In the panel discussion sponsored by Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA) at IT.in Conference (10th Edition of the large event at Bangalore that started off as IT.com in 1998), some interesting observations were made.
Dr Sunil Sherlekar (who heads the large embedded systems group at TCS) started off with the ISA Technovation Awards announcement for the year 2008.
• Techno-visionary Award for a visionary individual with life-long contributions
• Techno-mentor Award for a research supervisor
• Techno-shield Award for an organization that contributes to semiconductor industry and
• Techno-inventor Award for an innovator
As the anchor person I started off with the need for “partnership” with the spirit of “give & take”; the industry should take a long term view and look beyond “bang for the buck” (which invariably translates to sponsoring “college events” and the resultant brand promotion or recruiting students).
Tridib Roy Chowdhury (Director, Adobe Software India) wanted the industry to focus on creating a “better mind” than merely focusing on “skills”. He talked of the need for “preparing for the last job” rather than preparing for the “first job”, once again emphasizing the “long term” partnership. He made an interesting observation that the industry in India feels the absence of great universities including MIT & Stanford in the neighborhood; and, the academics in IIT’s and IIIT’s equally miss the genuine interests of IBM and HP in partnering with IIT’s & IIIT’s. In effect, we need to start the work at both the ends.
Dr Sherlekar wanted the emphasis on innovation. He stressed the need for “goal orientation” among the faculty (he used the example of scientists with a “goal” to solve “unsolved problems over centuries” and achieving success as an example). In essence, the pure academic view of “give me money, I will come back if I get anywhere” is a clear “no no”, but the industry should also not take a myopic view of academics (students & faculty) helping them in developing a product in the next quarter or a year.
Manav Subodh (University Relations Head at Intel India) talked of the need to address the need of making teaching as an exciting career for the students and to address the serious problem of faculty shortage in Indian institutions. Manav also talked about the need to emphasize the importance of post-graduate education (M. Tech & PhD) among the students (particularly by the industry members who often focus their entire energy on B Tech students) and research (by faculty-student groups).
Dr Karthik (Engineering Director of Analog Devices) wanted the excitement of the laboratories to be brought into undergraduate education. He took the case of “digital Design” Lab course in VTU and explained how it can be “enriched” to create significant interest among students. In the process, the labs will get rejuvenated and the faculty members would find it rewarding too.
Dr Lovi Raj Gupta (Dean, Lovely School of Technology) talked of the need to “connect” (lecture to lecture, course to course, year to year and finally academics to industry) and stressed on the academic community to go beyond the exams, results and grades.
The questions that followed were interesting too; Vijay Rao of RV College VLSI Design Center talked of the need for industry to collaborate with “finishing schools”; a student of Lovi College venting his strong feeling that industry is “cold” to private colleges.
All in all it was an enjoyable panel discussion, thought through very well by ISA