Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad is launching a full-fledged B.Tech. Program in Artificial Intelligence from the coming Academic Year (2019-2020). It has become the first Indian Educational Institution to offer such a full-fledged B.Tech. program in AI and likely the third institute globally - after Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both of which are in the U.S.
The Course will have an intake of around 20 students who can take the program through the JEE-Advanced.
The mission of the Department of Artificial Intelligence, IIT Hyderabad, is to produce students with a sound understanding of the fundamentals of theory and practice of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It also aims to enable students to become leaders in the industry and academia nationally and internationally and meet the pressing demands of the nation in the areas of AI and Machine Learning. IIT Hyderabad is already offering an M.Tech. program in Artificial Intelligence – Machine Learning.
Speaking about the importance of this course, Prof U.B. Desai, Director, IIT Hyderabad, said, “The basic aim is to create a complete ecosystem for Artificial Intelligence Academics and Research at IIT Hyderabad. This involves B.Tech., M.Tech. and different Minor Programs in AI. Moreover, the R&D will be strongly entwined with academics.”
It is envisaged that students graduating from these programs will apply their training to become leaders in the industry and academia and contribute to building a better future for India and the world.
What makes the program at IIT Hyderabad unique is that it aims to provide a holistic view to students. It comprises algorithms from the Computer Science Department, Signal Processing from Electrical Engineering Department, Robotics from Mechanical Engineering Department and Mathematical Foundations. The course will also focus on application verticals such as healthcare, agriculture, smart mobility, among many others.
Further, the ethical impact of AI and its technologies on areas such as privacy, bias and related issues will also be a key component of this B.Tech. program. It is important that the next generation of people trained in AI should be sensitized to these things and are cognizant of the impact of the technology they develop.
Highlighting the salient features of this course, Dr. Sumohana Channappayya, Dean (Research and Development), IIT Hyderabad, said, “AI solutions are particularly promising for India (given the availability of a large corpus of data) where it can have a major positive impact on several critical domains such as healthcare, crop and soil management, weather prediction, surveillance and security, and defence. Long term and robust solutions to problems in these domains require a systematic and disciplined approach that is rooted in the fundamentals of AI. However, the demand for professionals trained in this area far exceeds the current supply. The BTech program in AI is a step in the direction of addressing this highly skewed demand-supply scenario.”
Further, Dr. Sumohana Channappayya added that the potential for AI to improve the quality of human lives is tremendous. This program will train students in the fundamentals of computer science, AI and ML in addition to sensitising them to the ethical issues in deploying AI-based solutions.
Students pursuing other degrees such as B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering can now do a minor in AI as well from the coming Academic Year. This will make IIT Hyderabad students, in all disciplines, well equipped to meet the challenges in AI that are lying ahead.
Speaking about this course, Dr. Vineeth N. Balasubramanian, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Hyderabad, said, “It will provide training on various aspects of AI, ranging from technical ones like machine learning algorithms to ethical issues as well. It will make our students very sought after by the Industry as their training will be comprehensive and well-rounded when working on smart AI-based technology solutions.”
Further, IIT Hyderabad is already offering an M.Tech. in Data Science for working professionals that comprises Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and other related areas since 2015-16.
The M.Tech. is a flexible program offered completely online in real-time with students having the freedom to complete the course between two to five years. This gives a lot of options for working professionals in AI area to upgrade their skillset without leaving their jobs or having to relocate.
Dr Vineeth added, “The past alumni have initiated R&D projects after finishing the program and are also involved in collaborative Research projects with IIT Hyderabad. These courses, in addition to skill the Indian workforce, helps contribute to creating an ecosystem where industry and academia can closely discuss AI solutions and thereby bridge the gap between AI theory and practice.”
IIT Hyderabad’s Department of Liberal Arts in collaboration with faculty from Computer Science and Electrical Engineering has also launched a unique Minor in ‘AI and Humanity.’ The influence of AI on everyday lives has grown exponentially: the way people interact with their bodies, their immediate environments, their societies, and the state are all increasingly mediated through AI. At this crucial point in its history, therefore, it is necessary to understand, question, and shape ways in which AI technologies are being incorporated into the fabric of everyday life.
The AI and Humanity minor at IIT Hyderabad will expose students to exciting opportunities and challenges presented by AI. Students will benefit from thinking beyond the purely technical aspects of AI: humanities and social science scholars will team up with engineers and designers to offer wide-ranging interdisciplinary perspectives on AI and Humanity as part of this newly launched Minor.
(This story was first published in www.edexlive.com)