By Amritha.S (M.Sc Theoretical Computer Science, 2017-2022)
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest
An extremely humble person, we had the pleasure of interacting with Dr.Raman last year on his views on the future of research. Here are the excerpts of our conversation.
As the Vice President of ACM India, what steps have been taken to promote research?
Have been the Vice President only for 6 months now, but I have been a council member for almost a year. ACM does a lot of activities to promote research, for example, there is a distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award given annually for the best thesis in the country. Getting one isn’t easy for there is a nomination process and a group of
We started the summer schools two years back to this very purpose. They are targeted for bright undergrad and masters students to expose them to advanced topics and also tell them about some interesting research happenings in the country. We feel that most undergraduate students don’t have much idea about what research is, what sort of careers are in research and what kind of research happens in the country. These summer schools, happen all over the country. In fact, there was one in PSG Tech last year on ‘Graph Algorithms’. So, this is another of our ever-expanding activity.
Speaking in terms of research, how is India faring compared to other countries?
One main issue faced in India is the numbers. The volume of people doing reasonably serious research is relatively small compared to the size of the country. But in terms of quality, it is quite discrete. Some areas, we are doing really well and are on par with the rest of the world and in some others, well, we are getting there. But given the population of youth in our country, I would say that the numbers are quite small. There are a lot of universities and institutes where something in the name of research keeps taking place. A few of them are good, and the others, you can’t quite measure how good they are.
Do you think these levels of disparity are because of people being more job-oriented in general?
This happens all over the country and I wouldn’t blame the students for this. In India, there is a general variety of colleges and institutes unlike in countries like the US or in Europe, where they follow a unified university set up. Here, we’ve got the IITs, NITs, IIITs, and various other colleges. The difference in quality is vast. Because of this, there is a lack of awareness among students. In the western world, if you wanted to find what research was happening, you could just go to a university and find out. But here, the major bulk of research doesn’t happen in universities, but only in these
Please give us your views on how PSG Tech is faring in research.
PSG has a very old tradition of being very academic oriented and so attracts good students. The MSc integrated programs, in particular, are very well run. There is a strong focus on quality, there is absolute sincerity in the way they do things, the student-faculty bond is a good. I do not know about the research being done here, but I do know that there is a strong research culture here.
Could you suggest some steps to be followed by aspiring research candidates?
Firstly, do your courses well. The most important thing is to ask questions and I know for a fact that PSG encourages that! Go beyond your syllabus and examinations. Problem solving is another important thing. Try a lot of problems, get into the habit of enjoying the problems and solving them. That would trigger the curiosity in you. The why’s, when’s and how’s are really important while solving any new problem. And thanks to the internet, you are not limited to just the teacher’s notes. The Sky’s the limit! Also, it is not enough to just ask questions, you must also pursue them.
Any last thoughts that you would like to share with our readers from your experience?
Being in PSG, you guys are quite lucky to be an environment that is really student oriented. It is one of the best in terms of culture. Complaints about the student quality, the teacher quality is universal. It is there in the IITs also. But what is important is the academic culture, the focus on quality, focus on what’s important. These things are present here at PSG and it’s up to you to make the best out of it. In terms of research, I wouldn’t say that everyone should do it. Find your passion and excel at it. Be ambitious and pursue your goals!
Team Bridge would like to express its gratitude to Dr.Venkatesh Raman for having agreed to the interview and spending his valuable time for the benefit our readers.
Say Hello to Amritha!
Amritha is a self proclaimed singer, loves playing basketball, and also loves dogs. She also happens to be a professional procrastinator.
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