ISA Vision Summit 2011

The sixth India Semiconductor Association (ISA) Vision Summit, the flagship annual conference of ISA, was organized this year on 21 and 22 February, with the focus on “Electronic Systems Innovation: India’s opportunity to drive global markets“.

“If you throw peanuts, only monkeys will come!”
— Prof. Prem K. Kalra, Director, IIT Rajasthan.

Republic Day and Patriotism

Sample this:
  1. In the pleasant small town of Jodhpur, the local FM radio channels have been beaming patriotic songs interspersed with ‘Badnaam Munni’ and ‘Sheila Ki …’. The only other 2 days when they do so are August 15 and October 2.
  2. CNN-IBN, one of the leading national TV news channels, broadcasts a show at 7:30 this evening with the old Hindi movie songs that evoke the feelings of patriotism.
  3. The small gathering at one of the leading Science and Technology institute of the nation commemorating the day India became a republic started with playing similar movie and non-movie tracks.

Why?

True, we were free in the true sense on this day when we ditched the dominion status and laws that were symbolic of the colonialism in favor of our own constitution. True, every single day is worth remembering and saluting the thousands who died for the Independence. True, music and dance are the best means of celebrations.

But, 61 years on, we seem to have forgotten what the day really stands for. It is fine if the day evokes nationalist, patriotic feelings in you, but it does not celebrate patriotism. It is not just another day when you *must* play the otherwise buried cassettes and CDs.

It does celebrate one of the most hated words of recent times: politics! For 26th January 1950 saw the greatest political venture of its times see the light of the day. It celebrates the inception of a large social structure in a society willing to take its own decisions collectively. It celebrates the and glorifies the notions of socialism and democracy–notions, that even some who do not agree with celebrate ignorantly aligning with the mass mentality of celebrating. Sorry. I do not ask you to have the same meaning and feeling as I have, nor what Ambedkars and Nehrus had. I ask you to actually think and not just follow. I ask you to attach your own meaning having put a lot of thought, this time with the open minds, asking whys and hows.

Happy Republic Day you all.

Why Facebook?

Why does Facebook have to rub it in all the time? Every single ad served during my Facebook sessions has something to do with fulfilling carnal or emotional desires involving the fairer gender!

New Year 2011

2011 is a prime number. It is 305th prime. That’s the only good part of this year.

Happy new year.

There! I said it. Now get back to your work.

If I communicated verbally in this whole new year wishes situation, the communication would have gone something like what follows.

You [all jolly and hopeful]: Happy new year, AG!

AG [disgruntled and frowned]: Happy new year. There! I said it. Now go fuck yourself!

Some people are not worth communicating with. I’m one of them.

Why am I so worked up? Well, I had to change a lot, due to situations that were not in my hand most of the time. I could have walked out of those situations, but I did not change in that aspect: I could not walk out of a bad situation before making an effort to try rectifying it.

  • I had to use Microsoft Windows for a couple of days. That was when I bought my new laptop and the Lenovo assholes denied shipping it without an OS pre-installed. Their OS of choice: Microsoft Windows 7 “Professional”. Take my word, there’s nothing “professional” about Windows 7 Professional.
  • There were no tutors/TAs in the courses I instructed. I had to correct all the Algorithms II and Data Structures and Algorithms (Algorithms – I) answer sheets on my own. For all their exams! 480 answer sheets in total. I hate working! I abhore it. Seriously. I had to change and actually had to work. The lessons learnt:
    • Make computers do that in future by designing MCQ type of exams.
    • Moreover, never give them projects. Students are never serious about submitting the projects within deadlines. I know that part, because I never was. So the last minute work is out of proportions if compared to the human capacity of working.
    • If you ask for projects/term papers/homeworks, ditch the usual inside the room kind of exams.
  • Following does not count for a change, so let me just strike it out. Due to the “difficulty level” of the exam papers or any other reason, the students think that their instructor is evil, which even I think of me at times.
  • People bother me! I hate interactions. I had to interact with at least 50,000 people this year. Okay, that count is exaggerated. Still, it was close to 47,000.
  • I hate telephonic conversations. I hate long telephonic conversations or conversations that start with: “aur kyaa haal hai?” (Hey, what’s up?). Why are people so worried about what I’m doing with my life? I may just go and screw myself for all they care. By the way, that’s what I’m doing right now. Screwing my life. Big time!

I changed when 2006 ended. I thought that that change would be pleasant. It was. That time, I started liking interacting with my friends on a more regular basis. Probably the time was when I needed their support. So there! I’m selfish too. I hate changing back to old me, “the disgruntled, despicable me”. But I have to for I’m again going insane, and I better not bother my friends with my whims and insanities.

The Problem of ‘Large Core’

Following is just the other perspective that lurks somewhere inside you too; I just intend to bring it in open.

Following is the argument that I wanted to convey during a meeting at my workplace. Like all the other schools of thought, this one too has its own merits and demerits, for philosophers have proven rigorously over the years that a complex enough system (“enough” here is a mathematical terminology, which can only be explained qualitatively, not quantitatively, and depends on the context) can not be consistent and complete at the same time.

The argument is what follows: A large core–which sadly most of the science and engineering institutes (even IITs) in India suffer from–tries to make a student learn everything that is taught in that core, irrespective of whether the student has an interest in all of the subjects or not. Yes, it is partially a pedagogy problem and depends on the instructor/teacher, but it is also the problem of restricting a student’s freedom and interests. The moment she has to, say, attend a course in machining despite a heavy bent of mind in theory or mathematics, her innovatory senses–even in mathematics, go out of the window.

The innovation need not be in “manufacturing” something only, it could well be in developing a new (simple) theorem or coming up with an idea that requires only lateral thinking, and no scientific thought whatsoever. Why restrict the wild and naive (at that moment) thoughts that could go on and become great ideas one day. History has proven that some of the best ideas, ideas that changed the entire thought process of humanity, have come in society that lets the individual free.

This of course does not mean that we should not have anything “in the core” of the curriculum: of course there should be, but, make it as small as possible by having (may be) multiple cores and let the student choose what core (s)he wants to do. Obviously, it could be that the student gets bored even with her chosen core, so we should have an option for her migrating to other areas by having the provision of electives in the core.

I understand that this way we’d have too many parameters to tackle with, and at one stage this problem could become (in CS Theory terminology) intractable. But that should not deter us unless we hit a dead end or we prove that the problem is really intractable.

Just my two cents.

E-Coli wins over Linux

E-Coli wins over Linux in the “network challenge”.

Beautiful women

Beautiful women are bad for men’s health!