Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Congratulations to Anand for winning the world championship. Each of the tiebreak games were excellent to watch. The first game was even and both had chances to win but both ran out of time. The second game was definitely even till around move 45, even though Anand was a pawn up, but Gelfand had no time left and Anand won the end game in 77 moves. Games 3 and 4 were drawn by Anand by moving away from standard variations.

Congratulations to Anand for defending his title again! After his family moved back from Madrid to Chennai permanently, many critics accused him of losing his edge. Glad he has proved everyone wrong.

He is coming to Chennai in three days and I hope he is welcomed well. After all, recently the state sponsored the victory celebrations of a private club.

Pinned post for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc

This is a pinned post for prospective faculty to IITs/IISc. Please, please read this site and the old posts, herehere, herehere,  here and here also. There are over 1700 comments and replies to these comments in these posts. 

Use the search function at the top of the blog or advanced search in google to see whether your comment has already been answered. If you require an answer to your question, post it with a name, initials, pseudonym or anything that is distinguishable.

Please do not post off-topic like queries on student admission here; use the comment section of the IISc admissions below.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Education policies

The author of the blog states,

Good-hearted policy makers would have decided that if you throw a lot of money into equipment -- independent of all other aspects that go into research and education -- surely research quality will improve!

It is not as if the policy makers are unaware that this alone will not work. It is just that this is the easiest. It is too difficult to overhaul the complete system or even think about this...just give money and hope things work out !

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Amazing game

What an amazing game..a world championship game decided in 17 moves. That the move 14...Qf6 was a blunder was not predicted even by GM's doing live commentary. They realized it only after Anand played 17. Qf2, which Gelfand admitted that he did not see. Anand said that he calculated the complete line when he played the moves of 11.exf5 and 12.g4. It is simply amazing because in out-of-box games, Anand seems simply unbeatable, like what he did to Kramnik in 2008.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

JEE results

With the JEE results announced yesterday, I get a lot of emails asking about branches that can be chosen etc. I suggest you read the best counseling advice here.

Some of you have asked about the UG admission in IISc. The first round of offers were made last week based on KVPY. All KVPY (SA/SX/SB) in non-GN categories and all from KVPY (SA/SB) and many from KVPY-SX in GN were offered.  In the current batch of students, most of the GN students are KVPY fellows though they have also qualified in JEE. The cutoff for the GN category based on JEE will always be high in IISc because only sixty seats are available for the GN category and most of them are filled by KVPY fellows.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

IISc Admissions 2012

I have been receiving several queries on admissions to IISc. Unfortunately, I am unable to answer all emails individually. All I can say that the cutoffs for the M.E. program are usually in the 99th percentile. The last year cutoff score in GATE and other national exams for various categories to be called for interview for the Ph.D program is mentioned in the website and use this as a guideline. Emails to me regarding this year cutoffs will not help because cutoffs are decided by the number of students applying.

Update: Interview call letters for the M.Tech/M.Mgt program was posted on the website on March 30. M.E. admission is not by interview and only through GATE score. The admission letters for ME will be posted around April 20 on April 12. There are no waiting lists for ME admission, though second lists are operated occasionally. The admission is based on a ratio of offered to joining based on the experience of the last few years. For the research program, interview letters will be posted by May 12, interviews are from 1 June to 10 June. The offer letters for the research program will be online by June 18. For the UG program, the first round of offers will be made by May 15 and the second round of offers will be made on June 1.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Work day

There is an interesting discussion on the length of work day, especially in academics. I think many academicians look only for productivity and I think advisors only look at the work ethic of the student if the student was being non--productive for a few years. The time that is spent on the work bench is probably less important than the time spent required in thinking about the project.

For the faculty, the key is to plan well and not spend lots of time on long coffee breaks and mostly useless meetings. Of course, in IISc parlance, if the faculty is called hard working, it normally means that (s)he is not very bright !

Saturday, May 5, 2012

GM closes

GM closes its R&D lab in Bangalore. Approximately 90 researchers, including a few of these who obtained their doctorate in chemical engineering in IISc, were laid off.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Open access

There is an editorial in The Hindu on open access. I have written about this before in this blog several times. 

While Harvard spends around $4 million of its $400 million budget on the library (i.e., 1%), IITs/IISc spends around $2 million per year on its library budget, which is nearly 5-10% of the overall budget. Much of these are wasted on commercial publishers while the cost of many society journals are still manageable. It is rather critical to understand the differences between a society and a commercial publisher. I have written in detail about the differences in commercial and society publishers and the need for a faculty to understand the cost involved in publishing. 

While nearly 80% of the IISc budget is paid to the commercial publisher, less than 40% of the articles published by faculty are in journals published by commercial publishersA librarian (especially in India) wants to buy the entire package sold by the publisher as the commercial publishers continue to add journals without adding to the contentLibrarians would withdraw from "big deals" and ask themselves what the faculty actually needs. At the initial stages (like the new IITs), the librarians should ask the faculty to buy the journals as individual subscriptions and subsidize it through institution funding rather than get institution-wide site licence.

Recently, in a meeting with the publishers, I was appalled to see Springer quoting nearly $100,000 for subscription to each new IIT. Many new IITs do not have any reasonable number of faculty and the number of full text downloads are minimal (< 1000). When questioned why this cost was nearly 10 times that offered to an Indian university, they were quick to point out that IITs are funded better and may have higher usage later. This differential pricing (depending on the ability to pay) is ridiculous. This is like that the price of a car is determined depending on my pay and   how much I will use the car !

Later in the meeting, the representative made a statement that scientists can not survive without them. In USA, statements like this leads to scientists withdrawing from editorial boards, refusing to review and publish with these publishers. Not that it may make any difference, but as a scientist, I will not publish any more with journals published by Springer.