THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
Citius, Altius, Fortius Pages 2-3
The City of Joy Page 3
N OVEMBER 2012 E DITION
Placement services across IITs Page 4
VPspeak Page 5
IIT K HA RA GP UR
Engineering the Higgs Boson Page 5
TSA Tech Survey: KGP goes mobile s much as KGPians live and flourish by the peace culture, a time honored tradition of taking things slow and easy, they haven't resisted being swept away by the swift currents of technology. Just over a decade ago, we queued around public booths to make that weekly long distance call to our homes. We rented movie disks from shops in Tech Market and squabbled for access to the common room's television to watch it. But we took incremental steps all the time – we got hold of subsidized HCL PCs, fully embraced the power of our LAN infrastructure as soon as it was laid out, welcomed the mobile revolution of the mid 2000s along with the rest of the country and we see this legacy still shining through when we see new KGPians scramble to buy laptops within a semester of arriving here.
Well, this was the story of the last decade. What awaits us post 2012? Just last year we witnessed the LAN going wireless all across the campus. While the campus warmed up to this interesting development, the world at large has been watching the mobile consumer space heat
and they had the highest proportion of users voting for the maximum(See graph 4).
Graph 2 : What KGPians look for in a phone, matched against what they end up buying
65% of them stated that they owned a smartphone or a tablet. This is truly remarkable, and highlights the unique socio-techno-economic environment on campus as we have better rates of smartphone penetration than the US for our age group (18-24 year olds) which incidentally stands at 62% . Now, the caveat here is that smartphone/tablet owners on campus might have had a greater motivation for responding to our survey than others, but still the situation is very encouraging.
Graph 1 : KGPians across different mobile platforms. up over the last couple of years too. Smartphones, tablets and the fancy operating systems that they run have captured the public's imagination like never before. The cut-throat competition in this space has ensured that prices remain within reach of the average KGPian, and we wondered if this has led to large scale adoption of these tech gadgets on campus. Is the next decade all about us going mobile?
It is interesting to note that Android has claimed more than half of the share of all smart devices, while iOS devices account for about 10% and the remainder is taken by the likes of Symbian and WinPhone.
How do we make our platform choices? Owing to the convenient fact that you typically carry your mobile device with you all the time, one can postulate that these gadgets tend to be seen as an extension of your identity, and increasingly (not to Of the 569 respondents of the survey, mention irritatingly) by some as an a whopping 65% of them stated that opportunity to express their personal brand they owned a smartphone or a tablet of style. So by this hypothesis, its natural to expect people to invest their time, and KGP answered with a resounding yes, going make a uniquely personal and informed by the results of our survey(See Graph 1). choice. Our data seems to lead credence to Now might be the best time to clearly state this social phenomenon: A majority of our how a 'smart'device is defined – In the respondents (62%) stated that they do their context of KGP, it means that more than own thorough research before buying a half of us walk around with a gadget with a device. A good chunk of KGPians (21%) versatile operating system that bundles a paid the most attention to online reviews. PDA, a camera, a GPS, high-speed Wifi 14% relied mainly on what their friends had networking abilities and in the majority of to say before zeroing in on their device. cases, a relatively large touch screen. Of the 569 respondents of the survey, a whopping We asked KGPians what they primarily
Building on this point, we asked our respondents which company's products they would be most excited about buying in the future, now that they already owned a smartphone/tablet. Android users showed a marked preference for Samsung products (65%), followed by Apple and then HTC (around 30%). Apple's focus on customer satisfaction seems to have paid off too: 88% of iOS users were excited about buying another iOS device in the future. Other platforms users shared almost the same amount of love for both Apple and Samsung products, which was then closely followed by an appetite for Sony and Microsoft devices.
looked for when buying a device, and examined this in the light of what they finally ended up buying. People conscious about getting a good operating system or the latest hardware specifications more often than not ended up in the Android 88% of iOS users were excited about camp(See Graph 2). Those looking for a buying another iOS device in the good bargain understandably bought future. feature phones (iOS scored a perfect zero in this category). The Apple brand's inescapable pull was captured in our data when you see that 35% of iOS owners bought a device primarily basing their decision on its brand value. Though expected, this is remarkable because brand seems to have Graph 3 : Phone choices by gender played a very small factor (<20%) in purchases for other When asked to pick grouses, iOS and Android owners commonly pointed out platforms. that their devices ran out of juice much too Investigating the choice of a phone by fast and the other smartphone users picked gender, we immediately notice that there's lack of system upgrades as their pain-point. It seems like KGPians are yet to make peace a section of females who haven't yet made the jump to Android (See Graph 3). This with the severely limited battery life of a writer hazards a guess that this anomaly smartphone vis-à-vis a feature phone, and might be explained by the insufficient while this in itself might not be a deal (almost non-existent) branding targeted at breaker, it does come across as a genuine pain-point among the majority of our the fairer sex by the Android camp as compared to traditional respondents. feature phone manufacturers. The proportion on the remaining platforms are Other smartphone users frowned at the lack of system upgrades over anything else. almost exactly the same for both sexes. As Windows Phone7, Symbian, Bada and a host of other small OSes are a part of this How contented are we with our gadgets? Ok, now that folks have got their gadget of category and as each have their own unique choice, how happy are they with it's ecosystem, it is tough to deconstruct the performance? Not surprisingly, Apple exact situation on ground zero, and point owners were the most contented of the lot fingers at who the offender is in this case. Continued on page 4.
Graph 4 : Happiness index across platforms. (5 is happiest)
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
N O V E M B E R 2012
Citius, Altius, ... T
he preparations are on in full swing for the 48th Inter IIT Sports Meet to be held in Roorkee. The Kharagpur contingent has just about a month’s time left to improve its rather dismal performance in recent years, where Madras and Bombay have stolen all the limelight. TSA caught up with the coaches and captains of various sports to know where we stand. Here is what we found out: TENNIS The Team: The unfortunate departure of the coach has been a tough pill to swallow for the team and the practice sessions are not in full swing. The dampened spirit of the players was evident when one of the teams crashed in the group stage in Shaurya-2012. The men’s team is the same as last year’s which had emerged as the dark horse of the tournament reaching the quarterfinals. It has better coordination this time around with the much required practice from Shaurya. The women’s team, on the other hand, is all set for hat-trick gold with mighty players like Mallika Saharia, a tournament favourite, and Pranati, a promising first year.
A win against Delhi could propel KGP to a match against Madras, the d e f e n d i n g champions and a very tough team to beat. A defeat, on the other hand, would lead to a match against a relatively weak P h o t o C r e d i t s : Bombay with three of their key Kaustubh Khare players gone. But team KGP will surely look to win all their matches en route to the finals. Given the current shortcomings of the women’s team and poor performance in Shaurya-2012, being in the same pool as Madras & Kanpur might lead to groupstage elimination. TSA Predicts: Men - Silver Women - Group stage elimination BADMINTON The Team: Targeting the gold medal this year and unwilling to settle for anything less, the badminton team has been hard at work since the beginning of this semester with daily conditioning and court practice in the morning and evening respectively. The induction of three new players has added a neoteric dimension to the team. Coaching sessions over the weekend have been aimed at improving team’s physical and mental fitness along with technique. A setback in the form of one of the main players facing a ligament tear during a practice match, has failed to dampen spirits and the team is all the more determined to cover up their loss. Shaurya too saw the team fighting hard in a very engaging match against national level players from SSN Chennai.
The Competition: Being in the same pool as Kanpur might pose some threat considering the close defeat last year, but the men’s team should find no difficulty in going past Guwahati and Mandi. With Madras, home team Roorkee & last year’s champion Bombay as the strongest competitors, the challenge toughens from the quarterfinal stage. The women’s team has got a relatively easier pool to contend with and should waltz into the semi-finals considering their excellent performance last year. Roorkee and Bombay are the only teams offering some real competition.
The Competition: With a lot of strong players having graduated from their respective IITs, the competition would be a challenge to predict. However, Bombay and Kanpur are seen as strong contenders. The women's team has Delhi and Bombay as tough competition.
TSA Predicts: Men - Quarterfinals Women - Gold
TSA Predicts: Men - Silver Women - Bronze
The Team: The team is high on morale having emerged as the overall winner at Sharuya-2012. An experienced lot (something it lacked in the past few years), this bunch is a potential finalist, with their USP being defence. The team has all the players from last year’s bronzewinning squad, but would look to work on improving their ‘drive to basket’ technique and not conceding free throws. The women’s contingent is on a rigorous practice regime to fight for the title, closely missed last year. With most of the players being first-timers, lack of experience and dependence on individual expertise of Ishita & Sumaina might turn out to be a major setback. The Competition: With a relatively easy pool, the men’s team is expected to breeze through the group matches and meet Delhi in the quarterfinals.
The Team: Coming off a loss in the finals last year, which was a nail biting 5-setter at home, the Inter IIT men’s volleyball team is raring to go and aiming for nothing less than gold. Having 2 final year players in the team, this is the last time the team will play together as one unit and they want to make this Inter IIT their most memorable and successful tournament. Brimming with confidence, Captain Nitheesh Ballal believes that the team’s current form, especially after the gold in Shaurya, is good enough to beat any team. A strict practice regimen which includes practice sessions in the morning (6 AM 6:45AM) and the evening (6:30 PM - 8 PM), he believes, would ensure that the team is ready with the limited number of days left. Although placements are hampering the amount of time final years can devote to practice, the intensity of the sessions has increased with various crucial areas such as spiking being targeted. As for the women’s team, an influx of new talented players has given them hope of doing well after a below
average performance in last year’s edition.
The Competition: The biggest competition for the men's team will be hosts Roorkee. The team is confident of a top 3 finish if worse comes to worst. The women, after crashing out in the group stages in last year's edition, need to beat the likes of IIT Bombay and IIT Madras to win. But the coach gives us hope when he says “Yeh finalist ki team hai”.
The Team: The football team has promised a lot for several years now, and failed to deliver. They will seek to change all that in this year’s edition of Inter IIT. On a high after bagging gold in Shaurya, the players have their focus set. Although a skewed up academic calendar has disrupted the rhythm to some extent, Coach Ardhendu Ghosh has managed to hold the team together. Plenty of practice matches have been planned in December to ensure the team plays as a cohesive unit in Roorkee.
TSA Predicts: Men - Gold Women - Quarterfinals CRICKET The Team: The cricket team will have to pull something extraordinary out of the bag to repeat last year’s bronze-winning performance. With most of the players who represented Kharagpur in last year’s edition serving a ban, the team is very inexperienced with mostly first and second years. Whether this proves to be a blessing in disguise remains to be seen, although captain Kamal Singh remains confident. Bhavnish Kohli, who played a vital role in Shaurya, will again have to shoulder a major chunk of responsibility along with Anirudh. The presence of several all-rounders also adds to the balance of the team. More importantly, the team will also have a point to prove on why cricket is a gentleman’s game, and will look to play in the right spirit. The Competition: Kharagpur is in the same group as Rajasthan, Hyderabad and Gandhinagar where only Gandhinagar should prove to be of any significant challenge. From then on, however, the going gets really tough with Delhi and Madras looming in the quarter-finals.
Buoyed by the influx of new talent, the performance of the midfield will play a critical role in determining how far they go in Inter-IIT. With Shailesh and Baite combining well in the middle, captain Ravish should find plenty of opportunities to score up-front. Goalkeeper Harshvardhan Yadav kept four straight clean sheets in Shaurya, but Inter-IIT will be a much bigger challenge for him and the defence. The team will have to guard against injuries though, which proved to be the Achilles’ heel last time around. The Competition: Kharagpur has been pitted in the same group as Patna, Rajasthan and hosts Roorkee. Although it won’t be a cakewalk, they should clear the group stages with relative ease. In the quarterfinals they are likely to play Hyderabad or a depleted Kanpur side, with an enticing prospect of playing tournament favourites Delhi in semi-finals. TSA Predicts: Bronze
TSA Predicts: Quarterfinalists SQUASH The Team: Squash, rated by Forbes as the healthiest sport to play, is one sport in which KGP is confident of bagging a medal at the 48th Inter-IIT Sports Meet. The preparations are under-way under the guidance of a newly-appointed coach and the team is looking forward to bettering last year's performance where they failed to qualify for the semis by a small margin. The scenario this time seems to be very different. The whole squad is new, and what they lack in experience is more than made up by their level of motivation and commitment to the sport. Unlike last year where the team had zero match practice, the players have been playing a lot of matches. Open-IIT Squash was conducted for the first time and the competition level was good. Also, they have been playing mock games regularly and their cumulative performance will be the basis for selection. A friendly tournament in December is also on the list to ensure quality pre-event match practice.
Executive Editors : Chirag Tibrewal (9836547545), Indra Saha (9433766464) Editors: Abhijeet Tallavajhula, Adarsh Mathew, Ajay Viswanathan, Debadrita Das, Koulick Ghosh, Madhurima Kumar, Pranav Rao, Pravin Sharma, Sagnik Chakraborty, Suvinay Seth
The Competition: It has been a pretty eventful year for the sport with a dull period in between when there wasn't any coach and the court too was being repaired. Hurdles notwithstanding, the team has the potential to be the runners-up in the sports meet, being second only to IIT Roorkee and take the sport to a whole new level on campus, believes Anant Agarwal, a senior member of the team.
Reporters: Aishwarya Roy, Anurag Baid, Arijit Patra, Gaurav Das, Rushant Badani, Sriram Sridharan, Subhomoy Bakshi, Vishaal Singh, Vivek Aithal
TSA Predicts: Bronze
Junior Reporters: Keerthana P.G., Ketan Ingle, Vinit Hase
Asst. Editors: Aditya Agarwal, Akhilesh Prasad, Aniruddha Dey, Jatan Buch, Mallika Prasad, Sanat Mehrotra, Sayak Bhattacharya, Siddhant Wahal, Sourya Dey, Vinodhini Comandur, Yogarshi Vyas
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
...and Fortius HOCKEY The Team: Having been knocked out of the tournament in the group stage last year, the Hockey team is not taking any chances this time. The players have been practising 3 hours a day just to ensure last year's outcome is not repeated. The ground, which was turned into a makeshift helipad for a dignitary last time and therefore unavailable for most of the period, was prepared very early as a precautionary measure. The coach too has stood by the team throughout, keeping the morale high which was evident in Shaurya, when they thrashed St. Xavier's in the finals, turning the tournament into a lop-sided affair. The Competition: It will be a steep climb for the team, given the fact that they are pitted against the defending champions IIT Madras in the group stage and the squad too is relatively inexperienced. Despite this, Thirupathi Lunavath, a senior member, is hopeful of a good result citing the stricter and more disciplined practice schedule. Will the boys do a Chak De? Time will tell. .TSA Predicts: Bronze
o kickstart our venture into the realms of travelling, The Scholars' Avenue held a competition for the campus populace to submit articles on their travel experiences in nearby parts of India, such as the east and the north-east. The response was enthusiastic and we received several terrific travel tales about places ranging from heavenly hill stations to quaint villages, from dark jungles to foamy sea beaches. Finally, the one which managed to edge out its competitors and bag the top prize was a story about none other than the City of Joy itself. We congratulate the author, Nicola Desouza, and urge you to prepare for a beautifully melancholic ride through Kolkata: Dear Avo, Calcutta is killing me. All of me.
And the worst part is I can't be sure why. I am sitting by the Hooghly River and writing to you in the failing light of dusk. Please don't fret now about strange men making nasty advances. They are all too worn out and consumed with thoughts of their next meal to even cast a lusty glance. The locals are scurrying past me to the river bank, stepping into wobbly wooden row boats that will take them across to Howrah. The boat men are emaciated, with large globules of sweat pouring down their skeletal frames while they single-handedly power their boats to the other side. They shoot me a
ATHLETICS The preparation for Inter-IIT Athletics has been going on for long , albeit in different forms. First, it was Shaurya which served the three-fold purpose of providing competitive practice, talent identification and revealing weaknesses. Inter-Hall Athletics, which will be over by the time this reaches you, is the second avenue. The fact that it is a fiercely fought competition, for reasons known to all, provides a much needed boost to the preparations, feels Vaibhav Jhonny, captain of the Inter-IIT Athletics Team (Men). The Men’s Team: The Men’s Athletics team will see some major changes this year. A number of athletes who represented Kharagpur last year have graduated paving way for newcomers who will go through rigorous training before the final team is chosen in the second week of December. The senior athletes, on the other hand, will be looking to erase all memories of the previous edition where they finished a shocking 5th after having bagged Gold the year before.
The Women’s Team: The Women's contingent, on the other hand, will be looking to go one better than last time where they finished second to IIT Roorkee by a point. As second year Dimple Kapadia says, they are in much better shape thanks to the consistent practice sessions and the prospect of two promising athletes joining the team means there's less pressure on Sharmila Chaudhari and herself. The two factors combined point in the direction of Gold and that is what they'll be looking for. TSA Predicts: Men - 4th place Women - Gold TABLE TENNIS The Team: “We will give our 100% and try our best to save our gold”, says Ranu Choudary, who is a part of last year’s gold winning table tennis women’s team. With their two strongest players, Chaoba Thounoujam (women’s team) and Prasan Kundu (men’s team) having graduated, there is a need for the team to
change their game plan from earlier defensive techniques. “We are now working on strokes such as top spins, so as to be on the attacking side”, says Mansi Agrawal, a player on the team. Rigorous practice sessions are conducted every Saturday with a coach being brought in from Calcutta. On the remaining days, the team can be found practicing for about two to three hours in the evenings. During Shaurya, the men’s team gave a tough fight to national level players from NIT Trichy, who went on to win the competition. The women’s team had to settle for Silver against an evidently stronger St.Xaviers. The Competition: Inter IIT men’s table tennis has borne witness to Madras securing gold for four consecutive years now. Other major competitors to Kharagpur include Delhi and Bombay. The women’s team will have to fight hard against Mandi and Bombay, if they want to win the Gold. TSA Predicts: Men - Bronze Women - Silver
Calcutta Times curious look - one of them even nodded his head out of politeness. And I started to cry. It's just too much to take. All of this beauty in banality. And who am I to call it Beauty just because they seem so accepting of it all. On Sunday evening we decided to catch a bus from Babu Ghat to Esplanade. The bus was parked in a vacant lot and there were 3 shadows seated in pitch blackness. When we entered, one of those spectres floated towards the cabin and switched on the dimmest light possible. We were touched because he did it since we were women passengers. You can guess that nothing untoward happened until we got off and walked to the hotel. Would we have this chance in Delhi? Well, perhaps if we were "asking for it". Now I know what Paizinhe felt each time his ship docked here in the 60s. You know Avo, I feel quite stupid when I look back at the illusions of this city I'd built up before coming here. Imagining everyone walking around looking like Vyomkesh Bakshi the super cool detective, dressed in starched kurtas, black-rimmed spectacles, and jute sling bags, quoting Tagore at the drop of the hat. Discussing the films of Ray. Well the truth is, I did see all of these guys at Cafe Coffee Day on Park Street, and in a book shop - Oxford I think. But I lost interest quickly or rather they lost interest in me, and perhaps it was for the best. Because for now, I am strangely attracted to the Other Calcutta which lacks elequonce of speech but instead speaks out a million radiant words through its jaded eyes. You know Avo, right from the time Nijma and I stepped off the Duronto Express at Howrah Station (they call it How- Dah), we were stunned by the sheer mass of humanity oozing out of every conceivable corner, even at 9pm. It was too surreal and I swear I saw all those men, Dominique Lapierre described in his classic City of Joy. Nij and me got into a prepaid taxi and had the strangest conversation in Hindi with the driver: He: Garibon ki desh mein aapka swaagat
hai. (Welcome to the Land of the Poor) Us: Don't you feel bad saying this about your own land? He: No. Why do you think people pay 5 Rs for a full non-veg meal? It's because they can't afford more. And if they don't eat, they will die. But before they die, they will go crazy with hunger and commit violent crimes. So the easiest solution to keep the city's sanity in place is to at least subsidize food. Let them eat well. He refused to accept a tip after dropping us off at Park Street. The next day we walked through the back lanes of Chandni Chowk and through Babu Ghat. Food, food
everywhere. Cauldrons of rice, fish curry, fried fish and vegetables frothing over at almost every street corner And skeletons of men gobbling up the entire mound on their plate, with blank stares. All of this for 5 rupees, Avo!! That afternoon, we walked through Maidan where there was a massive communist rally. Leaders were screaming into the mikes, "La Jhanda ki Joi" (Victory to the Red Flag). The masses sat in the blistering heat soaking in those saliva-sprayed words as if they were fresh rain drops with promises of a better tomorrow. Avo, they truly believe the Brave New World is on its way!!! I see now that cynicism is strangely confined to those whose basic needs are met, to those with enough time to debate the existence of God, to those who never knew hunger.
At this point Avo, I am not sure if I understand anything about myself, my country, human nature, economics, psychology, sociology. Nothing! I have forgotten to be politically correct and I tread upon delicate sensibilities quite easily. Ok Avo. Night has fallen and the boatmen are now lighting tiny gas lamps to help locals get into the boat without slipping. How on earth are those flickering flames staying alive on a tumultous river. The Vidyasagar Setu looks gorgeous in the background, welllit and colorful, almost like some fancy structure in South East Asia. I am quite distracted now. This is getting much too unreal for me and I am experiencing some sort of Stendhal Syndrome, except that Calcutta is that inscrutable work of Art and Beauty. And not a canvas in Paris' Le Louvre museum I could boast about on Facebook. I am going to end this letter now. It's time to hail that iconic big yellow taxi and whiz by the Victoria Memorial. Hard to believe Paizinhe asked you to marry him here over 60 years ago. I guess I take after my beloved grandfather then; we both hold similar ideals of romance that spill over into the mysteries of the human psyche, thereby transcending roses and candle light (also beautiful). Calcutta was the City of Joy for you and for him. And now for me.
I end this letter with all my love, Your grand daughter, Nico
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
Placement services across IITs
hen you are out looking at avenues for improvement, it is often fruitful to take a step back and notice what your peers have got right. With this in mind, we at The Scholars’ Avenue decided to compare and contrast the placement procedure at some of the sister IITs with that of IIT Kharagpur, hoping to present actionable information and point out deficiencies, if any. Our findings were not very surprising. IIT Kharagpur falls short in certain areas like information availability where a small amount of one-time effort could potentially improve performance. On the other hand, there were labyrinthine issues needing to be resolved too, like the lack of a comprehensive CV fact verification system, the setting up of which would call for a lot more effort.
Comparing TnP Websites We began our comparison with a cursory glance at the Training and Placement websites of a few IITs. While Bombay, Madras and Delhi have dedicated entire websites for their placement cells, Kharagpur only has a page introducing the team and giving a gist of the procedure for companies interested in recruiting. IIT Bombay also has a web page describing student profiles and a more direct and to-thepoint ‘Why Recruit’ tab. While IIT Kharagpur may furnish the same data upon request by companies, the amount of publicly available data on
websites from where they can be accessed any time, especially by students who missed the talk. In addition, the rules listed in the powerpoint presentation tend to be just pointers for the actual talk and missing the talk may actually result in the students missing out on important information.
CV Verification Information availability and presentation are important things, but are nevertheless, easy to fix. An important issue needing redress at IIT Kharagpur is that of resume verification. While it is always expected that students graduating from a college as reputed as IIT would not provide fraudulent or misleading information, a few students do succumb to the temptation. Battered by the prospect of facing stiff competition for lucrative jobs, sometimes the conscience looks the other way when the student decides to pad his CV with lies and half-truths. Discovery of such trespasses result only in diminished trust between the institute and the company and consequently, future batches suffer. When companies doubt the veracity of the CV submitted by the student, they have to expend additional resources to perform background checks, a situation they would clearly like to avoid. A central CV submission and verification platform would go a long way in convincing companies that a few bad
coordinator go through every resume to validate the data. If any information is in doubt, the concerned student is asked to provide proof to back up the information which he or she has provided on the resume. Upon completion of this process, the students are free to choose which of the details on the master CV they want to send to individual companies. At IIT Bombay, a parallel system exists. Students can submit upto five separate resumes and choose which to submit for each company. The verification process is conducted by department coordinators appointed for this purpose. The workload is thus reduced considerably as the verification occurs department-wise. The verification process at IIT Madras is done in a similar way by the analogous branch councillors. We talked to the VP, Rinshul Chandra about the idea of a centralized ERP portal initiated by ex-VP Prateek Agarwal and ex-Placement Head Prof S.K. Srivastava. He indicated that the system is in the final stages of development and will be deployed in the second phase of placements. The portal will provide students an interface to update their details, upload their resumes, apply for company profiles; and the T&P office to verify and cross-check the details of the CV submitted. Prof. Srivastava had raised concerns regarding the effort required in manually verifying thousands of such profiles in an interview with us in April. While he had suggested a freeze date beyond which a student will not be able to change his resume, a viable alternative is the use of department co-ordinators for the verification, like IIT Bombay.
A Formal Relationship Development Program
students makes a lot of difference when recruiting decisions often hinge on easy access to data and minimal transaction costs. Already crippled by location issues, such trivial things might just be the factors that seal KGP’s fate for some companies. Another key point is the presence of rules and regulations on the websites. IIT Madras and Delhi have an excruciatingly detailed set listed on their websites. The rules encompass all facets of the process, such as eligibility criteria, resume, the policy regarding pre placement offers, the selection procedure to be adopted by the companies and so on and so forth. In Kharagpur, these rules are explained through the means of a presentation, the soft copy of which is uploaded onto the notice board for access by interested students. While it is a reasonably effective technique, it would always be handy to have these rules listed on the
apples won’t slip in through their hiring procedure. For a system like this to function a dedicated team would be required to verify every minor detail in hundreds of CV’s. Such manpower requirements are the primary constraints that hold back implementation of such a system. Presently, the Training and Placement Cell only conducts checks on resumes selected at random to prevent any malpractices. This is in stark contrast with the situation at IIT Bombay, Madras and Delhi which have excellent mechanisms to weed out CV’s with inconsistencies in them. At IIT Delhi, the students are given a stipulated time period for uploading details onto their master CV. Once this deadline expires, the CV is frozen by the placement cell and no further changes can be made by the students. Then the student members of the placement team headed by three
Another initiative that can be studied and adapted at Kharagpur is the RRDP (Recruiter Relationship Development Programme) at IIT Bombay. The major objective of this program, as its name suggests, is to foster stronger ties with the recruiters. Benefits of this program include campus tours and interaction of the company executives with the placement team. Member companies are permitted to send personnel to conduct workshops and technical talks, thus increasing their presence and visibilty on campus. They are also enouraged to offer winter internships to pre-final year students through the placement cell. A similar formal program that maintains and develops relationships with companies can give a fillip to placement prospects of students in KGP. It’s true that the Training and Placement cell at IIT Kharagpur has to work under constraints that aren’t present at the other IITs. The sheer number of students and the unfavorable location work against us. That is precisely why we should do everything in our power to make the process and the experience better for everyone involved, from the students to the recruiters to the Institute itself. Our peers have some excellent ideas in this regard and we could try and implement some of these practices to suit our needs. After all, adaptability does score high on every recruiter’s scorecard.
² N O V E M B E R 2012
TSA Tech Survey (continued from Page 1) What we can expect in KGP in the near future What we have learned so far is that KGPians have explored different OS ecosystems and have had a good look at the availability of both apps and hardware choices across the spectrum. However, we are still not willing to give up our laptops and go totally mobile. Perhaps it is the non-availability of some basic software on these mobile operating systems that is cause for hesitation. We started off this analysis by quoting the unusually high penetration of smart devices currently in KGP – 65%. We are elated to end this report with a peek at what the scenario for mobile devices will be in the near future, or to be specific we wanted to shower the spotlight on the 35% who do not own a smart device now. Yes, while half of these folks aren't totally convinced about the utility of a smartphone and have put off the decision for a year, a good 28% are planning a smartphone/tablet purchase in the next 3-6 months.
Graph 5:Future Wishlist
Taking this to the next step, we queried our respondents as to what platform they would opt for when they got round to jumping on the smartdevice bandwagon, and again Android came out on top. If you are an app developer or a budding entrepreneur, here is your verdict: You can't go wrong developing for Android if your user base is predominantly going to be Indians. Smart devices and their impact on KGPians' lives As we have wifi connectivity all around campus, traditional calls and SMS may well be a thing of the past, resulting in reduced telephone bills and increased quality (even video). Skype and Whatsapp – two applications which provide alternatives to these basic functions of a phone, were already among the most loved apps in our survey. With NFC being in most new smartphones, we might have a shot at replacing our archaic attendance system. NFC is already used to facilitate cashless transactions at IIT Bombay (we covered this in our last issue). Easy geolocation capabilities on these phones can kick-start a range of location based services on campus. Productivity apps were among the most used apps among our respondents – this can result in better note-taking, collaboration and online research right in our classrooms. On a closing note, we would like to thank the 570 respondents of our survey for patiently, and accurately answering our questions. The insights from the data we have collected will help us tailor better content for you in our TechAve section, and we hope that this analysis here has given you a high level perspective of the gadget scene in our diverse campus. In many ways, KGP is a microcosm of our nation and we are optimistic about getting to see the same kind of smartphone adoption play out across the country.
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
N O V E M B E R , 2012
VPspeak ( T S A caught up w i t h Rinshul Chandra, midway through his term as the VP, on the status of implement ation of his proposals , his take on some campus buzz and his experience so far.) TSA: There has been a proposal by successive VP’s for creation of a Foreign Application cell for disseminating information on the best Universities abroad. How far have you been successful in following up on this? VP: The Foreign Application cell will require a dedicated employee for processing the applications. It has been successfully created in IIM Shillong and IIT Bhubaneshwar. This would require the recruitment of a new employee, for which the necessary approvals are being taken. If all goes well, I expect the advertisement for the position to be released in the next semester. The T&P office is already overworked with the placement scene, and attempts to create a cell which has only student participation have been unsuccessful in the past years. This year, a number of universities have been contacted, but the process would
be more effective if undertaken in an official manner. This will definitely be followed up in the next sem. TSA: Could you tell us something about the status of implementation of the Public Relations Cell? VP: The proposal for creation of a PR cell is underway for implementation- a significant part of the proposed work has already been completed. In the next semester, office bearers for the same would be appointed, with the Public Relations chair of the TSG as a de-facto member. The roles of the PR cell will be diverse, and interacting with the media to publicize the achievements of Students Alumni and Faculty of IIT Kharagpur. A broadcasting cell is underway for sharing of high quality videos of events within the campus, the TSG website has been revamped and a considerable effort is being made in the Central Library to digitize the Research Publications in the institute. The decentralized use of social platforms has been replaced with separate social media profiles that are now being maintained officially. The internal notice board is being redeveloped. Steps are underway to develop an extensive budget and framework for censorship norms of the institute with the admin’s approval. TSA: Extension of the working hours of the Central Library- your views? VP: Due to the unavailability of staff
and security issues after the working hours, it is not feasible to keep the central library open for 24 hours at present. However, three classrooms have been opened up for students intending to study late in to the night. We a r e w o r k i n g o n t h e implementation of RFID system across the Central Library, that will make deposit/issue of books hassle-free. TSA: What work has been done by FMC/MMC? VP: FMC (a body of CELC), and MMC (under the aegis of HMC) have been smartly merged this year, and their work is already underway. The results of the eateries’ survey have already been released. We have actively tried to implement the results of our findings. Eateries have been issued notices to implement the suggestionsboth “Must Do” and “Should Do”. The most unhygienic of the eateries will soon be closed down. Also sometime next week, the results of the mess-raid in halls will be out. A night-canteen survey will soon be conducted as well. TSA: A lot of people feel that the work done by the elected officebearers of the Gymkhana are redundant and could be done more efficiently by an administrative bureaucracy. Your take on this? VP: It is true that the role of the elected office bearers can be performed by a capable administrative bureaucracy. In fact, it can, in some ways, be perceived
to be a better solution, because there will be a continuity in the implementation of proposals. Right now, every year, a VP candidate has to focus on implementation of new proposals, which may lead to neglect of the efforts made in the previous years. However, this consideration blindly ignores the virtue of student representatives in the first place- they being ‘students’ themselves, can think from their perspective and help students with what they need. An official employee performing the same function will never truly ‘represent’ the students’ perspective. TSA: Any work beyond proposals? VP: The next semester will see the opening of a new Subway outlet in the Nalanda complex. I am also in talks with several other entities, such as Dominos, Saravanaa Bhavan, Indian Coffee House etc. Around 100 dustbins will be installed around the Scholars Avenue soon. Efforts are on to implement a cashless card system across the campus, in collaboration with National Payments Corporation of India, something on the lines of IIT Bombay. Also, we are working on having a central laundry system in place in campus, which will enable a centralized and more coordinated solution to laundry problems, leading to more efficiency, and cheaper costs. (To read the complete interview, visit www.scholarsavenue.org)
Engineering the Higgs Boson A
fleeting ripple in petabytes of data and weighing a measly 125 GeV/c^2, the Higgs Boson has surely caused a huge sensation for someone its size in circles, academic and otherwise. Among the various monikers it has been embellished with, it is 'The God Particle' (or more accurately, 'The Goddamn Particle to quote the physicist Leon Lederman) which has captured the popular imagination of the masses. Named after Peter Higgs, the boson 'gives' mass to elementary particles through the Higgs mechanism. Hypothesized in the 1960s, it eluded particle physicists for almost half a century, until scientists at the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider(LHC) separately confirmed the discovery of the particle to a high degree of statistical certainty. Prof. Amitava Raychaudhuri, Sir Tarak Nath Palit Professor of Physics, Univ. of Calcutta delivered the 11th S.Datta Majumdar Memorial Lecture on 15th October and talked about the Higgs Boson at length; discussing its central role in particle physics today, the consequences of the discovery and how this influences science in general. TSA conducted an e-mail interview with him about the role of engineers in the quest for the Higgs and their integral place in the cosmos of experimental particle physics. TSA: Can you briefly outline the role
played by engineers in the discovery of the Higgs Boson? AR: The detection of the Higgs boson involves an accelerator, a detector, and data collection and analysis. At every one of these stages the role of engineers has been crucial. To start with, the Large Hadron Collider which accelerates protons to the highest energies, uses magnets made of specially designed materials and which have to be maintained at superconducting temperatures. The stability of the circulating proton beams, focusing, and bunching pose major challenges. The detectors which look for the Higgs boson, AT L A S a n d C M S , u s e v e r y sophisticated materials such as silicon micro-vertex detectors to record the events. The designing and fabrication of the entire detector system relies on engineering inputs. The volume of data and the speed at which they have to be recorded is another front where creative solutions have been devised. Finally, the data is shared around the world via the GRID. Methods have to be devised such that huge volumes of data stored in a computer somewhere in the world is readily accessible everywhere and the data analysis software works smoothly on many different platforms and OS. The accelerators which are the root of an experiment consist of bunches of charged particles. How to keep such bunches from disintegrating due to electrostatic repulsion, how to maintain higher and higher magnetic fields, designing superconducting magnetic materials, etc. is one area where engineering advances are critical. Could we perhaps have superconducting magnets with high-
Tc materials? In these experiments the data get accumulated at a huge rate. Fast storage and handling is another frontier where improvements are expected. New particle detection methods - devising new detectors - is another challenge. In all of the above valuable contributions from engineers have made it possible for the project to succeed and that too in a time bound manner. TSA: It is safe to say now-with a reasonable amount of confidencethat we have found the Higgs. So far so good for the Standard Model(SM). But, research over the past couple of decades has already indicated that the SM suffers from some serious drawbacks (neutrino masses, why only 3 generations of quarks etc). To experimentally verify the extensions of SM, such as SUSY and String Theory, very high energies are required. So are the current challenges faced by physicists more technological than theoretical? AR: Yes, I agree, that the Higgs-boson - or at least something very close to it has been found.. To look for signals of newer things - such as supersymmetry - would probably require more energetic beams. The challenge to accelerate particles to higher energies is a daunting task which will require much innovative technology. Other than high energy, there is also the intensity frontier, i.e., how to make more intense beams. Simon Van der Meer’s work was a major step in this direction. All this does not at all diminish the responsibility of physicists to push their imagination to come up with ways by which within
the accessible facilities the newer theories can be put to test. Both groups are working hard.
TSA: You mentioned that engineers, especially Indian, are a talented bunch, but remain largely ignorant of the opportunities physics creates for them. What is the best way to remedy that? AR: I believe that in India there is a disconnect between the scientific and engineering communities. The scientists live in a secluded space where the progress of the subject and the frontiers are discussed. There are only a few engineers who can break in to this domain. On the other hand, innovative work that is carried out by engineers in our country - e.g., in mission mode work in the Departments of Space or Atomic Energy - leaves out scientists within their ambit. There are some in both groups who through their individual initiative manage to overcome the barriers but these are few in number. To ameliorate this problem the best minds in both science and engineering - e.g., at the IITs - have to be sensitized to the benefits of interdisciplinarity from an early age. We must bring to the forefront where the challenges lie and how scientists and engineers can solve them through their combined efforts. (To read the complete interview, visit www.scholarsavenue.org)
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
N O V E M B E R , 2012
Published on Nov 24, 2012
The issue contains - an insight into penetration of modern technology in the campus. Chat with Vice President - Rinshul Chandra. Our take on...