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echoes

THE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

Editorial Hi Folks! Echoes is back! After an entire semester of seamless inactivity, a new MaG TeaM has got together with the intention of making Echoes a monthly, if not a fortnightly issue, that is if this present issue does not run into bad weather, considering its rather candid approach to the last one month's happenings at IIIT. At this point, we would like to acknowledge the various inputs we got from the previous MaG TeaM – Nikhil, Pranav, Satvik, Kiran, Akshay and Shiben, and hope to learn from their experiences. Incidentally, changes haven't been limited only to the student body. The Mag team suffered a setback when it came to light that Mrs. Marathe would not be coordinating the Mag this time. However, help and guidance came from entirely unexpected quarters (the faculty’s quarters, literally). Mrs Asha Namboodiri would be coordinating the Mag this year and we hope to gain from her guidance and experience. No reason or explanation can ever justify the abrupt state of hibernation that the Mag team went into after taking out the November 2005 issue. But the fact remains that the response the Mag gets from the Student Community pertaining to article contributions are at most times, to say the least, disheartening. However it’s encouraging to see that this particular Mag team is certainly brimming over with ideas and there seems to be no dearth of enthusiasm. Credit goes to them for coming up with the present issue in just three brainstorming late night-early morning sessions. It is a point of contention whether or not a newsletter is really necessary or effective, in these days of blog-mania. Every third person has a blog, and their own opinions, views and accounts of what happened. Quite a few of them are filled with erroneous conclusions drawn from specious arguments and vile rumours. We, the Mag Team, hope to, at the very least, maintain a true record of things happening at IIIT, if not revive the declining interest in reading hard copies, and interest in literature. In this issue of Echoes we have an honest article composed from a variety of sources whose authenticity has been verified, about the one big incident that has taken place in the last one month: The Ragging Saga and its Aftermath. Also featured is the inside story of the much hyped faculty-WLAN system administrators meeting. Nikhil reminisces his good old days and gives useful words of wisdom on IIIT life, and its prospects. Starting with this newsletter, we are having a special series on the unsung heroes of IIIT. Also, the debate on the naming of the hostels has been revived again in this issue, which has been a contentious issue with all our

International Institute of Information Technology

seniors. Let us wait and watch if the new batches can resolve it. Long live the Mag! Cheers! Anirudh Mani

Campus Rumpus Convocation: The 5th convocation of IIIT was held on 29th July in the ground near Main Building. The Guest of honor was Shri F.C.Kohli the father of Indian software industry and the chief guest was Dr.Y.S.Rajasekhar Reddy , Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. D.Santosh Kumar of UG2K2 was awarded the gold medal for being the topper of the batch owing to his excellent academic record. The highlight of the day was the announcement by the Chief Minister about the land on which IIIT stands being given to IIIT at a nominal rate i.e., a land worth 900 crores given at 90 lakhs.

Student Parliament: The new academic year heralded an era of ‘selection’ parliament over ‘election’. For the first time, each house nominated its candidates for each council – Cultural, Campus Life and Sports – one each from the 2nd and 4th years, and 2 from 3rd year, a house captain and a council representative. With this move, each council has at least 16 members, and can go up to 25 if PG and 1st years are included. The Financial council and the Felicity Council were handpicked by the chief financial coordinator and the ug3, respectively, keeping with tradition. The parliament was administered its oath by Dr. Govindarajulu on Aug 3rd. Arun Balakrishnan th of B. Tech 4 year was elected as Speaker, and Sreekanth P. of B. Tech 3rd year was elected deputy speaker. Dr. Kamal Karlapalem was chosen as the member of the faculty who would attend parliament meetings to oversee proceedings. The parliament can be reached at parliament@students.iiit.ac.in Asha Kiran: The Muskaan smiles no longer, it has been brightly replaced by Asha Kiran. The children took part in the Cultural evening, with a poignant play on religious bias. Sports: Sports in IIIT has truly kicked off to a great start, with the IIIT football team winning a comprehensive 5-1 victory over CBIT. The freshers (and some fourth years!!*) have been seen attending PT with great enthusiasm, something which their seniors didn’t have. The number of joggers and ‘gym’ers has also increased, as have the swimmers, and lawn cricketers. Is IIIT finally becoming sportingly aware? * You’re welcome, Halley

Vol. IV Issue 1 Aug, 2006


From Rags to Glitches It has been over a month since the beginning of this academic year, and no one can deny that it hasn’t been uneventful. This year, for the first time in the history of IIIT, the freshers arrived a whole week before the commencement of the semester, thanks to a sudden change in policy by the AIEEE. This let them get acclimatized to the hostel, its surroundings, this city and their estrangement from their sweet homes, before facing a back-breaking schedule of classes, tutorials and seniors. This move also allowed them to finish their prescribed hours of Jeevan Vidya in advance, so that it doesn’t hinder their academic commitments and responsibilities. One cannot deny that there has been some friction between, and some fractions within batches, because of certain untoward incidents that happened not just between students, but also between the students and the faculty. The claim that this has been assuaged to an extent by the recent splurge of activities on campus – functioning clubs, councils and the advent of inter-house competitions etc. - is unequivocal in its veracity. Time is a great healer and things will return to normal, and the tranquil days of peace and quiet will dawn in its stead. Three students were indicted on the charge of misbehavior, disorderly conduct and use of abusive and derogatory language. No, let’s not hide behind technicalities and banalities. They were charged with ragging, ladies and gentlemen. They were summoned before the Disciplinary Committee, which, quite inequitably, had no student representation, and the interrogation took place on a Sunday, for no delay could be afforded. The decision reached was that the three be suspended for the whole semester. In response to an appeal to mitigate the terms of the punishment, they were asked instead to spend the semester in Mussorie in a Social Organization - SIDH to do community service, in lieu of which they will be granted 8 HSSM credits, thus enabling them to finish their academic credits within the stipulated 4 years.

Points to Ponder 1. Will the current spate of activities in IIIT continue, or will it die down? 2. Is it better to be called the International Institute of Information Technology or the Indian…? 3. Has Jeevan Vidya’s brand value in IIIT gone up following the President’s address? 4. Is there as much trust between the students and the faculty as there was, say, a year back? 5. And whatever happened to the Discussion Forum?

What exactly had they done? They had, in a closed room in NBH, spoken harsh words, behaved rudely and with contemn disregard to their feelings, humiliated the freshers. Is the punishment commensurate with the charges levied? Why were all three given the same punishment when the charges against each were of different magnitude? The faculty is of the opinion that there was no ‘punishment’ at all, that they were given an opportunity that none other gets. A chance for self realization, for introspection and learning. How can one call a punishment an opportunity when it is imposed? Will they really benefit from this ‘extended vacation’? Will it really overshadow the problems they might th face in their overloaded 4 year? Only time will tell. Sadly, there is a certain degree of formality and coldness associated now in interacting with the first years. The first years as well as a majority of seniors are confused and unsure of their interaction with each other and this is largely due to a communication gap that has developed between them. The 'Mentor System' which was primarily supposed to fill up this communication gap failed miserably this time. They broadly failed on two counts, firstly they could not control 'Ragging' initially and secondly, but more importantly, they could not earn the trust of their charges which is of paramount importance. The second years were also guilty of similar charges. However, the whole batch stepped up and took responsibility for the actions of the accused, and promised that such incidents will not recur. The administration agreed, and encouraged them to be more proactive and friendly in their interaction with the first years. How did we let such an event to come to pass? Why did the mentor system, which worked so efficiently last year, fail so miserably this time? Are we being overly protective of our juniors? It is easy to ask questions, is there anyone responsible enough to furnish satisfactory answers? Will the discoveries of a post-mortem analysis be too hard to digest? Is there a growing rift between the faculty and the student body, and is the difference in their principles and philosophies too vast for a symbiotic relationship to thrive instead of a parasitic one? What next? Answers to all these were provided in an FSIS that was held with the students of the third year. Several doubts cleared, several issues raised, and several apprehensions were vocalized. It was a cathartic process, a beginning of a series, one hopes, by which the rift between the factions may be bridged and harmony once again thrive in our college. Sure, there are still some issues which haven’t been belabored to contentment, and not all problems have been resolved. But it is a step in the right direction, and more such will definitely work towards a better and more amiable relationship not only amongst the students, but also between the student body and the administration.

Mail your replies, queries to mag@students.iiit.ac.in. We invite replies from students and faculty alike. -

International Institute of Information Technology

Editorial Panel, with the help of students across batches

Vol. IV Issue 1 Aug, 2006


Know Your Professor Dr. Anoop M Namboodiri holds a PhD from Michigan State University. Hailing from a town near Cochin, he has done his schooling in Kerala, and graduation from NITCalicut in Comp. Science. His interests include Computer Vision, Machine Learning, Pattern Recognition, and Biometrics. On his aim in life: I would like to spend my time doing something fruitful, something such that I am known by my students. On leaving USA and returning to India for research: Well, I won’t say I was driven by patriotic reasons. There are many practical issues that need to be addressed. Life is certainly smoother there, lots of comforts, but the western way of living does not rely on interdependence. One feels isolated there, there are no close friends to depend on, in a crunch situation one never knows whom to count on. On his hobbies: In my school days, I was interested in all the usual games that one is expected to, like cricket, basketball, etc but I was never a master at any of these. I took interest in astronomy and bird watching, luckily there was a bird sanctuary near my place and Salim Ali was a regular there!!!!!. I love classical music and liked country music when I was in America. I take interest in Philosophy too. On the students at IIIT: The students here definitely matched my expectations. They are pretty good, although they are different from the students in America with regard to their attitude. People there have a flair for out-of-the-box thinking, sometimes their ideas are weird, sometimes interesting and worth paying attention to. They are always prepared to stretch themselves and go that extra mile which is missing here. On the attendance policy: I think it certainly helps; a reasonable policy can ensure the betterment of the student community, at the same time it is the job of the professor to make students feel interested and listen in the class. On Felicity: We need to decide whether our fest should be a local event with music, partying and dance or at the next level where one is expected to prove his talent. We need to be very careful in what image we would like to project of ourselves. On Jeevan Vidya: One should be ready to listen to new points of view, but not fanatically follow any particular line of thought, I feel one should strike a balance between such things and what we are primarily expected to do. On the future of IIIT: The future is bright if we ensure that whatever we produce is of high quality, be it the students, the researchers or the research products that are developed in-house.

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Happenings at IIIT Cultural Camp: Organized by the Cultural Council at IIIT Hyderabad and the Music Club the Summer Cultural Camp 2006 was a success. There was an enthusiastic response from over a 100 students who had stayed back at the institute for their summer project work and internships. Summers which would otherwise have been spent in boredom were spent exploring areas of interest other than technology. The workshop conducted invited reputed artists for guiding the students in the theater arts and pantomime. Students were given the oppurtunity to learn an instrument of their choice. Violin was taught under the guidance of Mr Vasudevan who had earlier enthralled the audience at Felicity. Theater classes were conducted by Mr Praveen and the guitar classes by Mr. Sandeep. Cultural Evening: The Cultural Council pulled off a miracle with the successful evening they organized to mark the culmination of the Summer Cultural Camp. Hosting a variety of performances including 3 dramas, a mime, a fusion ensemble, a guitar performance and a dance; the event was clearly praiseworthy. The highlight of the evening? The telugu drama, the dance and the fusion performance. Freshers Party: Fresher's 2006 was conducted on 19th August after much discussion, reluctance and opposition. But, the event did go off very well, with the house performances stealing the limelight over the much awaited Mr. and Ms. Fresher. The absence of certain key and active members from ug3 and ug4 was conspicuous, and though the impact of the unofficial boycott was not felt in terms of numbers, it was in terms of spirit. Nevertheless, it was a warm welcome to the freshers from the sophomores. Sunday Carnival: In an unprecedented move, the ug3 organized a Sunday th Carnival on 20 August, as a forerunner to Felicity. The aim of the carnival was to increase and improve the standard of participation in events in IIIT. It was a relaxing experience for all those who attended and a welcome break from the dreary ritual of classes, labs, tutorials and projects. What is surprising about the carnival is that it was conceived and organized within a week. Most events went on schedule, another aberrant from usual IIIT festivals, which are congenitally late. It was a great gesture by some members of the faculty to be present and also participate in a few events. Kudos to ug3 for making the event such a success! SPICMACAY: The Music Club and the Cultural council, on behalf of SPICMACAY, organized a violin recital by Shri Annavarapu Ramaswamy, a renowned artiste and a constant accompanist to the famous Dr. Bala Murali Krishna. Faculty members were seen tapping their hands along with the talam of the songs, and even shaking their heads in blissful enjoyment of the musician’s melodies. It was followed by a question and answer session, where the maestro clarified doubts and narrated some personal experiences of his.

Vol. IV Issue 1 Aug, 2006


Unsung heroes – Part I I have a confession to make. I do, and I speak the truth now, ladies and gentlemen. I am guilty, as I am sure most of you are, of parasitism. I have been living off the goodwill of certain exemplary individuals for too long now. They let me take what they have, rapaciously and without compunctions, and do not ask for anything in return, much to their loss. Occasionally, they do remind me of the debt I owe them, and I, with my customary charming smile and amusing wit, assure them that in due time, at the appropriate juncture, at the right moment, when everything that has to fall into place has fallen into its exact positions; I shall, in all honesty, integrity and with as much moral rectitude as a person of my rather diminutive stature can muster, repay what is rightfully theirs. Every now and then, I proactively ask them how much I owe them, just to keep their hopes up, keep the smiles on their faces turned up. I like to spread joy and happiness. I am not a sadist, though I am guilty of procrastination that might be misread as criminal intent. Let me pause for a second to fill you up on details. You’re probably wondering where I am going with all this. We are on the same boat, you and I. I hope so, I don’t like being alone. I have dreams. Bad ones. I call them nightmares. I keep my sheets dry, though. I don’t cry. That’s beside the point. Sorry for being crude, I shall try to be more poetic and gentlemanly henceforth. Here goes. There is a charming little café, of sorts, near the basket ball court. It serves coffee, as most cafes do, though it is machinated, and not the filter coffee that my mother makes back home. Ah, filter coffee. Bliss! Here’s a little poem about filter coffee… Filter coffee, Is truly heavenly. Thank you. Especially the editors, if this makes it to print. You may have problems with my poetic abilities, but what I lack in talent, I make up for in passion and feeling. I hope. I truly believe in what I just said. I digress. Getting back. This café which serves machinated coffee, also serves other snacks, drinks, refreshments and the like. I frequent this place quite often, and I’ve seen quite a few others do the same, so I know I am not alone in this, at least. (Sighs of relief, the sheets are still dry… no tears.) I have an ‘account’ there, thanks to which he lets me take what I want on credit. What a generous soul!

It has happened so many times and yet it deserves mention. It almost happens every other night culminating in the contentment of one gluttonous soul, and the other cursing angrily and menacingly, albeit under his breath. For all ye perverted souls, this has nothing to do with the Piya Milan Chowk or any other corner for that sake. Yes, people, I am talking about none other than our very own OBH STD guy, affectionately called Kalia. Very often, in the middle of the night, nay, let me correct myself, early morning, really, truly, early, one can see two tired legs dragging an even wearier body to the OBH from the lab. Obviously, the canteen has pulled down its shutters a long time back, and even if it is open, there isn’t an iota of chance of finding anything ‘eatable’ there. This carnal brute is famished and with nothing around to sink his jaws into, his gaze falls on the STD booth. There is an intense tussle between the considerate half of his conscience and his insatiable hunger. It really was a nocontest from the beginning. With the latter winning hands down, his feet which were once refuting the very possibility of his mobility from the lab are now moving steadfastly towards the room adjoining the STD booth. You know what’s special about this room? Well, this is the abode of Kalia, where he spends a few hours of his dutiful life away from the constant, irritating tring-trings, students calling home asking for extra pocket money, mothers cajoling them in return, calls for namkeens and cakes… and the list goes on. Coming back to the point, our heartless brute goes on pounding the door with his bare fists. The thunderous impacts of his boots reverberate in the entire hostel, and they continue until Kalia is aroused from his peaceful slumber. Lo, and Behold! Kalia is awake, muttering curses. His tolerance has reached insurmountable levels, almost to the point where if the beast were to just say “Open up and give me something to eat”, Kalia would start tearing his hair apart, hurling abuses at his inimical rival, and also anything and everything he can lay his hands upon. But don’t you just love this guy? He is, in all respects, a perfect personification of tolerance, with all the manifestations of steadfast patience. Kalia reluctantly leaves his abode in his inimitable style for the umpteenth time, acquiescing to the inexorable rendition of his name in the dead of night. Yet again.

I am terrible at this.

Is his existence noticeable only when the whims and fancies of an unconscionable implore him to pay a nocturnal visit to the STD booth? Well, heck no. Let’s all not forget the age old adage, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” Ha, ha. Because, if the devil in Kalia ever exploded out of that serene, stolid somber shell of his that envelopes it, then God save us all.

Anyway, my point is this. I owe him loads and loads of money. And I am sorry for not paying up. I promise I shall as soon as I am able. And I hope you’ll do the same.

Statutory Warning: Invocation of the Kalia chant more than once a night may lead to disastrous consequences, even fatal ones.

The Coffee shop dude, Is very very cool.

-

Arun Balakrishnan

International Institute of Information Technology

- Anirudh Mani

Vol. IV Issue 1 Aug, 2006


Campus Life - Then Now, Forever It’s been three months since our batch left IIIT. Looking back at the IIIT life, it brings quite a big smile to many a face. We had our share of fun here and contributed to campus life in whatever fraction that was possible. We take with us what IIIT has taught us (academic or otherwise) into our lives from here on. Batches come and batches go, it all depends on what they have changed here before they go. New traditions may have started; some existing ones may have ceased to continue. Many IIITians (past and present) are of the opinion that campus life as such is on a decline over the years. Maybe so, maybe not. Every one likes to make an impact on something. This is why new traditions start and as is the habit we tend to get bored with some existing ones real quick. It’s been known for quite sometime that nothing lasts for a long time at IIIT. If there was an amalgam one year, there were cultural nights in the other and Sunday carnivals in some other year. If there was a newsletter once, there's a blog now. Quake once, CZ some other time. The labs were open all night once upon a time, now there is wireless LAN in every room (and in the near future - a laptop in every hand). Seemingly so, this year has started on quite many eventful notes already, but what would make it everlasting? What’s going to be in vogue tomorrow is anybody's guess.

The answer to what would make campus life better and something that is everlasting, lies somewhere between these two sides. Students have to realize the freedom that they have in IIIT! Who is to stop you from rounding up a bunch of guys and hosting an Antakshari in your wing, or setup a multiplayer game, or create a study group? There is one assurance that something or the other does keep going on and all you have to do is wake up and look out for that. The student life committee and the faculty also want the same: a healthy campus life. Directives from their side maybe seen as compulsions, but come to think of it again... maybe this is the only way something will keep going on even when people have forgotten what it was before. It all depends on how well students take up responsibilities or grab the opportunities that IIIT has to offer. But in the same spirit, the thin line between the student's perception of rules 'imposed' and 'allowed' has to be treaded carefully. If there is some point when there's no activity going on in the campus, there is no point cribbing about it. It all depends on how you can make the most of it within the set guidelines. Think and the answers will be there. -

Nikhil. B, B.Tech 2002, Former Editor in Chief, IIIT MaG TeaM

Server Room Fiasco The recent consternation of students regarding the dilapidated conditions of WLAN in the institute is a cause for concern. A week back, a meeting was held between the system administrators and concerned students. Apart from the various faculty members, the server room staff and Mr. Sambabu and Mr. Phani Kumar were also present at the meeting. The main reasons that were cited by the same for the non-performance of wireless were: • Students misusing the network • Students not patching their computers with the latest updates • Students deliberately tampering with wireless infrastructure (i.e. physically beating the access points with sticks etc) According to them, wireless is not designed for the heavy load that the current p2p system is putting on it. They feel that if everyone was to use it for mails and browsing, it would work fine. Questions on what throughput should be expected on average were met with vague replies and approximations. The earlier mechanism for blocking infected IP’s etc, is not being followed now. So people with infected systems are still slowing the network. There was no scope for discussion on the third point. Especially, when the concerned people failed to realize that these were one-off localized incidents and they should not be used as excuses to explain why wireless performs poorly.

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It is now a policy to block protocols instead of people misusing a protocol. Since certain illegal file sharing is going on, and instead of blocking the particular users, the server room staff sees it convenient to block the protocol, without intimation. This logic when taken further implies that in future if someone starts using FTP to share illegal stuff FTP would be blocked. One of the main reasons that were cited for the poor performance was that there is approximately 3MBPS broadcast traffic at the router that connects wireless to wired. For the uninformed, one refresh for servers in counter strike is 500 bytes of broadcast traffic. Therefore, the amount of broadcasts on wireless corresponds to 6000 users searching for CS servers every second! Mr. Muzzafer felt distressed by students’ attempts to connect to various (disabled) services on crucial wireless hardware. In his email, he attached images that showed conclusively that students had tried to connect to a port on one of the wireless routers. Also, some student had set his static IP to that of the gateway which had caused a subnet to go down. He believes that if students do such things then it is very hard for the server room staff to fix problems. In case students wish to experiment, they should take equipment from CRC, setup a dummy network and experiment on that. The bottom-line remains that the condition of the wireless LAN users is so pathetic that they have trouble even checking their mails via putty! One really can’t help but sympathize with them. Concerned Students of ug4

Vol. IV Issue 1 Aug, 2006


The Name Game ‘Anthropologists recognize naming as 'one of the chief methods for imposing order on perception.' - David S. Slawson Let us consider a scenario, about a millennium from now, when the IIITian hostels are part of an ancient civilization’s remnants, buried under rubble of earth. What would the archaeologists of 3006 A.D. think when they find out that the unearthed parts of the hostels which housed the legendary geeks of IIITian folklore are actually called Old Boys Hostel(OBH), New Boys Hostel(NBH), Girls Hostel Extension for Boys (GHEB)!! Okay. Hypothetical theorizations apart, let us take a nice little look at some ground truths. During the days when the freshens had just landed in IIIT, one of their parents came to me and asked, “Oye babu! Which year are you from?” “Final year, sir.” “Okay. Which /what is NBH?” “The New Boys Hostel. It’s over there”

“Oh! Okay ...” with a face that clearly spoke of a sudden realization of enlightenment. Then he said, “Aha! My son being a fresher or say, a new boy gets a room allotted at the New Boys Hostel(NBH) and you being an old boy probably staying at OBH because you are an old boy.” Yes my dear ol’ chummies! He actually said “OLD BOY”!! Why in the name of all rationality does the gentleman think that way? Oh well! He’s not to blame. What do newcomers and outsiders know about the logic behind the names? How would they know that it was the age of the buildings and not that of the inhabitants that gave the hostels their names? Also, GHEB has become a problem (a titular one, literally!) to several esoteric groups who claim that there is a case of non-identity involved here. Guess that makes one wonder what it would be called if it had been named according to its official age? The Infant Boys Hostel (IBH)! Anyway, it would be really nice if the names of the hostels are changed to a different set of names which are less misunderstood.

- V. V. Harish Baba

P.S – Mail your suggestions for Hostel names @ IIIT to the Mag Team. The best entries will be listed in the next issue.

By Golly! Our Folly, You’re Jolly !!! Note: There is a glaring error in one of the articles, and we have lied in another. The first five people to spot it and mail the Mag will find their names mentioned in the next issue, for one, and might even go on to win fabulous prizes!

So, go ahead and take your best shot. Who knows, the error/lie might be in this box itself!

Echoes August Issue Team : Anirudh, Arun, Bhanu, Halley, Harish, Shiben Editorial Panel : Anirudh, Arun Caricature : Shiben Bhattacharjee Send in your comments, opinions and articles to mag@students.iiit.ac.in For more articles, check the Mag website at http://students.iiit.ac.in/~mag

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Vol. IV Issue 1 Aug, 2006

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