What is the essence of IT? After all, computers and IT is all about information processing; as of now most computers are digital, and they process just a set of bytes – a set of bits (typically 8) – very large number of them (billions of them), real fast (at the speed of light), reliably (with failures of less than 1 on 10,000 billion typically) and affordably (100 million PCs are sold at sub $ 500 price range every year). IT folks know just one thing – processing bits.
Just this ability – computing ability – coupled with communications ability – to switch packets across the globe in microseconds, has fundamentally changed the course of EVERY OTHER industry.
Through “digitization” of graphics (drawings, photographs and pictures) one can capture, store, transmit retrieve text and pictures. With 600 dpi (dots per second) scanning a sheet of A4 size paper (8.5″ x 11″) with about 1,000 characters (1,000 bytes) would translate to 1 million bytes (with 3-6 bytes per pixel to represent color and intensity at 256 or 65K levels (using 1 or 2 bytes). A picture is worth 1,000 words (there is a 1,000-fold increase in complexity as move from character-based computing to graphics-intensive computing. There is a further 1,000-fold increase in complexity (file sizes increasing 1,000 times) to store 1 hour of music; yet another 1,000 fold increase to process 1 hour of audio – leading to multimedia computing in 90’s. In the process
Office equipment – fax machines, typewriters, scanners are subsumed by “IT” industry (Printer manufacturer HP)
Camera and film / image processing (including medical images Xray, ultra sound, CT and MRI) is getting subsumed by “IT” industry. Nokia sold 7 times more camera fitted phones than all the cameras sold by all camera manufacturers (many of them selling cameras for decades while Nokia started camera fitted phones in 2005) in the year 2007
Cinematography is becoming animation industry; films are directly sent to digital theaters instead of “shipping” movie films!
IT on the one hand is becoming the dominant industry (with more than $ 2 trillion revenue in 2008), comparable to oil and auto industry, it is also “changing color” to subsume many other industries. The simple ability to process “bits” is at the core of computing; the essence of IT is this ability.
Through this lectures we aim to convince the children about the excitement of this area – Programming, operating systems, DBMS, networking, signal processing and embedded systems – and visits to GE call center, campuses of Texas Instruments, Infosys, HP, HP Labs, Mindtree and Tessolve.
We do hope to get this excitement to the children of Bangalore along with the fact that many core technologies are getting developed right in the city of Bangalore!
(Short address by me On April 27, 2009 to the 40 students of “excITe children” program (for 9th/10th/11th/12th Grade children of Kumaran School at IIIT-B during April 27 – May 5, 2009)