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Geek Gazette





The Bazinga Talk 23 Flawed Designs 13 Daisy Bell 12

Hacker Earth 28 Team Robocon 16 They said it 33

Sci-Tech Around the world 06 Beauty & Machines 09 Rise of Cryptocurrency 05 Quantum Spark of Life 21

Featured Music Culture at IITR 14 Mystic Order of Vast Annihilation 08

GEEK SPEAK Since our inception, we humans are effective communicators. We talk out our minds to friends, we wink at the unknown Alpahar girl, we shout out loud for grabbing the samosas at Nesci and we have a habit of telling the professors how much we know by keeping quiet. Being a species blessed with an exceptional capability to express and to share, we are never reluctant in sharing what we feel like. Be it our next door neighbor or our social media status. Rightly said, we are what we share. With the dawn of technology,and with this issue of Geek Gazette, comes a truestory of this social age, 'Are we sacrificing 'communication' for mere 'connection'?'Our cover story 'the truth about social media' explores thepossibility of above and whether software giants like Facebook are trying to dominate our social lives,maybe through predictive marketing or maybe through WhatsApp! In this issue we have the story of the next big thing in the history of humankind, human genomic sequencing and a company named Illumina, which MITTech Review chose as the smartest company on earth ahead of Google and Tesla Motors. We have also added articles which will force youdeep into the philosophies of Quantum Spark of Life and the enigma behind machines and their concept of beauty. Following our sutra of promoting science and technology by keeping 'Brain over Bakar', we bring you the story of Sachin Gupta, an IIT-R alumnus, who co-founded HackerEarth back in 2011. We have Team Roboconon how they follow their interest in spite of all odds. What can be better than a pallet full of interesting articles which will provoke you to think about the meaning of life! Believe us, it's priceless! With this we thank our mentor Dr. S N Sinha for his continued patronage and acknowledge the support we have from our readers. Our readers and critics are always invited to send their valuable feedback, suggestions and comments to, so that we can together build a culture that coming generations would cherish reading. To Infinity and Beyond! The Geek Gazette Team

Spring 2014



Faculty Advisor Dr. S.N. Sinha President Vinayak Shekhar Sahai Vice Presidents Divyen Jain Palak Jajoo Executive Members Vikram Singh Rathore Amey Sahasrabuddhe Amish Bedi Rishabh Sharma Pravesh Jain Tushar Mehndiratta Rahul Modi Lokesh Chandra Basu Shubham Mittal Soumitr Pandey Rishabh Jain Editorial & News Alankrita Gautam (Editor-in-chief) Akshay Agarwal Harsh Anurag Richa Jain Megha Vijayvargia Abhishek Nayak Manuj Garg M Karthick

Piyush Mohanty Shubham Srivastava Vijay Kumar Sahu Anirudh Goyal Agniva Si Aman Srivastava Ashutosh Rungta Ashutosh Shukla Dikshant Maheshwari Jay Hitesh Bosamiya Piyush Kapaley Rishabh Chhabra Shreyas Verma Suvam Das Utkarsh Bharadwaj Design Suraj Kumar Sau (Head-of-Design) Vikalp Gupta Vijay Jain Kritgya Bawal Vishal Singh Gaurav Kapatia Parag Nandi Amlan Baishya Kushal Saharan Anjali Ahuja Lilly Kumari Vivek Singh Holkar Shivansh Singh Vineet Arora Yash Gangrade

Jahnavi Singh Priyanka Jain Yagya Sharma Finance Kushal Sharma (Finance Head) Himanshu Tandon Diksha Himaanshu Gauba Shivani Soni Vaibhav Gupta Madhav Pathak Varun Joshi Ananya Tripathi Sandeep Pathry Abhishek Singhal Samar Singh Holkar Richa Jain Vaishali Jain Harshvardhan Singh Kalra Mukul Anand Atharva Chandra Sachin Aggarwal Arpit Mishra Akshay Paliwal Web Asim Ashish Aditya Prakash Ashish Kumar


The Rise of Crypto Currency itcoins, Bitcoins, Bitcoins, everywhere! Last year was undeniably the year of bitcoins, more than the year of smart watches or the commercialisation of 3D printing. The concept of bitcoin was baptized in late 2008, saw an adoption boom in early 2012, and got the attention of investors and government late last year. It was few measly dollars per Bitcoin in January 2013 and grew to around 1000 $ by the end of 2013, leaving everyone wondering if they had missed the boat in investing. Given its popularity, everyone is curious what all the fuss is about. Read on to find out. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency analogous to paper/coin currency made electronically, with a cryptographic hash function that is similar to in-built markings of paper currency, so no one counterfeits them. No country, bank , regulator or person controls this currency. They may own pieces of it, but no one has ownership rights over Bitcoin. It is peer-to-peer in nature, just like Bit-torrents. Once the number of created Bitcoins reaches 21 Million, no more will be made to keep inflation out.

No country, bank , regulator or person controls this currency. They may own pieces of it, but no one has ownership rights over Bitcoin. It is peer-topeer in nature, just like Bit-torrents. Once the number of created Bitcoins reaches 21 Million, no more will be made to keep inflation out.

Spring 2014 Geek Gazette

How does it work? You first need to set up a virtual wallet on your computer or mobile device. This is a free open-source software that can be downloaded from Users should treat their virtual wallet like a real one. It contains all your Bitcoin funds, transactions and security keys. Bitcoins can be bought online by using real money at online payment companies or exchanges. Lose the wallet, you lose your money. Once gone, there is no insurance for it. Just like gold and silver had to be mined, Bitcoin is also mined, albeit digitally. Mining is the process of adding transaction records to Bitcoin's public ledger of past transactions. This ledger of past transactions called block chain, serves to confirm transactions to the rest of the network . Bitcoin nodes use the block chain to distinguish legitimate Bitcoin transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere. Bitcoins can be used to buy any goods or services, if the vendor accepts them. You can send or receive Bitcoins via your wallet application. For each transaction, a unique electronic signature is added for security. The transaction is verified by a miner and permanently and anonymously stored throughout the Bitcoin network.

There are two ways of looking at Bitcoins: one as the digital currency that uses complex mathematical functions to be acquired, moved around and secured; the other as the transaction verification system. The former is the honey that attracts the bees, the conventional understanding of Bitcoins; the latter is the hive of the future. Unfortunately, regulators and laymen alike have been focusing their attention only to its value and inherent anonymity. On the other hand, some have been shrewd enough to spot the potential for innovation. Much could be exploited out of cyptocurrency's high divisibility. Bitcoin's lowest denomination is 1 satoshi which equals 0.00000001 bitcoin. As of today, one satoshi would be around 0.038 paise. Say, with every email you send, you are also required to send one satoshi to the recipient. Not much ,but what if you're a spammer? You will also be sending few tens of rupees, and that's significant amount for an enterprise that used to be free! Suddenly, Bitcoins' high divisibility has become a tool to fight spam. If you feel gorged about Bitcoin already, there are other substitutes. Litecoin, Dogecoin, Teslacoin, Elephantcoin are few of the kind all differing in their hashing algorithms, the number of coins available over time and other details.



AROUND TH Cosmic Inflation is now a fact. -March 2014 On March, 2014 scientists at Harvard Smithsonian centre for Astrophysics published evidences which turned untested theory on Cosmic Inflation into a fact. To establish this fact, they used a BICEP 2 Telescope to study the 13.5 billion years old residual energy (CMB consisting of electric and magnetic fields) of the Big Bang near South Poles dry atmosphere in between 2010 to 2012.

Scientists Hack Plants With Nanotubes to Supercharge Photosynthesis - March, 2014 By incorporating nanomaterials into the energy producing structures inside plants, in March, 2014 scientists have managed to turn an ordinary plant into a super plant by using carbon nanotubes to enhance the photosynthetic ability of the chloroplasts and triple a plant's energy-producing potential.

World's tiniest LED on a single molecule. -Feb. 2014 By coaxing light out of a single polymer molecule, researchers at University of Strasbourg made the world's tiniest (single molecule) LED with conducting polymer polythiophene in February, 2014. It is an interdisciplinary effort to make molecular scale electronic devices, which hold the potential for creating smaller but more powerful and energy-efficient computers.

Equations are art inside a Mathematician's brain. -March,2014 Brain scans show that a Mathematician's mind responds to beautiful equations in the same way other people respond to great paintings or masterful music. Scientists at University College London in March, 2014 found that the more beautiful an equation was to the mathematician, the more activity his or her brain showed in an area called the A1 field of the medial orbit frontal cortex. The finding could bring neuro scientists closer to understanding the neural basis of beauty, a concept that is surprisingly hard to define.

Asteroid 2014 AA Discovered Just Before Hitting Earth. -January, 2014 Around the world Science Scientists with the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson, Ariz., discovered first new asteroid of 2014, a car size space rock that apparently slammed harmlessly into Earth's atmosphere near the coast of West Africa at about 6 p.m. PST just after the New Year began, on 1st January, 2014. It is the only example after 2008 TC3 that an asteroid was discovered just prior to hitting Earth.


Geek Gazette


HE WORLD Samsung launches its 2014 flagship phone the Galaxy S5

-February, 2014

Worlds top smartphone maker Samsung, recently launched Galaxy S5 at MWC in Barcelona. This water and dust proof IP67 certified giant sports a new feature of heart-rate monitor and is an extension to its S-Health application and a fingerprint scanner.

SanDisk unveils the world s 128GB microSD card, iNand Extreme -February, 2014 As an extension to its being portable mission, SanDisk launched its iNand extreme 128GB microSD card. This can store your 16 hours of full HD movies or 7000 songs. Each card features 16 memory die, each thinner than a strand of hair, vertically stacked.

Boeing Unveils Secure Smartphone That Can 'Self-Destruct' -February, 2014 Taking inspiration from "Mission Impossible," aerospace giant Boeing is developing a highly secure, self-destructing smartphone that can encrypt calls, protect stored information, or, if someone tries to tamper with or open the phone's casing, delete all of the device's data.

Inflatable Aircraft could cruise Venus s skies -March, 2014 Engineers at aerospace firms Northrop Grumman and L'Garde have been working on an unmanned concept vehicle called the Venus Atmospheric Manoeuvrable Platform (VAMP) . To stay floating for longer time VAMP uses a mixture of powered flight and passive floating, collecting a variety of data about Venus and its atmosphere.

Atomically thin, flexible, semi-transparent solar cells created in Vienna -March, 2014 After a long research, experiments show that Arsenic Deselenite acts as Photo Voltaic Cells, when arranged in single atom layer. Ultra-thin layers made of Tungsten and Selenium have now been created that can be used as flexible, semi-transparent solar cells

Spring 2014



They have found me.

the institute as a whole, so he came up with the horrifying idea of the slope i.e. 'Amod Path'.

Those were the last words we heard as the line went dead. It all started 4 months ago when Geek Gazette's code-named undercover agent, Sleuth dozed off in the library after reading a rather boring passage on 'Indian Diaspora'. He woke up and found himself wrapped in pitch black darkness. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes wondering why it was so dark, when he heard an eerie sound, which appeared to be emanating from behind an old dusty shelf. Behind the shelf, Sleuth discovered a door which stood ajar. Tip-toeing towards the door, the sound became clearer. How long before the Electrical department switches the power supply back on? As long as we wish, Bellatrix is making sure everyone studying for the ETEs is disrupted in every possible way. Befuddled by the strange conversation, Sleuth sat there for as long as he could and discovered something that shocked him completely. The following is an excerpt from his report that he submitted to our headquarters, later that night: Within the institute, exists a secret society that calls itself MOVA (The Mystic Order of Vast Annihilation). MOVA was started under the guidance of Colonel Cautley when Sir James Thomason took all the credit for the setting up of the institute which was named 'The Thomason College' at that time. Colonel Cautley bestowed upon the members of MOVA a mission, to completely destroy the college from the inside like a parasite without an outsider ever knowing. And ever since that day the members of MOVA swore to do so. Not much progress was made by the group but then came along Fatigant Pente, a French architect who was humiliated by the director of his time. Pente too wanted revenge on the director and on


That's where his message for the night ended. Boggled with questions, we asked Sleuth to set out to his next espionage mission. And over the next few months, all we know is that he stalked, chased, pursued and did everything possible to find, as much as he could, about MOVA. Here are some of his engaging findings, which we wish to share with our readers, on a promise that they keep this a secret. One of the engineers who came up with the idea of the EC Tower was also a member of MOVA. He convoluted the calculations in a shrewd manner and made everyone believe that the tower had to be thrice as much underground as it was above the ground for it to function properly. The underground portion has served as their headquarters ever since. MOVA also had a major hand behind the mass food poisoning in RJB. Their action not only resulted in a wide spread panic among the students regarding the exams but also led to the RJB canteen shutting down, something which was unplanned for but nonetheless celebrated by the members of the Order. MOVA has also been responsible for the lamentable condition of Wi-Fi in the institute. Throughout the years various students have stumbled upon the existence of MOVA. The lack of adequate proof has forced them to pursue M.Tech and even Ph.D. in IIT-R, in a hope to unravel some more secrets of the Order. Sleuth's discovery gives rise to some extremely crucial questions, 'Is MOVA behind everything that goes and for that matter, ever went wrong with the institute'? Who were those people behind the Lipstick Scandal? Who was behind the placement fiasco of December 2013? In this pool of uncertainty you should take caution, as there are few whom you can trust.

Geek Gazette


BEAUTY AND MACHINES Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. For a mathematician beauty is . For an artist it lies in the proportions that match the golden ratio =1.618... and for a Physicist E=mc 2 is beautiful. Schumann's Incomplete Symphony is beautiful since it is different to each who hears it.But have you ever wondered how computers see beauty?

the ears. This brings us to a much more fundamental question. What if beauty is nothing but creativity? Creativity is almost impossible to define in objective terms. However, we all find new stories and poems to be very creative. Is it even possible to make a system that can be creative in these aspects? Substantial work has been conducted in this area of linguistic creation since the 1970s, with the development of James Meehan's TALE-SPIN system in which a story is generated by trying possible scenarios to reach a predestined goal.

Since about 2005, computer scientists have attempted to develop automated methods to infer aesthetic quality of images. These methods usually follow a machine learning approach where a large set of training data of manually rated images are fed into a computer and visual properties of these images are then used to rate new images. The Acquine engine, Then again, a story is as creative as the wordplay used in it. for example, developed at Penn State University, rates natural Sardonicus, by Tony Veale and Yanfen Hao, is a system in which similes can be retrieved on demand for any given photographs uploaded by users. adjective. They use these similes as the basis of an on-line Beauty, by very nature is subjective. But this has not deterred metaphor generation system called Aristotle that can suggest scientists from developing machines which try to lexical metaphors for a given descriptive goal (e.g., to describe deterministically make things of aesthetic appeal. a supermodel as skinny, the source terms pencil , whip , Algorithmic art is a visual art in which the design is generated whippet , rope , stick-insect and snake are suggested).As through an algorithm. Fractal art comes under algorithmic for poems, ASPERA, developed by Pablo Gervรกs, employs a art and shows a very important aspect of beauty. Beauty can be case-based reasoning (CBR) approach to generate poetic roughly translated to something that is simple and symmetric formulations of a given input text via a composition of poetic but is complex enough to stimulate the inner curiosity of the fragments that are retrieved from a case-base of existing poems. person. Music is an art form that can evoke powerful emotions. It is quite easy to think of it as a neural process which can be modelled by an artificial neural network. Many systems have come out in the recent past that use artificial neural networks combined with modified versions of genetic algorithms to generate music. These algorithms usually take, as a seed, data from a variety of sources which may not even be related to music. The algorithms then modify and mangle this data to make something that is much more soothing and pleasing to

Spring 2014

Beauty and creativity can stem from the collaboration of man and machine. Many artists use assistive algorithms in order to further their designs or to come up with novel or creative ideas.3D printers allow artists to create extremely complicated designs, sometimes imaginable only through equations, in the real world. Creativity and beauty may no longer be as rare as it is today. In a constantly changing world with creative machines becoming the norm, who knows what new forms of art lies in the future?




ILLUMINA The smartest company of the world

Think of being born in a world where every health problem that you may face throughout your life has already been anticipated and a personalised cure is available for you since your birth; or better still, of taking birth with no genetic disorders at all and having all the features as per your parents gene plan to endow you with the most desirable of genes, giving an all new meaning to Darwins natural selection. And in that utopian world, saying "the fittest survive" won't hold much meaning either. This and much more, like genetically embedded cure of cancer, genetically modified bio fuel for better efficiency and if audacious enough, even mutants and genetically modified soldiers can be brought to reality straight from fiction if the ultimate aim of genome sequencing is realised. Imagine everything that defines you, from the weirdest of habits to the most subtle of personality traits, from the sudden whims and impulses to the seemingly incurable disorders, be an attribution of a particular phrase (or the absence of it) in a document, called the genome sequence. With this entire genome sequence available, life could seemingly be thought of as an open book. This book, the map of the human genome is the blueprint of the sequence of genes in our body and all our maladies and syndromes are nothing but grammatical and typographical errors in this otherwise well-framed text. It seems God is not that perfect an author.

Thankfully, with genome sequencing and analysis as a tool, this genomic text has turned out to be editable (costing govt. humongous $3 billion and scientists 13 years of their lives) ; now the culprit molecules can be pinpointed and taken care of, promising the eradication of most diseases as we know them. In a stride, Illumina emerged as the majority shareholder (over 75%) in a sector that is being touted as the next big thing as the medicine industry. The credit goes to Illuminas latest technology, and the policy of either acquiring or outlasting the competitors along the way. Providing end to end services, from selling of the sequencing machines to analysis of the data generated to eventually manufacturing the personalised medicine, Illumina is on the brink of becoming the Intel of the medicine industry, the foremost supplier of the elementary technology. The flagship research of the company- the $1000 genome project is the sequel to one of the most astonishing scientific achievements of the past century and a technical tour de force involving the cataloguing of 4.9 trillion letters of human DNA code enough to fill 300,000 copies of War and Peace. And War and Peace is no mean feat either. The $120m (ÂŁ75m) project,

involving hundreds of scientists in an international collaboration of universities, charities and companies, is using advanced gene-sequencing technology to map out the full diversity of human DNA. It has already examined the DNA of more than 800 people and project has reached a level of detail unmatched by previous methods and located differences that occur in only 1% of the population. The pace at which they have achieved this success is tremendous. It is five times faster than the silicon industry s established Moores Law. So, when Illumina was adjudged the smartest company of 2013 by MIT technology review, way ahead of the likes of Google and Apple, no eyebrows were raised as bringing down the cost of sequencing from $3 billion to $1000 within a decade is no mean feat. From its humble beginning as a 25 person start-up targeting only a single area of the entire gene sequencing business, to a $1.2 billion corporation which completed the $1000 genome project, what Illumina has done is nothing short of magic. And for those who are still sceptic, we can do nothing, but to quote Arthur C Clarke "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".



CAMPUS " A thing of beauty is a joy forever". As you take a stroll around the campus the majestic white building and the greenery make a beautiful sight . But in between this serenity there are a few blunders which we all resent. Geek Gazette lists down some of the major designs gone wrong. Feel free to contribute to this list by mailing us at


Main Building Stairs The view which meets your eyes as you climb the stairs leading to the main building is nothing short of majestic. But the climb has always been a little uncomfortable. Wider than normal and smaller in height, these stairs are nothing like anyone would want them to be. A pretty normal flight of stairs would have worked just fine.


Radha Krishnan Bhawan The architecture of Radha Krishnan Bhawan is such that it restrains proper ventilation. The entire central part is empty and the building is covered from all the sides. This hostel is certainly a gloomy place to live in.


Although one of the best indoor stages in the region, it has a serious design flaw if one observes closely. The backdrop has an alternating pattern of contrasting panels that may blur your vision if you focus for too long.


Going to Alpahar or the Senate steps might be the most non happening idea for most of you, but ever asked your potbellied friends about this? It takes them a whole jogging session to complete the round trip. If only the barriers had been of knee height, they would have served their purpose adequately.


The street lights have been a critical element of most of the well-known campus horror stories. The street lights (near the convocation and LBS) are meant to turn on when people walk on that road. But they never work the intended way and turn on and off mysteriously thus spooking people.


For some of us the major hurdle is not attending lectures, but covering the endless route from our hostels to the LHC. Adding to the woes is the slope, Amodh Path. Climbing this slope is a herculean task and even more so, when one is late for a lecture. Amod Path has and will continue to torture the residents of R land for ages to come.


Backdrop of Convo

Entry Gates

Automated Street lights

The Slope

New Footpath Tiles

Spring 2014

Construction in the campus is an everyday phenomenon and this time the authorities came up with the brilliant idea of a footpath tiled with squares and rectangles.Footpaths are meant to facilitate effortless walking and these efficiently fail to do so . A wiser option would be to avoid walking on these footpaths altogether.

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THE ROORKEE VAUDEVILLE Everything I learned, I learned from the movies. is is what Audrey Hepburn, an exceptional actress and humanitarian of the golden age of Hollywood had to say about movies. It is safe to assume that what she said stands true for all of us.What we see on the screen, big or small and what we hear de nes us, especially in college. Be it your Bazinga T-shirt, your infatuation with Yellow or the urge to quote Tyler Durden in a conversation, these are all reminders that e things you WATCH, end up owning you! . Let us explore how we fall under the common archetypes!

eres a lady whos sure, all that glitters is gold e rest of the song is lost on us as we lie down on our beds, contemplating about life. What is it? What could it have been? To these modern Voltaires and Rousseaus , Howard Shore is nothing short of a God. ey focus on the lyric, the substance, the character building. To them, Breaking Bad is a stylish dream. ey relate to the con icting minds of the Sopranos. Tyler Durden is their hero. Beethoven and Mozart reign free in their rooms and minds alike. Wander free, Oh friends! For you are the open minded. Let time and old souls guide you to your unseen bull s eye. Let your thoughts conquer your body Enough for one category, no?

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain. - Bob Marley What happens behind locked doors of Rajiv and RKB on a Friday night is a mystery too deep for even the folks at Baker Street to solve. What we know for sure is that the people inside these rooms are the ring-bearers of a genre of music and TV that has shaped popular culture for more than ve decades. Pink Floyd, Bob Marley and countless others are worshipped by this cult. Laughing uncontrollably on South Park or even a funny cat video is not at all weird for them. You would also nd their iPods laden with trippy Da Punk or Avicii tracks that would get your heart racing anytime of the day.

I got obsessed with classical music, I got obsessed with Chopin, with playing the piano. Who better than Gary Oldman, one of the nest actors on screen and on stage, a bass guitarist, a Commissioner and an Animagus to describe the attachment to classical arts? Classics have ways of their own to nd a special place in your heart. Be it music or theatre, they have given rise to some of the greatest performers in the world. ere is no surprise that there exists a certain sect of people, in our very own campus who are obsessed with the ner arts. Be it Indian or Western, they are devoted to this form of entertainment. ey turn to Wagner, Bach, Rachmaninov and countless others for their share of eargasms. For the Indian classic lovers there are Zakir Hussain, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar and a countless others to follow.


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I jumped across for you, Oh what a thing to do! Ever listened to Coldplay on a loop and daydreamed about her in lectures? Welcome to the club! ese are all Teds and Rosses of IITR. ey have found the one. ey really think there is Something in the way she moves ! However macho they might portray themselves, they all cried at the end of A Walk to Remember. Mind you, we have nothing against the Beatles or Coldplay or any other band for that matter. We cry ourselves to sleep on Inside of Love too!

I broke a thousand hearts, before I met you. Id break a thousand more, baby, before I m through. George orogood s words blast out from the earphones and from every bre of a rare few of us. eir sheer con dence is contagious. ey are the Barney Stinsons and Charlie Harpers of our college. eir 007-ish smoothness and Clint Eastwood-ian ruggedness makes them topics of hot discussion behind the enigmatic gates of Sarojini and Kasturba.

For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy. rule: hunt or be hunted.

ere is but one

Francis Underwood s take on Politics and the conniving nature of Politicians is so true, we are afraid we might ruin it with seemingly useless follow-up. eir ambitions and jugaad is worth an applause. Beware of them, though, they might step over you without thinking twice!

We don t think a Honey Singh quote is worth the e ort to press shi to type the inverted commas but Hey! Italics! ese dudes and dudettes are the mood setters of chapos. eir spirits y as carefree as the wind. eir taste in music and lm might not be awe-inspiring but it sure as hell gets us all pumped up. Moreover, you could crack a billion jokes at their expense and they wouldn t care less! Worth mentioning in this section are the belt twisting specialists and all those whose romantic imagination is limited to their arms stretched wide on a beautiful Swiss landscape. is abnormally large crowd still believes the fact that our movies are cinematic Mona Lisas. We could crib all day long but we are content with the fact that at least no one still cares about Anu Malik True, above categories are far too limiting to describe the diversity that our institute possesses. ere is an insatiable appetite for new content, whatever new stu the terabyte level DC gods share, we devour hungrily. Still, what we can say without a trickle of doubt is that we all, to some extent, belong to each of the above categories. We all learn and develop our own taste for media. ere is no such thing as bad taste. All is well that plays well with you!

Spring 2014



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Geek Gazette Geek Gazette


President sahab ka bakwaas aur ek aadh contents

Spring 2014 Spring 2014

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ver had a feeling that someone is tracking your actions, looking at your pictures, interpreting what you need and then providing you a means to get it. Well, maybe it's your guardian fairy. But chances are that it is a colossal computer armed with monstrous algorithms resting at some corner of the headquarters of a website where you happily log on to see photos of that random girl you saw at CBRI. Not very comfortable, isn't it? Companies have always been using the patterns in the data you leave behind while shopping or simply surfing the net, to try and sell you things. But there is a thin line between keeping track of and spying. Recently, a company named 'target' made use of shopping patterns of ladies to predict if they were pregnant to send them relevant discount coupons. This really creeped out a father when his high school going daughter received discounts on baby products in the mail. Damn! In return of helping you connect and share with people in your life, Facebook and Google+ already use your data to provide you with relevant feeds and ads; but let Artificial Intelligence, Deep learning and predictive marketing come into the picture and the sophistication escalates quickly. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are helping marketers and advertisers glean insights from the vast ocean of consumer data collected by the world's


largest social networks. With millions of users actively sharing personal information to Facebook, it's easy to envision the role machine learning could play in deciphering this data. Artificial intelligence could help the company achieve better results for targeted ads and news feed improvements. Your photos are also being looked at, that too with little or no admiration; after all it's a machine doing it. Image recognition technology is now advanced enough to reliably identify brand logos in photos. Soon, marketers will be able to measure brand sentiment by analyzing images that contain their logo or merchandise. Brands will also be able to track how images associated with their brand are being shared across social networks how often and by what sorts of audiences. Facebook and Google have already in their dreams, counted the money they could make by just making sense of what we provide them for free, access. Facebook launched a new research lab dedicated entirely to advancing the field of AI. Deep learning expert Yann LeCun is directing the efforts of the lab. LeCun, a computer scientist at New York University says Deep learning will soon change the way Facebook and other companies handle your images .

Geek Gazette

COVER STORY Do people use social media to portray a happier and more successful version of themselves?

Have the number of likes on your social media post, changed your mood or selfesteem? 57 %

92 % 41 %

71 %

73 %

86 % 36 %

88 % 93 %

61 % 46 %

82 %

53 %

91 %

52 %

87 %

Does spending time on social media make you feel better about your life? 46 %

Does your social media profile reflect what you are like in reality? 29 % 27 %

53 %

64 %

32 % 32 % 33 %

36 % 42 % 52 %

52 % 42 %

25 % 40 %

39 %

Does social media aid you in connecting with people of same intellect and taste?


KB (48 )

33 % 42 %

sb (59)

41 %

azad (22) 60 % 61 %

cautley (73)

55 % 72 % 58 %

Spring 2014

rkb (25) rjb (84) rajiv (128) total (439)


COVER STORY It may be possible for Facebook's search engine to know the face of a friend, or to organize images that are taken in the same place or with the same people. Meanwhile Google also acquired DeepMind, a company that built learning algorithms for ecommerce, simulations, and games, for $ US 400 million. DeepMind's 50 employees are considered to be among the most talented experts in the field of AI. In the light of recent events, if you wonder that Facebook paying $ 19 Billion for WhatsApp was too much, then don't. Considering what it is worth, it's just a nominal amount Facebook paid to get more of what it craves for, 'access'. Now, Facebook just has to synchronize your phone number with

WhatsApp and link it to your account and bang! Earlier it only knew your interests from your posts, likes and shares but now it cane data mine into your Facebook and WhatsApp conversations and there it is, more access. Till now, they serve advertisements based on your past, but with WhatsApp messaging data they can even serve ads anticipating what you are going to do next. Ask someone to go out for a movie in the evening and when you log on to Facebook you may receive ads of cinema theatres. So some time later if you tell your parents your CGPA on WhatsApp and then find ads about job openings at nearby grocery stores, you know that the computer has learned sarcasm too!

LIFE AND TIMES AROUND SOCIAL MEDIA Online virtual communities are a happening place where all of us get to participate, where unexpected things go viral and a few trend setters tend to influence us. The upside of these communities is that they have dismantled stereotypes and brought together people of same intellect and tastes. But these virtual communities have now started to dig into our real lives. People who have access to various social networks online tend to be more narcissistic than their predecessors who were literally old school. And we do actually have proof for this one. Studies show that #me is the second most used hash tag used on twitter. A related published paper concluded that narcissists use Twitter as a means of amplifying one's own perceived superiority to others. And Facebook as a technologically enhanced mirror, reflecting a preoccupation with one's own image, others' reactions to this image, and a desire to update the

image as frequently as possible. The very setup of social media provides a way to keep score. We now tend to post material on Facebook which is more appreciated by our friends, in simpler terms stuff that gets more likes on the network, making our profiles more presentable or in crude terms more marketable. Clearly people on our online social networks also have a say in molding our personality. Undoubtedly we have allowed social media to attain so much power that it can now add, subtract and modify our desires. You might stop wearing your favorite cap if your friends don't like you in it. Technology is redefining who we are and taking us places we don't want to go. It appeals to us where we are vulnerable the most. The paradoxical situation is that in this nebulous online world we are connected and yet alone.

Puzzle Corner A very special island is inhabited only by geeks and nerds. Geeks always tell the truth, and nerds always lie. You meet six inhabitants: Abe, Betty, Ted, Sally, Bozo and Dave. Abe says that it's not the case that Sally is a nerd. Betty tells you that Abe is a nerd. Ted claims that Abe is a nerd. Sally tells you that both Abe is a geek and Bozo is a nerd. Bozo says, 'Either I am a geek or Dave is a geek.' Dave claims that Bozo is a nerd or Sally is a nerd. Can you determine who is a geek and who is a nerd?

Mail your answers to : Congrats to the winners of last issue! Kartik Patel, ECE 1st Year and Ritvik Sharma, MT, 1st Year.

Visit us at : 20

Geek Gazette


The Quantum

Spark of Life

The existence of the soul is one of the most important questions of life. Although religions go on and on about its existence, how do we know if souls really exist? Is there any scientific proof of its existence? The spark of life is an elusive thing which has baffled people over the years. It is thus no wonder that tales like that of Frankenstein are well known. Unexplained by any proper laws and with no apparent reason for existence, the soul just exists. Most religions talk of the soul as an eternal force which gives rise to free will and allows us to ask questions such as who we are and what our purpose here is. Science, on the other hand, could not accept free will. Where in the logical picture of science could a free will come in? Could thoughts affect how the molecules in our brain moved around and ultimately cause us to raise a hand, pick a magazine and read this very article? Nope, classical physics said that we did not have any free will. Thomas Huxley, a famous English biologist, once said, We

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are merely conscious automata helpless spectators like Pacman. However, with the advent of quantum physics and the idea of Uncertainty, the idea of souls and free will started to make a comeback. The equation E. t > h/2 says that at small time scales, quantum fluctuations in energy are quite large. This energy could be used to move the atoms in the brain around, change bonds or fire neurons. Using the ideas of the Butterfly Effect (the scientific theory, not the movie), this small change in the movement of the atoms could cause a large change in an other wise deterministically evolving system. Sceptics were quick to jump in by saying that the energy was too small to affect even a Vander Waals bond, let alone causing a neuron to fire. Also the time period is so small, even though conservation of energy is violated, nature fails to notice. They showed that thermal energy and its fluctuations are larger than what quantum fluctuations can cause and if any Butterfly effect should be caused, then it'd be more pronounced by thermal energy. Living systems are just too warm wet, and noisy. It has been known for quite some time that the brain behaves differently when sleeping and when under anaesthesia. In the latter case, the brain continues to be as active as ever but there is a total lack of consciousness and sense of time. In the former, there is a sense of time and some consciousness remains. Stuart Hameroff, along with Roger Penrose, developed a theory, taking ideas from this phenomenon, which is currently considered to be the leading theory on

consciousness and souls. According to the theory, consciousness is merely a quantum information and that this i n f o r m at i o n , t h e p r e c u r s o r t o consciousness, existed since the Big Bang. This consciousness acts by the entanglement of microtubules in the neurons of the brain. Every once in a while, this entanglement can be with the outside world leading to out of body experiences. On the other hand, anaesthesia leads to temporar y disentanglement. This theor y successfully explains reincarnation and after life. It also claims that levels of consciousness can resonate from the Planck scale along multiple hierarchical levels all the way to the brain. By understanding these seemingly bizarre phenomenon, we may actually unlock the code that works at the microtubule level. What if we could upload or teleport the quantum consciousness to artificial media made out of Graphene or microtubule array? By further enhancing the technology, we c ou l d e ve n c re ate a c ol l e c t ive consciousness very much like what Isaac Asimov's books predicted. The opportunities are endless and prospects infinite. It may even take us many years to even scratch on the surface of the true meaning of the soul but as they say in the Quantum world, everything that can happen, does happen.

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Indian Origins of Alchemy


lchemy is a science which can be referred to as the precursor to modern day chemistry, material science and medicine. Majority of people, in the present era, consider alchemy to be just weird hoo-doo and deception having nothing to do with science. Alchemy is the art of achieving perfection, thus for metals, it is gold and for man, immortality. It is considered to be an attempt to achieve the impossible completely outside the realm of reality. But the lore of the Philosopher's stone actually exists in many cultures, not just in the world of Harry Potter. Although, the roots of alchemy can be found in Medieval Europe, in the Renaissance age, historians believe that it might have been introduced to Ancient India with the invasion of Alexander the Great in 325BC. Searching for alchemy in Indian texts, our Vedas describe a connection between gold and eternal life. The use of mercury for alchemy has been documented in the Artha-Shastra and even the Buddhist texts have mentioned the transmutation of base metals to gold. Ancient Indian Alchemy or Rasayana revolved around the art

of attaining 'Moksha' (salvation) by manipulating Rasa i.e. nectar. In the Indian subcontinent, at first this art was restricted to certain operations, such as restoring the health and increasing longevity of life. But now even Yoga-shastra and Ayurveda, are also believed to be influenced by alchemy which hold a significant place in the field of medicine in the 21st century. Researchers say that if the above experiments indeed occurred then cold fusion could be a possible explanation for it. Cold fusion refers to a low-energy nuclear reaction occurring at room temperature instead of the high temperature requirement for nuclear reactions as in Sun or in nuclear power plants. The physics known to man till date rules out any possibility of cold fusion reaction but this field has been quite controversial from a long time now. .It's true that currently there is no apt explanation for cold fusion, but if it could be explained by any random Sheldon Cooper around the globe, the laws of physics could be re-written stating the alchemy from the tattered history pages to be not just another hypothesis, but a scientific reality

Into the land of Unknowns


here may not be a single person who has not considered the idea of a different, better or maybe more interesting world. If you have not, Rohit Shetty has certainly done so. Looking at his recent work, one can certainly imagine a universe where laws of gravity act differently for different entities and concepts like inertia and momentum lose their meaning. Let alone changes in physical laws, maybe there is a universe slightly different from ours where things may have turned out differently and you have a better CPI and your relatives are jealous of you. Existence of our universe is possible because of four fundamental forces. First is the strong nuclear force which binds quarks into protons and neutrons and makes the existence of matter possible. Electromagnetic force without which there will be no light, no atoms and no chemical bonds. Then of course there is gravity which coalesce matter into star, planets and galaxies. Fourth force is the weak nuclear force which has a very subtle presence in our life, but has a major role in existence of the universe as we know it. Imagine one day, we humans gain power to alter this very fabric of universe and bend its rules. Given the amount of curiosity we have, indeed


that would be a hell right out of Marvell's universe! Scientists are trying to devise a new set of physical laws, which give rise to a feasible universe where life is possible. This is generally done by tweaking a particular parameter without changing other aspects. Then, they calculate what might possibly go wrong or what might lead to doom and when it would lead to doom. Thanks to butterfly effect, even a small change may lead to disastrous results. But this approach is not necessary and two or more parameters can be changed at the same time which leads to more complex situations. Anthropic principle states that for the existence of a universe, existence of life on it is also a necessity. That is, it must be possible to observe some Universe, and hence, the laws and constants of any such universe must accommodate the possibility of life. Although in theory, it feels that nature prefers a certain set of values over other. And it might seem impossible, for now, to prove the existence of a place with different set of laws and certainly impossible to visit one. But all in all, it is upon the infinite curiosity of a man's mind to dwell deep into them to understand our true place in the universe.

Geek Gazette

A G N I Z A B !



GG: A very warm afternoon, Dr. Cooper. Dr. Cooper: Well, it's 4:02 PM here already so I wish you a very Good Evening. I am sitting in the sheer comfort of my spot, so the milieu is impeccable and you can get the best of me. As far as this interview is concerned, it's just a manifestation of my reply in lieu of those 432 e-mails you had sent me in the past 28 days.

GG: Oh! Apologies for nagging you. Dr. Cooper: Don't be flabbergasted. I firmly believe that one's comprehensive abilities elude them once they're made to encounter individuals that are well above their intellectual station. Life's going to throw tantrums; I can but only hope you dodge them.

Physics and I discovered my way into String Theory and it became fun.

GG: After that you joined Caltech as a String Theorist. How was Caltech? Dr. Cooper: Of course Caltech was great. I met my roommate Dr. Leonard Hofdstader and two other friends Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali and Howard Wolowitz simple plain Howard Wolowitz without the 'Dr.'

GG: And about your relationship with Amy Farrah Fowler, we Dr. Cooper: I thought there were to be no personal questions. Anyway, since you brought it up, I'd say my relationship with Amy started somewhat as a bonding between two superior intellects whose sole purpose was to provide this world with a progeny having unparalleled prowess in science which later transformed as she fell prey to the common needs be it emotional or sexual. Now our relationship encompasses two dimensions; emotional and intellectual. And I think I'm going to let it pass. You know what they say, no pain no gain.

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GG: Damn. It is strange that a man of your stature can be so, ah well, blunt. Dr. Cooper: I was only being helpfully honest and not brusque.

GG: Okay, so let's begin with your journey. You completed your PhD at 16 from MIT. How was the experience? Dr. Cooper: As I mentioned earlier, that it's always exasperating to work with people who are, how to put it so that you won't be offended, incompatible on a basis which matters to you the most . However, keeping their insolence aside the experience was good. There was a lot of learning.

GG: Well, thanks a lot for your precious time, Dr. Cooper. It was really an enriching experience talking to you. Dr. Cooper: You're welcome. I always try and give science students any chance I can to associate with me in any way possible and make their experience cherishing.

GG: You got to learn? Dr. Cooper: No. I never said I got to learn. There was a good thing though. It opened new dimensions for me to interact with

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GG: But it was one hell of a job for us to reach you Dr. Cooper: Well 'engineering' is no science. Bazinga!




IIT Roorkee Live

014 marked TED's 30th anniversary and on this occasion TEDx IIT Roorkee organized by EDC, streamed the TED conference held in Vancouver, Canada. The conference had some amazing and renowned personalities as speakers. The first speaker of the eve was the cofounder of Applied Minds, Bran Ferren. He, through the example of the Pantheon in Rome stressed on the notion that art when integrated with science can create miracles and that both together and equally make us what we are. Second was Mark Kushner who highlighted the point that architecture around people is meant to make emotional connections with them and that now buildings don t just reflect our society, they shape our society. The third speaker came as a surprise. It was Edward Snowden, who talked through a bot which he controlled from somewhere in Russia. In his interaction with the host he talked about the intention, motivation and his sacrifice behind the NSA leak. Between the two sessions of the event an interactive session was conducted with the aim of getting people to know each other and strike conversations among themselves on topics they were interested in. The interactive session also had a group game to

let the participants mix up with people they did not know. This was followed by Zak Ebrahim who shared his life story and his experiences of being the son of a terrorist who was involved in the 1993 terror strike on the US. He told the audience how he chose to break free from that environment and become a peace activist instead. There was also a short talk by Allan Adams who explained the recent breakthrough in science which strengthened the notion of existence of multiple universes. Next was the interview of Bill and Melinda Gates who talked about their philanthropic efforts, what they have achieved and what they aim on doing next. They gave the audience an insight into how their organization came into existence and their motive behind its inception. The event ended with Sting taking the stage. He shared his life story with the audience and how he chose music as a career when his only socially accepted option was to work in a shipyard. He also performed various exclusive songs in between, ending the show on a beautiful musical note. Overall the event was a great experience for all the attendees. The talks were undoubtedly interesting and a perfect blend of technology, entertainment and design.

A Greener Step: Solar Panels


es, those things on the top of your department do work. And believe us, they work really fine. The solar panels that have been installed on top of almost every building here in IITR are the next big thing towards this campuss modernization. Too much money for this fancy, you might ask? Nah, not really. Not when they cut down half of your expenditures. Let us put down some facts. This project being a government initiative, was planned under the aegis of Alternate Hydro Energy Centre and comes under a much greater and noble Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. This is the first time, when IIT Roorkee, rather than just being a consumer started producing one of its own needs. Something to cheer for! Isn t it? Big and anti-reflective polycrystalline solar panels are being put up on the roof tops all over the campus. Roorkee, being fairly blessed by Sun-God Apollo, receives a good supply of Suns radiant energy, measuring to approximately 6.02 kWh/m2/day, which is apt for harnessing solar energy. The project, which is currently in its Phase-1, is divided in three phases: Solar Photo Voltaic Systems (Phase 1), Solar Cooking in Mess (Phase 2) and Solar Geyser System (Phase 3). The model being used for Solar PV system is a grid tie system


without battery backup. The frames used, are made up of anodized aluminium and are 25 micron thick coated with SiN/TiO2. These frames first receive solar radiation and convert it to dc voltage. Thereafter, large inverters accomplish the job of converting this dc to ac and then directly feed it to the main supply without storage. Manufactured by Moser Baer India, these PV systems are of non-tracking type and have to face towards South for maximum efficiency. They have no provision to store electricity either. In spite of these so called short-comings, this keepthings-simple policy has resulted in something quintessential, that is, cutting down the cost of installation. And that too, to a great extent. Number of modules to be installed: 6437 Total power generation capacity: 1812.6 kW The total electricity consumption of campus: 56,56,160 kWh/year Proposed saving in electrical consumption: 31,00,000 kWh/year % of power consumption saved: 54%

Geek Gazette


The discovery of Higgs Boson & Quark Gluon Plasma The discovery of Higgs boson is hyped as an answer to the sub-atomic building blocks of the universe, but this brouhaha only explains 2 percent mass of the visible universe. - Dr. D. K. Srivastava

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n a guest lecture organized on 3rd February, Dr. D. K. Srivastava, FNASc, a distinguished scientist & director of Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre, Kolkata, delivered insight into the discovery of Higgs boson and Quark Gluon Plasma. The talk encapsulated a story of the marvels of High Energy Physics, Boson and QGP, and their impact on the greatest quest of the mankind history, to unfold the mystery of origin of the universe. Here is an account of his talk. The roots of Boson discovery date back to 1960s when two scientists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson serendipitously detected some noise in their large horn antenna. The source of this noise was earlier suspected to be pigeon droppings, but was later confirmed to be the presence of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR). Even a part of static grains in our television, when it is out of signal, is due to these leftover radiations from Big Bang explosion. That means, if someone asks you to prove the Big Bang, all you need to do is open your TV and unplug the signal cable! A key event took place in 2001 when LEP (a lepton collider) was dismantled to build up Large Hadron Collider, LHC, to carry on and explore different theories of high energy physics. This high precision machine made it possible to detect the trace amount of Higgs particle created for septillionth of a second. It

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is a story for another time that for this septillionth second, LHC became the hottest spot in our solar system, even 5 times the temperature of Suns core. Moving on to Quark Gluon Plasma (QGP) or the quark soup, as the name suggests, are made up of free quarks and gluons. Here, quarks are the elementary building blocks of protons and neutral neutrons, and gluons are particles that "glue" quarks together using the so-called strong force. QGPs were discovered at ALICE (one of the four sections of LHC) in a beautiful elliptic gold nuclei collisions. And why were we interested in finding QGPs? Well, the scientists believed that the universe was like this in the first hundred microseconds after its formation. As you would expect, density of QGP is so high that its 1 cm3would weigh more than 40 billion tons! Towards the end, Dr. Srivastava said that the magnitude of data of the whole discovery was so huge to process, that the World Wide Web was discovered by Tim Burners Lee at CERN in 1989 to facilitate the research across the globe. But, even now, the amount of data to be explored is way more than what has been explored. On a positive note, Dr. Srivastava left the audience enthralled, saying that We have many questions and physics has just started answering them. There is much to come.




athematics can be considered a tool that helps us to delve deep into the true facets of nature. It can also be treated as an enumerated form of logics or maybe as a junkyard of equations. But what if complex equations start turning into ideas so simple and liberal that a layman can comprehend it in one go. One such mathematical model is Nash Equilibrium, illustrated fairly in the movie A Beautiful Mind as, When all the guys go a er the same girl, they end up blocking each other's way and no one gets her. Later, as a last resort they approach others only to be turned down as no girl would prefer to be a second choice. If they had considered each other's choices earlier, they all would have gone in such a way so as not to block each other's way and found the best outcome . Cheers to John Nash! Cheers to Governing Dynamics! Imagine what if one day we want to minimize 'the e ort to live our lives' through Nash's theorem. What if we try to nd the perfect equilibrium so that we all have to work the least to get best output! Let's explore this idea, in context to something that we all are familiar with, our grading system. In the rst case, we analyze the normal scenario that takes place with us. Students interact with each other but don't co-ordinate. ey know the preparations of their fellow mates. However, they don't devise a proper strategy which will lessen their e orts. erefore distribution of marks is less skewed and spreads over the entire range of marks. Here the value of average is high, and the corresponding standard deviation too is quite large. In second case, we consider a situation in which the students neither interact nor coordinate with each other. Nobody is particularly aware about the preparations of the batch as a whole. us all will put in their best e orts to maintain even the average grades. is will push the average high with reduced deviation. Consider the next case, in which there is good interaction as well as coordination within the group. All plan to just cross the passing marks barrier. Here average along with deviation will remain low. us similar grades will be awarded with considerably reduced e orts. Yet again! Time to say cheers to John Nash! Cheers to Governing Dynamics!


Shukla . . chinta mat kar aa jayega tera graph


Geek Gazette


The Meaning Of Life


ince its beginning, humankind has tried to give life a purpose. From our bony fish forefathers at the Cambrian explosion, to a student taking a nap in a boring Biology lecture, we have always tried to evolve, to move forward. And in this whole process of evolution, a thing which evolved with us is our notion of life. Let us explore from the beginning of yore, how we pursued the biggest paradox of all times, the purpose of human life.

of Renaissance. A culture revolution that profoundly affected intellectual life of medieval era man and eventually gave birth to a more rational and logical way of thinking, science. Slowly, the church started losing its grip over god and people began to realize that the truth of life was far different from the superiority of religion. Finally, in later Ages of Enlightenment, people like Nietzsche and Kant brought an end to objective meaning of life, giving birth to nihilism and saying that life has no intrinsic meaning.

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Long ago when we humans came into existence, we faced challenges like food, shelter and water. We crossed many rivers before we could stumble at our first cities, and even more to stumble at the gates of our first civilizations. Soon the society and then the deity came into picture. It was this society which gave birth to human greed, which in turn to war. Thus asserting a need of God and his fury to tame the sins of man. Until the emergence of first religion on the preaching of Buddha, life was all about survival of the fittest. It was then, people started laying down rules. Rules like The Old Testament, which sold fear and guilt or The Bhagvad Gita, which was a good code of ethics. Great philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates came out of crowd to tell us that meaning of life was eudaemonia, i.e. achieving highest good. Everywhere there were fairy tales of hope, happiness and survival. All this by a life form that originated as a probabilistic error in the flow of time? Too much to ask, is it? After this spread of religion across the world, came the Age

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Yes, it is true. Rather than searching for impractical abstract truth about life, it is, at times, more important to understand life through experience. And we do agree that instead of a collective meaning of human life, there exists an existential attitude, i.e. the meaning of life of an individual is to be decided only by him, not by the society. But even between these modern day theories of pragmatism and existentialism, we are blessed with a curious mind that will explore the possibilities of purpose of our existence.

What are we but stardust? Discarded remains of a gigantically complex system at work called the cosmos. Fortunately we have developed sentience which is as much a boon as a bane. Governed by laws of entropy which force the human thought sphere to delve into more complexities than ever experienced before, meaning of life can be explained by theories of Karma or Nihilism or Eclecticism or Determinism or Absurdism or Epiphenomenalism or simple Hedonism. Maybe, the meaning of life is to give life a meaning. Or Maybe 42.




SACHIN GUPTA From Google to HackerEarth Sachin Gupta graduated from IIT Roorkee in 2012 and then worked at Google. He quit his job after three and a half months and cofounded HackerEarth with another IITR alumnus, Vivek Prakash. HackerEarth is now one of the largest platforms to discover programmers from around the world. In this interview, Geek Gazette explores his journey from being a software developer to an entrepreneur. GG: How would you describe your college years at IIT R? SG: My college years at IIT Roorkee were the most formative years of my life. College life is mostly about experimentation and discovery. You don t have to worry about anything and you get a chance to explore different things and meet a variety of people. You find some of the best friends and realize some of the most fundamental things about yourself. I have some unforgettable memories of my college life and what I am today is an extension of what I had discovered about myself then. GG. Leaving the job at Google and working on a start-up; that was a big step. What encouraged you to do that? SG: Me and my co-founder Vivek, always wanted to start-up. In fact just before finishing college I was seriously contemplating on not joining Google and directly plunging into HackerEarth, but then due to certain reasons I could not. So when I finally got a chance to quit Google and start working on our start-up, it came very naturally to me. The fact that I had been mentally prepared about quitting my job from the very beginning made it easier. GG. When did this idea of starting HackerEarth first come to your mind? SG: This idea came to us towards the end of 4-1. One of my very close friends who was brilliant could not clear the Google

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interview. At the end we realized that it was the company s loss and not his. This guy could have got a job with any company he wanted. It made us realize that the current process of interviewing and hiring by the companies had significant loop holes. That motivated us to start HackerEarth. GG. Brief us on how HackerEarth works. How is it different from Codechef, TopCoder and HackerRank? SG: At HackerEarth we are solving the problem of technical recruitment by building the largest community of developers from around the world. We are building a place where developers can solve interesting problems, connect with other developers and discover great jobs. Competitive programmers are only one subset of the overall set of programmers and sites like Codechef, TopCoder and HackerRank cater only to that audience. What we are building at HackerEarth is larger and way more inclusive. GG: We would like to know about your experience at Google. How was it different from working at HackerEarth? SG: My experience as a full time developer at Google (though only for 31/2 months) was very useful. Google is a behemoth in the industry and when it launches a product, it starts operating on the scale of millions from the very first day. Such work places force you to think about scalability right from the beginning,

Geek Gazette


At Google I was just a software developer, but at HackerEarth I am a developer, a sales person, a marketer, a designer and if needed also a support staff. Doing so many things helps you grow as a person.


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The Man from Earth

What if a man from the upper Paleolithic survived until the present day?

The Man from Earth is one of those low budget, talking heads movies which leaves your imagination and perception of reality gasping at the end. It is the story of Professor John Oldman, who on his surprise farewell party narrates a tale claiming that he is a CroMagnon, a Magdalenian caveman who had walked on this planet for over 14 millennia and had survived for some strange reason without ageing. The ardent explorers of science fiction would agree that the concept of immortality has always been fascinating to humans and even more to Jerome Bixby, who was among the first ones to contemplate it. The Man from Earth is one of the last works of Bixby, which he completed on his deathbed back in 1998. And thanks to Richard Schenkman, who made this story come to life in 2007. The movie has neither a big budget nor big names and no showy special effects to vouch for it, and you may want to get rid of the film as soon as you start it and forget about it, but just don t! It may have been shot in a very limited location which is simply a small cabin and its surroundings and has no special effects to boast about, but all the above ingredients seem trivial while watching this movie as the core concept itself is mesmerizing. The thought provoking conversation between John and fellow Harvard professors, and Johns views on religion, pain, family, society and life will hammer your beliefs and assumptions so hard that they will be shaped in a whole new way. A story of an immortal who cannot age and has to move on from time to time to avoid suspicion seemed laughable at first to his friends, fellow Harvard experts. But when they realize he is logically and chronologically able to justify things, they start getting uncomfortable, unable to accept the claim but still bemused by the scientific beauty in the explanation. Anyone can connect with the state of mind of the colleagues of John as he unfolds his beautiful saga. This movie is a textbook example of the fact that you don t need money equivalent to what is required for a space project to make a good movie. One of those rare sci-fi films which leave a lasting impression without effects, action or glamour. Definitely, a must watch for all geeks!

App Review Greenify Developer : Oasis Feng Rating : 4.6/5 Do you ever wish your apps would stop eating your battery to the point of having to uninstall certain apps just to have your flashy smartphone run one whole day? Greenify comes to the rescue, hibernating always running apps and saving precious battery life. This is the best battery saving app and others which claim to boost your battery have negligible performance gains compared to Greenify. It is worth mentioning that if you do choose to hibernate an app, you will no longer receive push notifications from it unless you manually run the app. However, as a donation feature (available for a measly $3) you can have GCM push enable for hibernated apps. This basically means applications depending on the Google Cloud infrastructure to send push notifications will still have working notifications even when hibernated. These include well used apps such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.


Geek Gazette


TextSecure Developer : Open Whispers Systems Rating : 4.5/5 With the recent wave of privacy awareness due to Facebooks ridiculous seeming $16 billion purchase of WhatsApp, a flurry or new-fangled applications have cropped up which promise security and privacy of your messages. Certain apps such as Telegram have successfully managed to grab a sizeable chunk of the WhatsApp userbase on promises of a secure custom protocol. However, security researchers have repeatedly pointed out flaws which are not quite acknowledged by Telegram. It s also essential to know Telegram is developed by the very same people who run the Russian Facebook alternative, VKontakte. TextSecure has an open source, peer-reviewed implementation of cryptographically secure techniques ensuring absolute authenticity, privacy and integrity of your messages. Combined with a snappy Holo UI and the ability to revert to SMS in case of shifty internet access, TextSecure is definitely the goto app if you re a freak about your privacy. It s also a great Hangouts alternative if you are still into SMS!

Xposed Module Android OS has been hugely popular for the level of customization it provides to the user. However, even with that stock ROMs are usually rather lacking in features the user really wants. In comes Xposed Module, allowing you extreme customization by implementing kernel level hacks. Outstanding features include Xposed apps allowing complete removal of advertisements from inside other apps (MinMinGuard), hardware button torch feature which works even with screen off (Xposed Torch) and a cosmetic app which changes the color of the status bar depending on what app you have running (Tinted Status Bar). Apps such as XBlastTools, Wanam Xposed and Gravity Box also exist for Xposed which act as all-in-one customization engines.

Gadget Review Innovations through Crowd-Funding The Dash You might have heard of smartphones and smart watches but a German outfit called Bragi is using Kickstarter to gather steam for an entirely new concept: smart headphones. The so-called Dash headphones not only offer the usual set of advanced features like Bluetooth wireless connectivity and a built-in mic, they perform all sorts of functions that have nothing to do with audio. The Dash tracks the body s performance during exercise, monitoring speed, time, distance and cadence, as well as heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent. All of these statistics are monitored in real-time. Apparently, the headphones achieve this with some very delicate little tools: a 3-axis accelerometer, infrared LED and optical sensor, a five-field capacitive sensor, and even a 32-bit ARM processor like you might find in a smartphone. Even if you have no interest in using the Dash for their athlete-focused properties, the smart headphones offer up even more impressive features. For instance, the headphones offer passive noise isolation to say, let you sleep, but you can also turn on audio transparency to pass through ambient noise when you need it, like jogging on roadside. The Dash are completely water-resistant and an embedded 4GB music player can hold roughly 1,000 songs to play when you don t have a phone connected. It can also

Spring 2014


GEEK ZONE double as a Bluetooth headset using an embedded ear bone microphone, which picks up mechanical vibration generated by your voice from the ear bone, helping to eliminate background noise. So far, Bragi has collected over $ 2.6 million, 10 times more than the set target. So go ahead and order one for $189 like the other 12.5K backers have done!

Coin Coin, a San Francisco based company, promoting the device of the same name, promises to declutter your wallet because you ll no longer need to carry all your credit and ATM cards. Coin can store all of your swipeable cards in a single card. The device is approximately the size of an ordinary credit card (80.5 mm x 54 mm x 0.84 mm) but it allows you to use any card, anywhere. The Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connected Coin is a secure device powered by a 128-bit encryption for all storage and communication. It comes with a card-swipe dongle to upload all your cards onto the mobile app, which then automatically stores them onto your personal Coin card. There is a small digital display on the card that allows you to select any single card. Once selected it is ready to swipe at any card machine. Also if you happen to leave your Coin behind, it can alert you via the accompanied mobile app on your smartphone.And if somehow, you lose the coin, it will disable itself. Each Coin lasts for 2 years with the existing battery and users are notified when it is time to replace the device. It is shock and water-resistant and will not demagnetize if left near other cards or magnets. The Coin hit its $50,000 funding target in less than 40 minutes and continues to amass much more. Those who want to replace the herd of cards in their wallet can order one today for $50 per piece.


Geek Gazette


THEY SAID IT Priya Soundararajan

4th year, Int. Math about her experience on attending the Knot Theory conference held at IISER Mohali.

The conference on Knot Theory held at IISER Mohali gave me the opportunity to meet and attend lectures of some of the biggest names and game changers of the subject. Although, there were topics that we did not understand but the amount of exposure we got was incredible. The professors understood the fact that we were just undergraduates and were accordingly patient. Heavily backed by the government, research oriented and with some excellent faculty, IISERs might become one of the best science education and research institutes in the country. There is a vast difference between IITs and IISERs. Most of the people in IIT would like to get placed in a good company, so most of the activities and discussions revolve around this. I also gave a lecture on knot theory here and it was a really nice experience. Everyone was very enthusiastic and we had an elaborate discussion.

Abhinav Aggarwal I personally feel that the research scenario in the campus is not quite good. One reason for that is the attitude of the students and the other is the course structure. The courses here, are quite easy and do not promote research. Moreover research requires a strong mathematical background and there are only a few intensive maths courses here. I was drawn towards research primarily due to my passion for teaching as it keeps me closer to books. I am also a maths enthusiast. I realised that since everyone is doing coding there has to be someone to take the field forward. The courses I learned in my department were also quite useful in improving my knowledge despite the fact that my area of interest is applied maths. To all those who want to pursue research I would like to give an important advice which I missed out on. Interact with the right set of seniors and follow the right set of books. Do go through the course books of areas you are interested in and explore online websites like Coursera and Quora. That way you might not get a perfect grade but you surely will know everything about the subject.

5th year, CSI on the research environment in the campus. (Abhinav is a keen researcher and has 6 publications to his name)

Prafulla Choubey

4th year, ee Secretary, ES, on the new changes going-on in Electronics Section.

Spring Spring 2014 2014

This time in Electronics Section, we had over 45 projects for Shrishti 2014 expanding in areas like AI, Automation and Embedded System. We feel, a lot of people from first and second year nowadays, are interested in doing projects of hardware value, which I feel is quite commendable. As a result, this year, for the first time we are planning to initiate a Summer Internship program for 2nd year students. Students can take up any one of the listed projects which interest them and stay here for the summers, just like SURA. Apart from this we are constantly trying to renew our working methodologies, like giving more hardware exposure to first year junta. This is needed because the things that seem obvious in books are very different when implemented in real time. You have to sweat yourself for hours, debugging your circuits and ideas, to make your creation run. We also have compiled our video channel at YouTube which targets at explaining all of our current projects to to-be new comers. This way they will build upon the existing ideas and will not have to wander for references.


Geek Gazette Spring 2014  

Geek Gazette presents its 11th issue. Read on for important campus happenings and scientific insights.