Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sherpas and teaching

In a recent report, the author classifies the academic community in Texas A&M (and UT, Austin) as Dodgers, Coasters, Sherpas, Pioneers, and Stars.

So, it is thus confirmed that the only metric for research is research money. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Statistics and lies

According to Wikipedia, "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments.

In the case of great "achievers" of India, it apparently means that you can say whatever you want irrespective whether the statistics or data is correct.

Mr. N R Narayana Murthy says, ""In 2004, China produced 2,652 PhDs in computer science and in that year the figure was 24 in our country," " In 1967, at the electrical engineering department of IIT-Kanpur there were about 60 to 70 students registered for PhD. But today, at the same department if there are five PhD students joining in a year, that would be fantastic,"

First, the claim that there were 70 students registered for Ph.D at the electrical engineering department of IIT-K in 1967 is not very believable. According to the data that I have, IIT-K graduated only 19 Ph.Ds in 1967. Further, the claim that there are less than five PhD students joining in 2011 in that department is plainly ridiculous. According to the IIT Kanpur website, there are currently 110 doctoral students registered in electrical engineering department with nearly 25 students joining this year

Second, I do not know where he got the data that China produced 2652 Ph.Ds in computer science. In 2004, US produced around 950 doctorates in computer science. According to the S&E report by NSF, China graduated 417 doctorates in computer science and mathematics in 2000 and I really doubt that the number shot up to more than 2500 in four years.

Before saying something on a public forum, it may be a wise to check the data. Of course, to get these data, one may require to use complicated technology like google search.

Update: My colleagues, Abi and Arunn, have written about in their blog, here and there, respectively.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


In my post on interviews, I mentioned to succeed as a researcher in India, you need self motivation. I have been getting some queries on how I define self-motivation. As Martina Navratilova said - and it is something we must all know - "It is not about how good you are when you are playing well, it is how good you are when you are playing badly." If you are as enthusiastic as Leslie Knope character in Parks and Recreation, then you are likely to succeed!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New students

I have put together a small writeup for new students joining IISc this august. Usual disclaimers apply.

Update: The admission office called me and informed me that some students are requesting clarifications for some statements provided in the above link. Please do not do so. They are unaware of this information and IISc is not responsible for its accuracy. If you need anything specific, please write it in the comments. Thank you.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pinned post for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc

This is a pinned post (i.e., this post will always appear at the top of this blog though newer posts appear below it) for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc. Please, please read this site and the old post and this postThere are over 500 comments and replies to these comments in these posts. Post all your questions and comments here. 

This has crossed 200 comments and a new pinned post has been created. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The common question one is asked during this time is "What is the scope and prospect of UG/PG/MBA in IISc?" I promptly refer them to this blog. Sometimes, people ask me about a direct MBA program started by IIM- I. Just like IISc, IIM has now started admission for XII standard students.

Regarding the five-year integrated Post Graduate Programme in management announced by IIM Indore, it has now been clarified that they can not award degrees if the student quits after three years. At least this has been cleared early. IISERs, which started five years back and has even graduated one batch of students this year, have not yet been given permission to give degrees.