Cyber-Physical Systems. In the present context, the role of educational and research
institutions is extremely critical. It is their work, their research and innovation that will enable us to cope with the emerging challenges of the future.
The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a tectonic shift in our education system. Major universities and higher education institutions have partially or fully shifted to online mode of teaching and learning and are reporting considerable success in their endeavours. Further, availability of world-class technology platforms have enabled educational institutions to have a smooth transition to online delivery mode.
Our understanding of COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. The need of social distancing will continue to affect traditional teaching and learning processes. A “new normal” in education might emerge which will possibly have a lasting influence on pedagogy and assessment and evaluation modalities.
While online education has many merits, it also has challenges. A few that come to my mind are:
It is true that technology will create new opportunities and its adoption will be much faster. At the same time, technology that could have been subjected to greater regulatory security checks – such as use of artificial intelligence in healthcare – will likely be fast-tracked and deployed. A possible risk is that some people can be permanently left behind as the process of digitalisation is accelerated at a rapid pace. Inequalities could perhaps get aggravated and would need to be addressed.
We are today at a time that was never imagined before; a unique time in our lives. For days, weeks and months people are within the confines of home, with their families and loved ones, and living with a sense of uncertainty as to how the pandemic situation will develop. In an unprecedented way the entire world is fighting an invisible enemy. It has posed a great challenge to science and technology. The following quote from Arthashastra highlighting the relevance of wheel of time is interesting:
Time has thrown up several challenges for all of us. It is technology that can help us overcome the challenges. At the same time, new challenges arising by the use of technology are to be addressed by individuals and institutions through learning, teaching and education.
A major challenge comes from the digital divide. As the NEP recognizes, the benefit of online and digital education cannot be leveraged unless digital divide is reduced or even eliminated through considerable efforts, such as initiatives like Digital India Campaign and the availability of affordable computer devices. It is important that the use of technology for online and digital education addresses concerns of equity. People who are disadvantaged do not become more deprived as time passes and education is much more digitalized.
I recently read, in a one Insight Report by the World Economic Forum, that over a century ago, at the time of the Spanish Flu when people were isolating themselves, many (mostly Americans) turned to telephone to get in touch with friends and family. At that time it was a nascent technology. Services quickly broke down due to rapid use. But, the Spanish Flu underscored how essential the technology of telecom was to modern society. In subsequent years in the twentieth century we all know how instrumental the telephone became in shaping the world as a “global village”. Possibly we are at a similar inflection point in time today. Years later, historians would look back and assess how today’s decision on digitalisation would shape us as individuals, societies and nations.
Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given us a clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat. It goes much beyond being a self-reliant nation; it envisages India’s leading role in the global arena as a leader in technology and global supply chain of goods and services. At the same time, it is also a social change paradigm where every individual is encouraged to strive for excellence in what she does. In this context, the role of education and higher educational institutions such as IIT Jodhpur is extremely important. They pave the way for achieving excellence and realising national potential.
In the end, I once again congratulate all of you as your esteemed institute embarks on a new phase of a long journey. Possibilities are immense. My best wishes to the Director, faculty, staff, alumni and very special wishes to the students of IIT Jodhpur for Raksha Bandhan tomorrow.
2 August 2020Foundation Day Addresses
Shri N. K. Singh
Chairman, 15th Finance Commission, Government of India
Technology and The Social Contract
Distinguished Chairman of IIT Jodhpur,
Honourable Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Director IIT Jodhpur,
Students, alumni and those who have joined today’s conference through the web link.
It is my privilege to address this gathering on the Foundation Day of IIT Jodhpur. This event has a certain history. Both the Principal Secretary and I were scheduled to speak at this illustrious forum many months ago. The Covid-19 interrupted all this, but both of us wanted to adhere to this past commitment. I am indeed grateful that the Principal Secretary, notwithstanding his multifarious and challenging responsibilities, has kept up his promise.
Since we are talking of transformational technology, Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, has said that, “There is no alternative to digital transformation. Visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves — those that don’t adapt, will fail.”
There could not have been a better time or context for today’s Foundation Day Celebration. This is for two reasons. First, the far-reaching changes announced recently by the government in the New National Education Policy 2020. This has come after a lapse of 34 years; if implemented in letter and spirit and given its new emphasis on foundational numeracy, on preschool education and with the flexibility in the pursuit of higher education, it will truly have a transformative impact on our society. Second, this pandemic has challenged and changed us forever. The new normal is quite far away from what was the old normal. There can only be technological solutions both to the consequences and the management of the pandemic. Today, I take this opportunity to discuss the role of technology in reshaping and resetting the new social contract.
It was in 1762 that Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote The Social Contract, in which he had famously written that, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Rousseau believed that the only legitimate governance rubric is one consented to by all the people by entering into a social contract for the sake of their mutual preservation. The concept of the social contract was further refined thereafter in the version of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Hobbes believed in self preservation as man’s most innate instinct, whereas Locke believed in a separation of power such as the division of states into legislative, executive and judicial branches.
Basically, the purpose of the social contract is to define the relationship between the citizens and the state. The governance structure elected by the consent of the people and in the free choice exercised in democratically elected governments underpins this rubric. This pandemic compels us to revisit this social contract in several fundamental ways. The need to rewrite the social contract in the context of the current pandemic has undoubtedly gripped the interest of many academicians. The driving force behind all this is technology.
In an article published in Irish Examiner, Minouche Shafik, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, deputy managing director of the IMF and current director of the LSE, expresses a need to rewrite social contracts. Shafik has looked at it from multiple points of view like issues of gender parity; intergenerational choice between the draft on limited environmental resources in a manner which balances this access to future generations; an insurance guaranteed framework and social security systems which are more robust; more definite principles on rising levels of frustration at inequalities of income and wealth; guarantees for access to healthcare facilities; equality of opportunities in employment; educational structures capable to adaptation into changing pedagogy and skills which would be relevant to the jobs of tomorrow.
Similarly, the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum is called “The Great Reset”. Klaus Schwab, the WEF Founder, has also co-authored a book with Thierry Malleret, co-founder of Monthly Barometer, by the same name, The Great Reset. In it, principles of rebuilding a better world post-Covid are explored. This theme of resetting also deals with the New Nature Economy report which encourages greener business. The report makes a monumental claim that if businesses prioritize nature, there could be 395 million new jobs globally by 2030.
There are Seven areas in which Technology can have a lasting impact in reshaping human behaviour which is relevant to the new approach on social contracts. This is relevant to us in multiple ways.
The first area is the issue of intergenerational choice on energy patterns. Climate change represents an intergenerational issue in the social contract. Recent years have seen massive global protests by young people against economic models that do not account for the present-day environment. How much right does the present generation have in terms of foreclosing the ozone layer and how much space do we want to use for our economic activities? This includes issues of burden sharing; the old sinners versus the new sinners. There is a need for greater investment in renewable technologies and in terms of businesses, whose fossil fuel footprint is significantly lower. Technology solutions and changes are central. Issues of carbon sequestration, lowering fossil fuel imprint, lasting and affordable cost of renewable energy and readapting activity patterns are part of the same dynamics.
Second, the use of digital technology in harnessing agricultural productivity. Digital agriculture is a phenomenon in which technology is used to collect and analyse data and information along the agricultural value chain. It encompasses a wide range of technologies such as the use of artificial intelligence, 5G, the Internet of Things and precision agriculture technologies including such things as sensors, tracking systems, advanced imaging technologies and automated machinery. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has stated that, “A ‘digital agriculture revolution’ will be the newest shift which could help ensure agriculture meets the needs of the global population into the future.” The Indian Council of Agricultural Research is doing
fundamental work in digital agriculture, but they also need to restructure their thinking process to grasp these nascent opportunities, which digital technology now increasingly affords.
Third, in the area of health. The pandemic has exposed several fault lines in our public health care system. In 2018-19, public health expenditure in India was 0.96% of GDP. This is one of the lowest among peer group countries. Out of this, about 70% of the expenditure on health is spent by the States while only 30% is spent by the union government. It has become evidently clear with the current pandemic that investment on health is not just social sector spending, but a great investment in India’s economic growth and development. Investment in technology can ameliorate these issues in the health sector. The use of e-learning, electronic medical records, electronic systems for disease surveillance, radiological assessments and readings, and laboratory and pharmacy information systems can significantly reduce inefficiencies and lack of resources for affordable access to health care.
Fourth, in the area of education. The challenge of improving education outcomes not merely by guaranteed access, but improving outcomes at the primary, secondary and higher education levels by emerging centres of excellence can foster innovation and fresh thinking. This continues to remains a daunting challenge. The New National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 seeks to address these complex set of issues. This policy, which emphasizes outcomes by strengthening foundational levels in primary school, is a laudable move. At higher levels, offering credit banks, enlarging the choice of curriculum and demolishing artificial compartmentalisation between different disciplines and pursuing flexible modes in pedagogy have stymied the creative ability of students. There is also an enhanced focus on technology in the New NEP such as the creation of an autonomous body called the National Educational Technology Forum to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology in education. Social distancing has also necessitated the need for greater investment in online and digital education. There is no doubt that, in the coming years, there would need to be a creative mix or a hybrid between online and offline education. Technology must determine the optimum mix of this hybrid.
Fifth, in the area of redefining the fiscal architecture of the Indian governance matrix. The Finance Commission underpins our fiscal architecture. But over the past 70 years, we have not seriously focused on outcomes of public outlays. the role of technology in improving assessments and outcomes of public outlays is fundamental. This is catalytic. This transcends the issues of the centre and the states. Several areas in the Constitution are amiable to technology and technology options which can reshape the artificial distinctions between the centre and the state, between the 7th Schedule of the Constitution and the use of Article 282. Improved assessments of outcomes from public intervention will have a far-reaching impact on the governance rubric of this country. It can transform the fiscal architecture in multiple ways. Technology, again, holds the key.
Sixth, in managing geopolitics. India’s reliance on imported defence equipment continues to be unexceptionably high. This has stymied the development of high- quality Indian research. Digital technology can play a much more significant role in the modernization of the Indian Armed Forces. Through the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), in conjunction with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), other private sector initiatives must increasingly look into the production of equipment needed in defence at a domestic level. Harnessing creativity and innovation, like many other leading countries have done, will have multiplier gains. I sometimes have thought that if somebody sitting in the desert of California can pinpoint a missile to kill an important target thousands of miles away through the use of drones, digital technologies and remote sensors, this is the pointer where technology is leading us. Futuristic drones increasingly using artificial intelligence and 5G technology will only advance the frontiers of possibilities. We must explore the increasing role of technology in the area of fundamental research and what it has to offer. Managing geopolitics is critically dependent on our defence capabilities. Technology will again prove to be decisive.
Seventh, is the issue of India’s growth potential. In seeking to achieve our growth potential of 7 to 8%, there are two core issues involved here, namely improving our total factor productivity and reducing the incremental capital-output ratio (ICOR). What can technology do to make capital more productive, which will be reflected in an improved ICOR, which is currently only between 4.5 and 5. Technology, coupled with significant reforms in many of these areas, some of which have been outlined above in health, education and maintenance of infrastructure, can make a decisive difference. If we wish to become important global players, we have to obviously grow much faster over the next 10 years, than we did in the past decade. Only technology solutions can enable the realisation of Atma Nirbhar Bharat, PM and our quest and vision prompting in this direction.
Rousseau had said that, “To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man, to surrender the rights of humanity and even its duties.”
I can see that the old social contract is dead. The new shaper of the new social contract is technology. The power of the pandemic has unleashed the power of the unknown. Technology can help the unknown to become less unknown if it unleashes the far-reaching changes in some of the areas which have been outlined above.
To reiterate the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum, we need a “Great Reset”. Klaus Schwab has said that, “The Covid-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy.” We need to move forward and push the reset button on the social contract.
I have no doubt that this premier institution in reprioritizing its research will look to the cutting edge of what technology has to offer. Our Prime Minister has articulated that the vision of India is dependent on India increasingly becoming an innovation society. The New National Education Policy has given a thrust in this process. Thomas Edison had said that, “The value of an idea lies in the using of it.” We must utilize this knowledge not only in terms of the past and what we learn from it, but knowledge to explore the mind, which knows no boundaries. We need to combine innovation and imagination. This coupled with the other changes can rewrite a new social contract. It can reset the button for a new normal. Technology will be decisive. An institution of this kind is well poised to become both a player and a catalyst. It is this expectation from IITs as centres of our technological excellence that we all hope and seek. On this Foundation Day, this vision could prompt the faculty, the young researchers and the students in seeking what this institution can offer in these pandemic times.
Among many initiatives to promote entrepreneurship leveraging the academic knowledge, IIT Jodhpur has set up an Incubation and Innovation Centre in its campus to nucleate a cluster of new age ventures. The Incubation and Innovation Centre, along with the Institute’s Sports Complex was inaugurated on 16 October 2020 by Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', Hon'ble Shiksha Mantri, Government of India, in the august presence of Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Hon'ble Minister of Jal Shakti, Government of India, & Shri Sanjay Dhotre, Hon'ble Minister of State for Education. The event was presided over by Dr. R. Chidambaram, Chairman Board of Governors, IIT Jodhpur.
This Incubation and Innovation Center would support the innovation ecosystem of IIT Jodhpur that currently includes three section-8 companies – the Technology Innovation & Startup Centre, the Technology Park and the Technology & Innovation Hub (iHub Dristi). Built in compliance with International standards and the norms laid down by the Sports Authority of India, the Sports Complex includes hockey, football, and cricket grounds, athletic tracks, basketball, tennis, volleyball and kabaddi courts, and an outdoor yoga area.
During the event, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that IIT Jodhpur is emerging as an excellent centre in the field of education, research, technology, innovation as well as entrepreneurship in the country. The Shiksha Mantri also said that the sports facilities at IIT Jodhpur would make a significant contribution in education as well as all-round development of students. They will also improve their immunity and build a healthy competitive spirit, which combines with the 'Fit India Movement' spirit launched by Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi. Speaking on the occasion Hon'ble Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, also appreciated the efforts made by IIT Jodhpur towards setting up of Innovation & Incubation Center and Sports Complex. Hon'ble Minister of State for Education, Shri Sanjay Dhotre, for Education Sanjay Dhotre mentioned that the new courses started by IIT Jodhpur in AI & Data Sciences will open new avenues for students and contribute to the country’s goodwill and pride.
Incubation & Innovation Centre
Inaugural video available at: https://youtu.be/kv0dJsWj2L4
Among many initiatives to promote entrepreneurship leveraging the academic knowledge, IIT Jodhpur has set up an Incubation and Innovation Centre in its campus to nucleate a cluster of new age ventures. The focus of this Centre is on Deep Tech to promote startups and programs founded on scientific discovery or meaningful engineering innovation to solve the global issues through transformative technologies. The focal theme for this centre is AIoT, a convergence of AI, IoT and 5G technologies. This next-generation technology is expected to impact all sectors of economy. Deep tech domains include: new materials, especially materials of 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. Currently the centre nurtures incubation projects supported by the Ministry of MSME and MeitY, Government of India besides administering a number of entrepreneurship related activities encompassing a multitude programs/stakeholders in the neighborhood.
Present available infrastructure has around 21,000 sq. ft. of built up area dedicated for incubation along with other business support amenities. At any time, on an average 30 incubatees can be accommodated in the unit and they will have access to the laboratory facilities, faculty and managerial expertise, library & student interns available at the institute. A strong academia-industry linkage available with the institute will help incubatees in getting the domain specific dedicated mentorship and networking with potential business partners & customers. Apart from these, this unit provides trainings, connect with investors, intellectual property protection support and feedback/suggestions for their progress in terms of product development, testing and customer engagement. Three startups are already incubating their products and five more student/faculty led entrepreneurship projects have been approved recently by the ministry of MSME and BIRAC for pursuing incubation towards products/business development. Pingala AI Pvt. Ltd. (Prithvi.AI), a provider of seed-stage acceleration program designed for budding start-ups in the Artificial Intelligence and machine learning arena; is also setting up AIOT and Industry 4.0 support system for HEEEAL (Healthcare, Education, Energy, Environment, Agriculture and Livelihood) at the Innovation Centre in the unit. An area has also been dedicated for setting of state-of- the-art facilities for bio-incubators with the help of BioNEST programme of BARC, Govt. of India.
Inaugural video available at: https://youtu.be/CY70f4NgPUs
Along with the Academic and Residential Facilities, a separate Sports complex is developed to provide excellent Sports Facilities to the students as well as Faculty and Staff Members. The Sports Complex is well connected with the other parts of the Campus. The playing facilities presently developed are:
The facilities not only serve as recreation for IIT Jodhpur’s fraternity, but would be extensively used as a part of the physical activity component of the Institute’s curriculum and for preparations of Inter-IIT and national-level sports festivals and competitions. The Sports complex of IIT Jodhpur Campus is one of its kind in the city of Jodhpur and has attracted the attention of many nearby Academic Institutions/Schools for use.
All the dimensions of the Courts are as per Sports Authority of India Manuals/ International Standards. The field surface of the Hockey, Cricket and Football field is natural grass with a complete system for watering.
The Cricket Ground has an oval play area of about 15000 square metres, and has three natural grass pitches compliant with international dimensions. There are four pitches (three with natural grass, and one with concrete) for net practice to give a varied pitching experience to the players. The Hockey field is 91.4 m x 55 m, and is appropriately sloped for drainage. The Football fields which are surrounded by synthetic athletic tracks, serve as a perfect spot to witness the emphatic highs of teams and adrenaline rush! The athletic tracks support all track and field events like shot put, Javelin, Hammer throw and long jump.
The Complex also houses five clay Volleyball and Kabaddi courts and four synthetic Tennis and Basketball courts.