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MARCH 11, 2007 IIT KHARAGPUR

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iitkgp.ac.in Kgpians are among the most talented in the country when it comes to harnessing the power of the web. From academic projects to entrepreneurial ventures and student organizations, web sites run by Kgpians show an incredible degree of skill and professionalism. A case in point is the Kshitij 2007 site, which utilizes advanced concepts like AJAX (the same technology that powers GMail) and is far ahead of other institutes' fest websites.

institute website comes as a big letdown for many. Critics assert that its awkward aesthetics, unintuitive navigation and dearth of front-page content pale in comparison to the websites of other IIT's, notably those of IIT Bombay and IIT Kanpur. Given the important role the website plays in forming the "first impression" about any organization, we met Prof. B. K. Mathur, head of the institute's Information Cell, to find out more.

In this scenario, the state of our official

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Partha Ghosh

The IIT Kharagpur website compares poorly with those of other IIT’s.

Computers are almost an essential commodity at IIT Kharagpur, and a growing trend has been to replace clunky desktop machines with sleek beauties of the laptop variety. So a new initiative should come as great news, if you are in the market a laptop in near future. Deepak Rathee, VP, Gymkhana is in the process of negotiation with laptop computer manufacturers like Lenovo, HCL, Dell and Toshiba to get laptops for Kgpians at subsidized rates. The scheme will be valid for one high end and one low end model. Bulk orders will be placed and the collection of orders will be underway before the last week of March. The discount is expected to be in the range of 18K – 25K per laptop. To make things even better, the VP has also struck a deal with SBI under which students will be able to get loans at lower interest rates for buying Laptops (the interest rates will be lower than those applicable on educational loans). Happy shopping!

Architects of Change Massive upgrades to the Department of Architecture and Regional Planning Of all curriculum changes undertaken by the institute in recent years none has been quite as tumultuous as those in the Architecture Department. The current academic year has fared extremely well for the department but it has hardly been surprising. The foundation began to be laid soon after the Council of Architecture visit in 2004 which could hardly be said to have gone off well. The degree of dissatisfaction could be judged from the fact that the council's subsequent date of visit was set for about two years later while if everything had been found to be quite alright the intermittent period would have been close to five years. The Council of Architecture (CoA) is a government body that registers architects following which they are legally allowed to practice. Hence within its purview lies the regulation of the education of later-day architects. Architects graduating from institutes approved by the CoA receive their registrations automatically; therefore periodic inspections of these institutes are mandatory. Coming back to the inspection of '04 several suggestions were made by the

council most notable of which was the induction of students into the department from the first year itself. The suggestions were implemented almost immediately with the fabrication of a new course-structure, increase in the intake of students as also with the upgradation of existing facilities. Here though the department went far ahead of what was demanded by the stipulated guidelines and began a process whereby four new labs were set up. The first amongst these was the Graphics and Visual Communication (GVC) Lab. This Lab. is of interest mainly to the first years in the department and those outside who might choose GVC as breadth. The Lab. aims to instill proficiency amongst students in the use of digital means of presentation like Flash and Photoshop. The Design

Simulation Lab. might be the first of its kind in the country. The lab. aims to emulate others in existence like the Kinetic Design Group at MIT and the Architecture Science Group at Cardiff. The scope of this lab. would span from architectural morphology to building performance analysis. At a more fundamental level it would be aspiring to do research in the field of theories of architecture in itself or parameterization of aesthetic sensation. The Environmental Lab. consists of instruments to measure air quality, a weather monitoring station, pH level meters and should be operational by the coming semester. A potential cause of cheer amongst all students though could be the Photography Lab. which aims to involve "everyone" through a series of workshops. By the time of the inspection this year round the tables had turned full circle. The students and faculty worked hard preparing for the inspection all for good measure. The visitors were reasonably impressed but had a few words of warning regarding getting too complacent. Ending the close-doors student-inspector interaction session the inspectors commented they were so satisfied as not to want to come back even five years down the line.


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MMM Fees Clarified MMMites can breathe a lot easier now. The hullabaloo created over the amount that MMMites had to pay in advance towards hall expenses has been more or less resolved. Following the initiative taken by the VP, the initial notice which asked MMM residents to pay Rs. 2500 as advance for various hall expenses was withdrawn. An in-hall meeting of the Hall Council Members, The Office bearers, and the Assistant Wardens was held, following which a new notice was issued on the 2 nd Feb. The new notice states that students need to pay Rs 2100 now, and more importantly the amount will be adjusted from the mess refund. This essentialy means that MMMites will not have to shell out anything extra as the mess refund amounts to around Rs. 3000 for the whole year. However, First year M. Techs and VGSOM students will have to pay Rs. 500 as advance, as their mess refund would be insufficient to cover the expenses due to their longer stay in the hall. A pleasant surprise for MMMites was the fact that electricity charges and the hall establishment charges were reduced.The electricity charges were slashed from Rs. 1200 to Rs.1000 per student. Hall establishment charges were reduced from Rs. 500 to Rs. 300, naturally giving rise to question as to why this reduction couldn't have been made earlier. The general feeling is that if the issue had been handled more carefully, a lot of the inconvenience could have been avoided. In the end, however, MMM residents are happy that their concerns over the matter have been satisfactorily resolved.

S CHOLS A V E O NLINE To read these articles online and to give your feedback on them, please visit our website at www.scholarsavenue.org. scholarsavenue.org also provides the latest campus news through our coverage of events as they happen. Web hosting provided by:

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Where To Now? Will MS become a senior hall?

As another year draws to a close, 800 undergraduates get ready to pack their bags and wait for a computer to decide their fate

Owing to the increasing space crunch in the six senior halls, making MS a senior hall seems the most logical option. But the logical option isn't always the best option It's that time of the year again. as was demonstrated when the first step Gymkhana elections, taken in this direction Hall Days, a time - 1200 new undergrads fell flat on its face last when politics in the year, due to fierce Institute is at an all next year opposition from the time high. But behind - Senior halls already student community. all this there's a little It is a fact that a very overcrowded matter that will large majority of first decide the fate of 800 - First years unwilling years do not want to odd first years. to go to MS be isolated from seniors and in In a little over a essence all the month the first years will come to know which hall they will student activities in the campus, which is live in for the remainder of their stay in exactly what will happen if they are KGP. KGP has a rich tradition of halls with forced to shift to MS in their second year. each hall having its own credo and its own A chat with the Dean of Students image in the Institute. It is impossible to Affairs, Prof. HR Tewari revealed that remain aloof from an issue as important although no decision has been made on as this, and each and every first year is the matter yet, the top priority of the likely to have an opinion about which hall institute is comfortable accommodation they want to go to. for the students. How this has to be done Like last year, this year too, the in view of the space constraints is up to allotment will be computerized and both the students and the institute to work random. Once again, speculation is rife out together to avoid any complications. over the conversion of Meghnad Saha For now, the best option seems to be to Hall (MS) into a full fledged senior hall. allow those students who want to voluntarily opt for MS to do so (as has T E A M S CHOLS A V E been happening in the case of HJB hall) Executive Editors † Chintan Thakkar, Nitin and then accommodate the rest in the Basant, Sunny Somani, Swati senior halls. The issue is a contentious Editors † Aneesh Jain, Aravind RS, Riti one. If MS is made a senior hall, then we Mohapatra, Rohit Shankar, Saahil Bhanot, risk alienating a section of students. If not Samya Mandal, Shishir Dash, Umang Jain then there's the obvious problem of space. Sr. Reporters † Aditya Marathe, Anuj Dayal, Arish Inam, Robin Anil, Sheekha Verma, But with the student intake being Sreeja Nag, Suvrat Bafna increased in leaps and bounds every year Reporters † Anup Bishnoi, Deepak Cherian, (the projected intake next year is 1200 JS Deepthi, Mithun Madhusudan, Pranesh undergraduates), it is obvious that Chaudhary, Srinath Sinha,Vinayak Pathak without a new senior hall, it will be Jr. Reporters † AVN Murthy, Bharat Bhat, impossible to accommodate everyone on Mayank Kedia, Pallavi Jayannavar, Siddharth campus. But when exactly this will Singh, Suyash Bire happen is a question that the institute Printed at Quest Printers, Prembazaar. authorities need to answer, and soon.


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“If you’re at IIT for a job, shame on you!” Former McKinsey Partner and Global Advisor, Mr. Partha Ghosh’s maverick views A renowned innovator of Business and Economic models, Partha Ghosh is a household name in the realm of strategy-building. This class-of-1971 graduate in Chemical Engineering from IIT Kgp, who now resides in Boston, has spent his last 30 years as a professional consultant to leaderships of prestigious organizations, corporates and governments, as a partner of McKinsey and Co, and later as the Managing Director of his own firm, 'Partha S. Ghosh & Associates'. Recently, he also founded 'The Boston Pledge' to promote socio-economic development, and to develop environment friendly technologies. With a hands-on approach to deal with the world's emerging problems, he is quite a 'dial-a-quote' maverick! Excerpts from a long chat with SA after his lecture series and workshops at Kgp last month: Q] Could you talk us through your time at Kharagpur as a student? A] Those were interesting times. India was a closed economy and creativity and idealism was in the air. Although everyone wanted to come here, IIT was not as hyped as it is today. It was heartening that neither of us ever felt a sense of superiority over fellow students from other colleges. There was a sense of idealism among the students, and the environment was competitive yet collaborative. We also had an increasing trend among the final years to go abroad after they passed out. I must add that the level of energy that I sensed back then has rather dropped now, which is very contrary to what I believed would happen. We tend to be too casual about our approach. At MIT and Harvard, on the other hand, students are becoming increasingly concerned about global issues such as poverty, divide between rich and poor, health care, ecology and energy balance. Q] How did your 12-year stint at 'McKinsey & Co' change your outlook of the world? A] At McKinsey and Co, I grew up with many offices all over the world. To be very honest, I never looked at McKinsey as a place to make money, I viewed the place as a place to learn and develop myself. The company inspired my ability to define and engage a problem, enjoy the process of problem solving and thinking with an open mind. I learnt to take every opportunity and contribute to India. In fact, after leaving McKinsey, I decided not to use its name, and instead established my own Policy Advisory and consultancy firm, 'Partha S Ghosh & Associates' in Tokyo. Q] Why not Kolkata then? That would've probably made it easier to contribute to the country. A] A bittersweet truth about our attitude is that to be accepted as a major force in India, you've got to be first accepted in the world. I

still find it easier to introduce myself as a former partner of 'McKinsey and Co' rather than the founder of 'Partha S Ghosh & Associates'! (smiles) More significantly, at Japan, I could place myself strategically between India and USA, and keep in touch with my older contacts in the US while also maintaining close proximity with India and contributing actively. Q] What motivated you to found 'The Boston Pledge'? A] Within a small group of professionals in the US Indian community, we have committed to work on the grass-root problems in India. After all, who else but Indians would connect better with India? The idea is to bring the problem-solving process to India and create a force on the lines of Ramakrishna Mission by Swami Vivekananda. I would be glad if IIT students come forward to become an important part of The Boston Pledge and take it to the world. Our underlying goal is essentially to raise the confidence levels among those at the bottom of the social pyramid. It would be great if you guys could chip in, in your own small ways. It could even be as trivial as maintaining our website or help in local fund rasing. Q] We remember you talking about a major restructuring of the engineering education system at IIT Kharagpur during your talk… A] I think if IIT Kharagpur wants to be a premier engineering institute of the world (and not just in India), it needs a global

perspective, think about what the other countries are not doing, and whether we could stay ahead in the curve. If I ever ran an IIT, I would firstly package all the pure sciences and mathematics as a single unit in first year and lay emphasis on their inter-relationships. The second year would be conventional engineering in the major field of study. In the third year, I would introduce 21st century courses such as nanotechnology, genetic engineering, environmental engineering, renewable energy resources and transportation, in their respective branches. The final year(s) would be all about bringing the head, heart and hand together, and tackling real problems of the world such as global warming, renewable energy, transportation systems etc. The industry should also get more involved in articulating the dissertations. See, the bottomline is that engineering should be also be a pain-killer – not just a vitamin. Q] The biggest crisis that IIT faces right now is a dearth of Faculty. Given this scenario, how do we even think of this overhaul in the first place? A] Our society (in particular the media) should provide teachers a hero status, above the industrialists and businessmen that currently command all the limelight. Nobody wants to be a teacher because it isn't heroic in nature, unlike entrepreneurs who make coverpage news. Furthermore to provide a boost to our education system it won't be asking for too much to get the alumni involved and deliver lectures on their respective fields of interest. We can even arrange for a larger share of visiting faculty, from all over the world.

Bitwise 2007 Swedish Team Wins Again Bitwise, the annual online programming contest organized by Computer Science Department, IIT KGP was held this year on 11th February. The teams had 12 hours to solve a set of problems and the emphasis was primarily on the algorithms. Bitwise has gone from strength to strength since it's inception in the year 2001 and it now has a very good reputation both in India and abroad .This is evident from the fact over 2500 teams registered for the contest this year and out of these around 300 were from outside India. In addition to this, separate threads for Bitwise were started by the participants at sites like www.topcoder.com. The problems were a fine mix in terms of the difficulty level. At the end there

were 2 problems (out of 10) that no team was able to solve. “TwoDashHeadedSpaceMonkey", the team from Sweden successfully defended their crown. "HimalayaZerlings" from China were second and "NeedForX" from Russia were third. The best performing Indian team "Top_coder" from IIIT Allahabad was placed at 12 and the best KGP could muster was a lowly 91 by a team called "npcomplete". The prizes at stake were worth a total of Rs. 120k with the first and second prizes being Rs. 50k and Rs. 25k respectively. The event was organized by the 4th year batch of CSE department under the leadership of Prof. Niloy Ganguly and Prof. Aurobinda Gupta.


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Should alumni contribute directly to their halls? View

Counter-View

Before we start to justify hall specific donations, it must be stated that hall specific donations are in our opinion not completely fair and should not be encouraged in an ideal world. But our world, and more specifically kgp, is far from utopian. Sometimes it is necessary for moral ideologies to take a backseat to pragmatism, and to take expedient measures as opposed to those which qualify as 'the right thing to do'.

It is agreeably moot to discuss why one might want to contribute only to one's own hall. It is but natural to have fond memories of a place you spent the better part of your four/five years in. Friendships, thankfully, know no distances. During your stay in the campus you inevitably made friends irrespective of whichever hall they belonged to. A fact to be considered while contributing for the betterment of your hall is also the glaring distinctions it would lead to compared to other halls that have no such guardian. Every hall needs money but some need it far more than do others. (Read A StaRK Contrast Page 2, January 5, 2007 issue). Notably, the RK Hall renovation scheme was meant to be a pilot, a guide for other hall alumni to step up and chip in to better their halls. A lack of other alumni as motivated as Mr. Vinod Gupta, though, has made this scheme appear a show-off for the rest of the campus. To reiterate, Mr. Gupta's efforts are nothing short of laudable. An example has been made; an obscure path has now been mapped. Talk of major donations to the campus, though, and only two names spring to mind: the other being of Mr. Arun Sarin. The question that arises now is of how sustainable that path is. Two years and two alumni meets have come and gone since Mr. Gupta made RK's renovation a priority. Few donations have come in to prove that that example is being followed.

The institute's track record of maintaining the halls has, overall, been less than ideal. Sluggishness brought on by the overreaching bureaucracy, rampant red-tape, inefficiency of the institute's works sections, and a lack of transparency make the “official” channel of alumni contributions to the institute unappealing to potential contributors. Moreover, there exists a trust deficit that cannot be wished away. In this scenario, there are very few options for alumni who seek to ensure that their money is well spent. The one that was chosen by the largest alumni contributor, Mr. Vinod Gupta of RK Hall, was to contribute directly towards improving his hall. It must be noted that no financial contribution was made to RK hall; instead, through his representatives in Kharagpur, he paid the contractor who carried out the renovation work. In this way, he was able to ensure that his donation was well-utilized. The role played by student representatives cannot be downplayed – in RK they were involved working out, with the contractor, the specific improvements to be carried out. This expedited the process of planning, and ensured that items that held the greatest impact on the lives of residents were prioritized accordingly. This would not have been the case had the institute been in charge, since student involvement is anathematic for them. Another underrated benefit for these kinds of alumni contributions is the effect they have on our concept of the hall as a family. It takes on a whole new meaning when alumni who graduated decades ago still exhibit the same hall tempo they did while they stayed here. A commonly raised point against alumni contributions involve the inequality between halls that this has caused. The answer to this is more such contributions, not less. All halls have large numbers of extremely successful alumni, who are willing to contribute the money. The only advantage RK has is that Mr. Vinod Gupta was willing to lend his voice as well - so that the non-trivial task of obtaining permissions from the institute could be accomplished. If the institute becomes more forthcoming in granting these permissions, alumni-supported hall renovation can really take off.

The equal amount each of us pays towards hall development and as rent as also the virtue of being of Kgp itself everyone is entitled to an equal standard of living. It no more seems unlucky but downright unfair that while paying the same money as anyone else a few of us enjoy far greater privileges. A cleaner mess or hall library isn't probably very noticeable but a few inequalities are much more in the face. Additional money for the hall's frill facilities could threaten the very fabric of intra-campus competitions. Better musical instruments, better sports facilities and the GCs are suddenly not as fair as they used to be. One probable way out of this conundrum could be earmarking a percentage of the donated fund for the donor's own hall and the rest for other halls on the basis of requirement. It is only a matter of time before students realize the broken floors in their halls are not going to be tiled anytime soon. The rancour that results would hardly be unjustified. Students stay in different halls that have different facilities and living conditions, but then halls are allotted on a lottery basis. So there is some sort of uniformity in the process.

TALKBACK What are your thoughts regarding alumni contributions? Visit www.scholarsavenue.org to discuss.

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors, and need not necessarily reflect those of The Scholars’ Avenue.

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www.iitkgp.ac.in (continued from page 1) The website started out in 1996 under the ERNET project in ECE department, and was a static HTML page with some Java applets. The website has undergone seven major redesigns since then, and since Prof. Mathur. took over in 2002, it has been a PHP based dynamic website. Currently, it has over 260 pages, and about 700 MB of data. In the past, students were heavily involved in the website design process, and many of the first websites were created by student teams working under the Information cell. However, the system of student web teams were discontinued around 2004 as a result of deadlines not being met, as well as a policy shift away from student involvement in something that was considered a mouthpiece of the administration. Nevertheless, Prof. Mathur still utilizes students occasionally to carry out work involving technologies with which he is unfamiliar. "Students pick up new technology quickly", he says, highlighting their importance in the website design process. When asked about the aesthetic unattractiveness of our site in comparison to those of other IIT's, Prof. Mathur held that the high traffic and limited bandwidth requires certain compromises when it comes to design. A quick study of other IITs' websites reveals that IIT Kharagpur does, indeed, have the

smallest homepage among all the IIT's, at just 48 kb, compared to 68 to 227 kb for other IIT websites. However, this is at the cost of much less useful information being on the homepage itself. Furthermore, Alexa traffic statistics (which are the most comprehensive on the web) show that IIT Kharagpur's site has the lowest internet traffic among all IIT websites, less than one-fifth that of IIT Bombay's. This indicates that with similar hardware to those in other IIT's, our website should be able to pack in far more jazz. A more likely reason for the design shortcomings might be the lack of involvement of skilled web designers, either professionals or students. Current web design techniques permit the complete segregation of the design and the content - the information cell can hire skilled designers for a professionallooking website, and still have complete control over the content. A mention needs to be made of the institute website that was introduced in 2002-2003. One of the student-designed websites, it introduced the database and some other elements that continue to be used today. Many of those who have seen it consider it to be better in terms of design than any subsequent website, including the current one. Prof. Mathur says that the exponential increase in website traffic had

necessitated the removal, from the homepage, of many features (such as "latest announcements") that required slow database access. This resulted in a rather unattractive links-only homepage between 2004 and 2006. The latest design has reintroduced some of those dynamic features, but has not regained much in terms of attractiveness. Looking into the future, Prof. Mathur hopes to be able to completely revamp the website in about six months. He hopes to introduce AJAX for faster page loading, as well as providing profile pages for each student that can be edited by the students themselves. For all these, he invites students with experience and interest in web design to contact him for working on the institute website. You can meet him at Information Cell (Opp. F-127, main building), or email him at infocell@webteam.iitkgp.ernet.in. For web site traffic statistics, visit Alexa (www.alexa.com) Historical versions of sites are available at the Wayback Machine (www.archive.org)

TALKBACK What are your thoughts regarding the institute website? Visit www.scholarsavenue.org to discuss.

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With 546 teams, now the largest in Asia

The rest, they say, is history. It’s the making of history that matters the most, though. With this edition, Scholars’ Avenue unfolds a series on the heroes of IIT Kharagpur – both celebrated and unsung – who have changed the face of Kgp through their endeavors.

ROBOTIX had grown to 90 participants. The streamlining was missing, but growth was apparent.

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It would be a mistake to discount the role that 400 Kshitij has played over the 300 270 years. The growth has 220 200 come hand in glove with There was an upper 100 increased participation limit for publicizing the The 2007 edition of Kshitij that took event, beyond which it 0 and popularity of the 35 30 place last month witnessed a mammoth was impossible to make Techno Management fest, 15 9 participation of 2000 students from out- the participation grow. of which ROBOTIX is an Year station colleges. What might be a R O B O T I X s t a r t e d integral part. Critics have, revelation is that a whopping 1200 of afresh at the grassalthough, seldom shied The exponential growth in these were ROBOTIX participants, from roots. For the first time from panning ROBOTIX Robotix participation places as far as Ahmedabad, Trivandrum ever, a lecture series on and stating that the and even Katmandu (not to mention, the bare necessities of competition has never online entries from across continents by robot-building was conducted at looked beyond its 3-day status and world class institutions such as Princeton Vikramshila by the ROBOTIX team. The catered to practical problems whose University). With no less than 546 teams website was up with the problems as early robotics solutions could potentially competing for the honors at the 6 events of as September to give prospective teams a improve lives of thousands across the ROBOTIX, IIT Kgp has evolved as the hub head-start for the February fest. Doubt country, if not the world. The next step for of Asia’s single largest Robotics solving was topmost on the priority list, ROBOTIX does seem apparent, with competition. If it were to be reminded that with answers emailed back in less than 24 plenty of food for thought. just 3 years ago, ROBOTIX was a hours. Small teams were sent to potential The KRAIG arm of ROBOTIX has, struggling entity, with last-day snafus centers like ISM Dhanbad, NIT Rourkela, alongside, gone from strength to strength and a tepid turnout of teams in double- and KIIT Bhubaneswar for helping – so much so that second-year students digits, the current figure of 546 would participants with their robots. Everything raise eyebrows to say the least. Quite put together translated to a participation have been single-handedly delivering workshops outside Kgp. It has also been simply, one might wonder – how? by 220 teams – over 8 times that of 2004. It developing a Robo-Kit to make the was a defining leap. ROBOTIX construction of microcontroller-based The movers and shakers of ROBOTIX share was kick-started their experiences: Nevertheless, the autonomous robots as easy as snapping in 2001 as an inVivek Lath (Head, 2003) – "Already burst of participants fingers. The idea won the Rs.15-lakh house event at handicapped with a minimal budget, we woke up on at the 2005 event saw business plan, Concipio, last semester, Kgp’s tech-fest the second day to see the arena being washed away more than just a few and KRAIG plans to dish out the product (Ideon), with all by a pipeline burst. We nevertheless defied all odds, disgruntled teams commercially. KRAIG is also in talks for did well, and even managed to get outstation teams of 9 participating for the first time." d i s m a y e d a t t h e collaboration with the Robotics Lab of the teams from Kgp. management. The University of Cassino, Italy for taking up Nitin Mohta (Head, 2004) – "We were then the With 2002 came a only group in Kgp in which people were taken in run-up to 2006 saw some of the University’s projects. The r a i s e i n without any influence of Hall Politics. This ensured renewed efforts to Technology Robotics Society (TRS) has standards, and that we had those people in our team who truly w i n b a c k t h e been formed under the umbrella of the the formation of deserved the place." c o n f i d e n c e o f Gymkhana, as a channel for the inflow of Aneesh Reddy (Head, 2005) – "On the day of the participants through funds to KRAIG. Prof. D Gunasekaran, K R A I G ( K h a r a g p u r event, when the number of teams crossed 100, I gave a r o u n d o f Registrar, IIT Kgp, has been instrumental a bear-hug to (Anant) Choubey!" Robotics and w o r k s h o p s , in setting up a dedicated lab for TRS and Anant Choubey (Head, 2006) – "Our USP is A r t i f i c i a l distribution of lecture KRAIG at Vikramshila, while the constant innovation. We are looking at KRAIG being I n t e l l i g e n c e self-sustained in the future and real-time projects CDs and personal Gymkhana has earmarked a fund of Rs.14 G r o u p ) t o which will get industrial exposure." interaction. The final lakh for further developing the develop a sound Aamir Ahmad (Head, 2007) – "ROBOTIX at IIT e v e n t w a s a l s o infrastructure at KRAIG. The T in IIT Kgp technical base Kgp is synonymous to the Renaissance and the organized much more is finally beginning to emerge from the among students. Industrial Revolution and has the vision to fortify professionally with shadows of Sports and Soc & Cult. India Today went Indian engineers to the extreme level of proficiency.” an eventual turnout of Kapish Saraf (GSec Technology, 2005-06) – 270 teams. Then 2007 on to feature SA S N I P P E T "ROBOTIX has been a strange experience for me ROBOTIX that happened. ROBOTIX personally. They definitely have initiated a The average temperature year. 2003 saw, technological revolution which strongly supports exploded – doubling for the first time, innovation and if heads forward as it has in the last its participation to 546 for this time of the year p a r t i c i p a t i o n few years, can create an industry with potential far teams. In both quality in Kgp is 37/22 C (max/min). from outstation better than those provided by IT.” and quantity, IIT Kgp This year it has been just teams. It was a has, despite lacking triumph of its own sort. When Kshitij an urban face, outgrown its IIT Bombay formally came into existence in 2004, counterpart, which was only a few years 2007

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Budget 2007 And its impact on the kgpian’s pocket You'd be forgiven if you felt 'aam aadmi' and 'cats and dogs' were the two most important phrases in a nation's finance. After all, these are pretty much the two terms that have appeared without fail in every mention of India's Budget '007!

MAT! A Minimum Alternate Tax has been slapped on IT companies on their adjusted book profits.

loved ones – there's a duty cut on watch dials.

Ÿ Expect biscuits to get cheaper, and

Coffee and plywood get cheaper. Ÿ

we aren't just talking about dog biscuits here! There's zero excise duty on biscuits that cost below Rs. 50 per kg.

We hope this prompts all the Nescafe outlets in our halls to get their sheds ready and start functioning.

Ÿ Cigarettes are about to get costlier.

R&D costs in scientific and Ÿ

Scholars' Avenue takes a look at the various provisions of Budget '07 and points out those that would be of immediate interest to the Kgp 'aam aadmi'.

But then we guess all Kgpians follow the no-smoking-inside-campus rule already.

Ÿ Additional educational cess of 1%

their shirt (or more) on holi - clothes are going to cost less

spells bad news for the just-placed final years although the increase in Income Tax threshold limit to 1,10,000 INR for guys and 1,45,000 INR for girls will temper that news a little. Ÿ Further bad news for some final

year students – the Employee Stock Option Plans that various companies offer as part of CTC will now invite a Fringe Benefit Tax. Ÿ For those employed by IT companies, well, your company's on the

Ÿ Good news for all those who lost

Ÿ Rainy season coming up soon –

and the FM has duly taken note of this. Umbrellas prices are expected to drop.

Ÿ Good time to gift a watch to your

industrial fields are about to drop. Before we sign off, here's a final piece of good news – mess food is about to improve big time. Why? Ummm… haven't you heard about the 33% reduction in duties on dog & cat food!

ŸAnd just in case you broke a slipper/shoe while giving a GPL, there's good news. Footwear is about to become cheaper. Ÿ Oh and if you broke a toe in the same process, there's further good news – customs on medical equipment has been reduced.

Dual-Degree MBA Everything you wanted to know but didn’t know whom to ask With the aim of creating outstanding management professionals with technical backgrounds, VGSOM has introduced a unique programme – the Dual MBA. First year students(both B.Tech and dual M.Tech) can avail the opportunity by filling out an application form and appearing for the group discussion and personal interview. These students will get their B. Tech degree from their respective departments and an MBA degree from VGSOM at the end of five years, and get placed with MBA students. The first year subjects of MBA are split over six semesters with two subjects per semester. The Scholars’ Avenue met Professor Kalyan K Guin, Deputy Dean, VGSOM to find out more. SA: What is the motivation behind introducing such a unique program? K. K. Guin: VGSOM intends to impart JEE cleared brilliant students with good managerial skills. Through this program, students can save a year by completing their B.Tech and MBA in five years and get a much stronger foundation

for their skills. SA: The present batch of dual MBA students is facing a lot of problems regarding time-table clashes with their B.Tech curriculum and the burden of taking two additional subjects per semester. What are the steps taken to tackle it? KKG: We have come up with some solutions. We took measures to reduce the academic load by converting all breadth subjects to management depths. Certain courses are exempted for dual MBA students keeping in view their strong technical background. SA: How will the Dual MBA students be placed? KKG: Dual MBA students can either get placed through VGSOM or through the institute depending on the type of job they prefer at the end of the course. A management degree will surely help even if a student is interested in a technical job. VGSOM has a compulsory six month

work experience arrangement in the industry in a management post. This will be part of the curriculum of the 9th semester of all dual MBA students. Through this, dual MBA students will be able to relate all they have learnt in classrooms with what is happening in the real world industry. SA: It is often said that MBA students learn more from peer-to-peer interaction than from classroom teaching. Dual MBA students will miss this as they can't stay with students of VGSOM. What can be done to fill this void? KKG: Students can stay in their respective halls till they complete their B.Tech courses. However, interested students can come and stay with VGSOM students in SDS block of MMM Hall in their fifth year. We expect dual MBA students to actively participate in all the socio-cultural events along with our MBA students. They can avail all the library and computer lab facilities of VGSOM offered to MBA students.


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Placements @ VGSOM The average salary up by an impressive 20% Established in 1993, VGSOM is the first and the largest management school to be setup within the IIT system. Over the years VGSOM has evolved into a business school of top caliber, this being reflected in the placement statistics for 2007. The school has grown significantly in infrastructure, knowledge base and core faculty strength with an increase in the intake of students from 85 to 120. As many as 60 companies confirmed their participation in the final placement process this year, which saw the entire batch being placed with 34 organizations on day one itself. Almost 20% of the batch already had pre-placement offers at the end of their 6 month internship. The average salary increased by an impressive 20% to a figure of 8.78 lakh p.a., and three students were given an offer of 13 lakh, the highest in VGSOM. Apart from regular recruiters likeIBM, ITC, Citibank, Wipro, Voltas, Convansys, HCL Technologies, HSCB Analytics, Infosys, Maruti, Tata Motors, the first time recruiters who visited VGSOM were- Cognizant Technology solutions, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Cholamandalam, Telelogic and others. Exciting profiles were offered by several organizations, such as equity research (Irevna), treasury & investment banking (SBI and SBI Caps), Global Leadership

Program (Tech Mahindra). PwC offered profiles in its prestigious GRID division. Aricent, ITC (International Tobacco Division), Hutch and RPG Retail offered some of the most sought after profiles in sales, marketing/merchandising and branding. The consultancy sector was represented by the best names in the b u s i n e s s s u c h a s PricewaterhouseCoopers, Accenture, Ernst and Young, Headstrong, Mindtree, and A. F. Ferguson. The MBA course offered by VGSOM strikes an innovative balance between theory and practice of management. The two year-four semester course includes an entire six month industry exposure devoted to training on live projects, which is a unique feature. The students of VGSOM have the added advantage of interaction with diverse people with ample work experience. They are offered courses in behavioral sciences by the Humanities & Social Sciences department, while faculty from CS, Industrial Engg. & Mgmt. and Mech. Departments offer technical subjects. The students see strong campus interaction and cooperation among students from different halls as well as departments, as a way of strengthening ties within the campus.

M A R CH 11 2007

“Save Piyush” Campaign The campaign to save Piyush has been a huge success in the campus. For those who don't know who Piyush is, he is a Pune kid suffering from blood cancer and in need of Rs. 1.5 crores for a transplant. Organized by final year students, Dipayan Banerjee and Atanu Basak, the campaign saw the KGP junta pooling in a sum of Rs. 2 lakhs for the cause, which is much higher than the expected Rs. 1.5 lakhs. Students formed the major chunk with 1.4 lakhs with the rest coming from faculty and the non-teaching staff. "Its all about seizing opportunities to make a difference", said Dipayan when asked about the motivation behind such a campaign. They were especially thankful to Mr. H.R.Tewari- Dean of student affairs, Deepak Rathi and VGSOM for their support and encouragement. Ample help came from Mr. Partha Ghosh of The Boston Pledge who chipped in with Rs. 10,000. Dipayan and Atanu believe that their small step will help in creating awareness about community service in the campus and prompt further such efforts in the future. They expressed gratitude for the trust placed in them by the students and have promised to come up with follow up notices regarding the utilization of the money. The money will be transferred to the boy's parents in Pune. An appeal may also be made to the IIT alumni in Singapore to arrange for the boy's stay during his treatment in Singapore. "KGP ka tempo high hai, hats off student community" was the message sent out by the organizers, thanking the students for their support.

Breakup of sectors where the 2007 batch of VGSOM was placed

GCs How the halls match up


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Language Laments

The Shah-Shank Inquisition

Of plastic playthings, paper plates!

This time, it’s random observations

My 8th standard grammar teacher had a favorite joke. This was roughly how it went.

occasional slick marketing executive chance to get an inside track with the target buyer.

Q: Why doesn’t it take ‘four’ to tango? A: Because that’s not alliterative!

Consider alliterations, again. Ever wondered why all tongue twisters are, almost without exception, alliterative in nature? Okay, so this crackpot allegory may have no neuro/psycho logical backing but is it a really huge leap of imagination to assume that maybe, there’s a fixed, finite quota of each alphabet, or more generally, each sound, in the universe?! And that, maybe, the universe prefers lower entropy, phonetically. So maybe, it’s the universe’s fault that she can’t sell sea shells at the sea shore. The universe would seem to be against this particular figure of speech, though this certainly doesn’t explain the Big Bang, its alliterative genesis. But then nothing much explains the Big Bang so we may as well skip this inconsistency. Whichever reason suffices, it’s kind of an established fact that our brains slow down while processing alliterative structures. And that momentary lapse of reason is precisely what the poet and the copywriter hopes and aims for. Trust me this was what was on Richard Wilbur’s mind when he wrote Junk:

words that don't appear in the dictionary but should !!

Here’s a short story. A long time, let us say, four score and eighty hundred years, ago a fine gentleman noticed something funny. Or maybe someone else before him did, but was afraid to own up to it for fear of being branded a heretic and burnt, or being drawn and quartered, or disemboweled/dismembered. Or maybe he was straight and just wasn’t amused by funny things since most of whatever they called life then wasn’t. In any case, we had a eureka moment. Or wait, what if it was before Archimedes? Sheesh ! Digressions kill. So do indigestions. Either way, our man was walking down the Bridge on this beautifully bright day when lo and behold! he heard someone shout, “Baked buns, blueberry biscuits, buy a bunch, get a bunch free !”. Yeah, okay, so i added that last bit! Our man, who we’ll call Bob for the story’s sake, was befuddled and beguiled. What was it? Surely, ‘twas not illegal for people to sell their ware on the street. This generally needed making some noise as a device to attract attention too. What then was so unmistakably ungainly about the whole affair?! And then, right when he crossed the orchid seller who beat his wife every Wednesday, it hit him. He jumped for joy while the epiphany eluded everyone else. Bob died of Beriberi on his Birthday. Alliteration is one of the many ways of rusting the aforementioned bearings of language, metaphorically. Metaphor is another. Figures of speech provide flavor and flair to the dry as desert structure of common word usage. This is accomplished by breaking the flow of thought transmission by a sudden change in semantic structure; either incongruous, or more than average lyrical, or just plain weird. The reaction is a subconscious equivalent of “What the …?!”. Precisely because the effect isn’t very pronounced, it provides the occasional clever court jester opportunity to show off for the Queen and the

Of plastic playthings, paper plates. and on Walt Disney’s, when he created that legend of a rodent, Mickey Mouse and the equally famous feather ball Donald Duck. What do you think of Archie Andrews, Jughead Jones, Dilton Doiley and Moose Mason ?! Want superheroes ? Peter Parker. Bruce Banner. Clark Kent is phonetically alliterative. Meanwhile, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Lex Luther and Lionel Luther are every which way. Coca Cola is alliterative. So is the World Wide Web. I wonder if there’s much that isn’t. I don’t have much else to write. I’ll just reiterate the universe’s sentiments, that someday, there’s gotta be about enough of crazy, cheesy and crappy alliterations. Borrowed heavily from the 1999 movie Mystery Men, when the three protagonists are trying to decide what they’ll call their superhero group. - Wait! Wait, that’s it. We are the Super Squad. - No, no! Alliteration in these situations is corny.

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ver notice how language is a subtle mirror of the prejudices inherent in our culture? For example, there are so many derogatory synonyms for a 'working girl' / 'woman of the street' (you know what we're talking about right) – tart, cyprian, ‘worhe’, ‘badw’, etc.? The middle man is also labeled in a similarly condescending manner: ‘fancy man’, ‘pmip’, pander, etc. But for some strange reason, there is no corresponding word for the person who actually pays for the service and perhaps commits the biggest moral crime. This person is at best referred to as a client, which for crying out loud even sounds respectable, I mean McKinsey has clients!

I

n the recent inter-hall debate, a low 'ratio' was cited as being a cause of stress. If you look at it, isn't a low sex ratio really the social equivalent of 'inflation', 'too much money chasing too few goods'? Maybe the solution to the inflation problem can be extended to the social domain, if of course a low 'sex ratio' really is a cause of stress.

I

nterviews are designed for narcissists. If you think about it, all a narcissist really wants to do is talk about himself, probably even more than he wants to get a job. The interviewers, of course, encourage these narcissistic tendencies with questions like 'tell me something about YOURSELF', 'tell me something MORE about YOURSELF'.

W

e aren't really scholars of political science but how does sex work in communist countries? Seeing that their philosophy about bread is that no one can butter up until everyone has at least a loaf, can we extrapolate and say that everybody needs to have 'indulged' in the act once before a person can 'indulge' for the second time?

OVERHEARD... MERE PAAS CORE TEAM MEMBERSHIP HAI,

INTER-IIT HAI, HALL COUNCIL SPONS DEALS HAIN, HUHA PROPOSALS HAIN, PAISA HAI, BANGLA HAI, GAADI HAI... TUMHARE PAAS KYA HAI? POST HAI,

MERE PAAS PACT HAI!

Did You Know: The movie “300” is already in the IMDB top 250 list - it hasn’t even been released yet!


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GoogleWhacked! Games you can play with Google 'Fetishized Armadillo'? 'Disenthralled Superegos. Nimrod'? 'Insolvent Pachyderm'? Do these For purists, a Googlewhack is meant to terms leave you wondering just where be a test of creativity: dictionary words and exactly is the world heading to? Well then, enclosing quotation marks aren't allowed, before you get the handy paper barf bag and each Googlefactor is meant to be short (at twiddle your thumbs waiting for the worst most 12 characters) and each whack must to happen, here's the lowdown for the return exactly the following phrase: uninitiated. The above three "Results 1-1 of 1 for <blah>". phrases, far from being an cerulean adhesion - 318 wristwatch intestine 153 indicator of the world's See this and you have silverware toothache - 122 sanity level are actually the polypropylene obfuscation - 8 attained Googlewhack result of the machinations of defibrillation concertina - 7 Nirvana!!! inexplicably creative people referential tintinnabulation - 6 comparative unicyclist - 1! As an illustration, known as Googlewhackers. Woohoooo!!!!!” here's how someone As a little digression, permit actually got down to us to clear up the muddy finding a Googlewhack. water. A Googlewhack is a search string of two words that when entered into the A s t a t u t o r y w o r d o f wa r n i n g : Google search engine returns only one result Googlewhacking is a pastime that can soon out of the gazillion web pages that the turn into an obsession. If you've seen Dave Google spider indexes. Gorman's famous show, you'll know what Googlewhacking was conceptualized by we mean. For the determined, however, it a certain Gary Stock in 2002, and was widely promises to be a fruitful and exciting publicized by Dave Gorman through a series journey… So get Whacking! of comical, dramatic presentation throughout the world. One of the Dave Gorman shows was recorded live and released in 2004, titled 'Googlewhack'. Both his book and the show feature interesting whacks such as Francophile Namesakes, Dork Turnspit, and Unconstructive

P.S: For purely historical reasons, behold the first ever Googlewhack (not technically so, it having 3 words) in all it's wacky glory: "orangutan popcorn fishwife". The rule was eventually tightened to 2 words.

M A R CH 11 2007

IIT Bombay disables its hostel network for 13.5 hours a day, from 11 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. to combat LAN gaming

IIT Bombay Mon

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IIT Kharagpur zzz...

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The Scholars’ Avenue is published by an independent student body and is not associated with, or supported by, the institute.

AOE UT NFS CS FIFA


Mar 11, 2007  

Leaf through this issue to know what the administration has to say about the institute’s rather insipid website, the VP’s subsidised laptop...

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