Monday, September 27, 2010

Another ranking list

by a group in Australia based on data from Scopus. IISc's rankings:

Overall: 468
Sciences: 273
Engineering: 148

IIT-Kanpur is ranked higher than IISc in this ranking.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Opinions and comments and their moderation

I repeat myself largely from my previous post last year.

  • All opinions expressed in the blog posts are mine and mine alone. They do not represent my employer, IISc or that of the government of India.
  • For those who want to leave comments as anonymous, please leave a name, any nickname or even initials. Do not expect my response to your comment if there is no name or initials.
  • Comments on my blogs are not moderated. That is because even I though I may not agree with what you say, I believe in your right in saying so. This brings me to the main point: I am not responsible for the comments on the blog. They are expressed by readers and I neither endorse nor disagree with any of the comments, unless I explicitly state so in a subsequent post. 
  • This blog post is the result of many anonymous comments that are completely off-topic and abuse some of my colleagues. These are quite offensive and I would have deleted them but usually these comments will multiply if I delete them. Therefore, my kind request is to refrain making (or responding) to these comments. Please do not respond to flames !
Please do not send me personal emails (unless it affects you directly) stating that you do not agree with some of the comments in the blog. Neither do I but I usually do not moderate comments. After all, I expect most of the blog readers to be educated and will respect each other.

Further, I am traveling from September 16 to September 30 with only intermittent access to internet. 

Monday, September 20, 2010


to my colleagues,Dr Kaushal Verma and Prof. N. Ravishankar for winning the Swarnajayanthi award of DST. Ravishankar and I have collaborated on many research papers and continue to have joint students and projects. I am very delighted to know that he has won the award this year. Congratulations again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stray dogs

In the campus, which is quiet and pollution free, the stray dogs pose a major problem. The children have been chased by packs of dogs in the recent past. I walk from my home to the department and back. Normally, my working hours in the department is restricted to 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. However, yesterday, as I walking to my home at around 9 pm, a dog continuously followed me and nearly came to bite me. However, I had a bunch of research papers that I was carrying. I threw the bunch of papers at it and it ran away. While this is indeed a good use for my research papers, I think the administration should take steps to curb this menace. The problem is that the person who is in charge of this is retiring next year and does not seem to bother ! However, the main problem is that there is no easy solution. The BBMP is unwilling to pick up dogs, the NGOs only neuter them and bring them back, there are too many gates and places through which the dogs can enter. So, while everyone agrees that there is a problem, there exists no easy solution.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Education and empowerment

Kapil Sibal, the HRD minister, spoke at IISc yesterday on the occasion of Sir Vithal N Chandavarkar Memorial Lecture. He spoke on empowerment through education. He talked about the enrollment ratios. The growth enrollment ratio, defined as the number of students who attend university to the number of students who attend school, is presently 12.4 per cent of 220 million and this should touch 30 per cent. Many developed countries have around 50 per cent. Similarly, the higher graduate enrollment ratio, defined as the number of students who do doctorate to the number of students who are graduates, is currently only 1% in India, as opposed to 10% in developed countries. He did not make the latter point in his talk.

He spoke on the connection of education to GDP, lack of more than a million elementary school teachers, the foreign university bill and various other reforms including the education finance corporation indicating that priority lending rate should be given to investors in education. He also mentioned that the education sector would witness investments to the tune of billions of dollars in the next two decades and become the fastest growing sector in the country. My colleague, Abi, asked him about the role of philanthropists in education and he mentioned that a few philanthropists indeed can make a huge difference in the education sector and gave the example of Azim Premji of Wipro.

Overall, it was a good talk and his two quotes "We believe education is as, if not more, important than infrastructure." "The government wants to be far removed from the processes of education but not from the objectives of education."  stood out.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

M.E./M.Tech Admissions

IITs have a problem in filling up the seats reserved for SC/ST/OBC students. IISc seems to have a different problem. 591 seats were offered for M.E/M.Tech admission for 2010. Only 322 students joined. Some departments, in particular, showed a sharp decrease of students joined to students offered. In the general category, the number of students offered admission in aerospace, chemical, civil and materials engineering was 22, 17, 33, and 25, respectively. The numbers who joined were 6,3,5, and 11. Thus, some departments showed only 16% acceptance rate...I think it is a matter of concern, though many apparently do not think so.

Priority Inbox

Earlier this week, Gmail introduced priority inbox. I used to use the multiple inbox feature of gmail labs to organize my email into five main categories by the judicious use of labels: emails sent by editors, emails that require actions like reviews/reports, emails sent by director and other important administrators, emails sent by students/collaborators and all other emails. But I felt that the multiple inbox looked clumsy, though it did a wonderful job. The priority inbox looks much better though I do wonder why it’s limited to four sections. I would have been happy with five though I can combine my first three categories into two categories. I wish one or two sections in priority inbox could be configured as one of the multiple inboxes. I like the approach of priority inbox better, but still would like to add one or two sections tailored to my needs.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Match fixing

Harsha Bhogle discusses on the recent cricket match fixing controversy.
Why do I play this game?
If the answer is that you want to excel at the one thing that you are good at, that you want to find the limits of your ability, that you relish the challenge of a competition, that you get goose pimples putting on your country’s colours and walking out to the expectations of your countrymen, you will pursue those goals and take whatever reward you get. Invariably it will be handsome.
If the answer is that you want to earn a good living as quickly as you can, that you want to bask in the comforts of the material pleasures that your talent delivers to you, you will take whatever financial inducement comes your way. Inevitably it will be tainted, inevitably the dessert will be laced.
It is our choices that tell us who we are.
Ganguly, as always, puts it forthrightly,
In our playing days, we could hardly believe such a thing. During my captaincy, betting issue used to figure in the discussions with Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble and me. But nobody could dare approach us. May be they (the bookies) judge players by their characters before making the move.
Can/Will anything be done?  Prem Panicker writes wonderfully
Nothing further was ever done. Change venue, rinse, repeat, and there you have the story of India’s dysfunctional cricket administration. Seriously — what fools are we, that we expect honesty and integrity to flourish in this soil?
It has often been said that we are good at only playing games.. not in sports. If you dream of India as a Utopian society, free of crime, injustice and evil, we can achieve this by turning our weaknesses into strengths.