Archive for the ‘My views on IT’ Category

Analytics – a personal perspective

January 17, 2015

To me analytics has been around for long

In the 70’s

Airlines were “computerised” way back; I flew in 1976 from Madras to Chicago using a “computerised” ticket!

Out of the Airline computerisation came “planned overbooking” – Airlines found a “pattern” – last minute cancellation peaking on weekends but near zero on Monday morning

Simply the weekend effect and Monday morning catch up; thanks to data stored on tapes they could estimate with near 100% confidence, possible “cancellations” and introduced “planned overbooking”

It helped Airlines and passengers – but not scaleable – at best 20 Airlines in USA and may be 200 in the globe (at least then)

in the 80’s

Any Data mining book would give the example of another “pattern” – men in 20’s & 30’s picking up Diapers AND Beer cans on Friday evenings; by putting them together they could increase sales

Something that can be scaled to thousands of stores

In the 90’s

ATM switches could see a pattern of “unlawful” ATM withdrawals; by people who “stole” ATM PINs from unsuspecting customers

This was scaleable to millions as ATM base was nearly a million


Starting 90’s

data mining software could “discover” pattern; for example,

using software “IIMB student store data” could throw out a pattern; 89% of purchases happened in 2 days!

Everyone knew that most students purchased their items (tooth paste or pencils) for the full 3 month term;

the discovery was the extent 89% it is better to ask some stores to put a “window” twice a year rather than running a store all thru the year!

That is “discovery” and the area was called Knowledge Discovery; even today KDDI is the Conference for data mining!


What is possible today is to use Analytics to “disrupt” an industry c

For example, an industry called taxi hailing is getting disrupted right before our eyes; our own TaxiForSure is doing in for Autos in Bangalore since yesterday!

Uber started it in SFO 5,6 years back

Thanks to GPS, Smart phones, Google Maps, you can bridge the “information asymmetry

For example 90% of the time a cab / auto driver has a customer within 100 feet, but the driver does not know;

Similarly, 90% of the time there is a taxi / auto within 100 feet but the customer does not know!


If this asymmetry can be “managed”, we can reduce the number of taxi / auto on the road by 30%


We can do similar exercise for buses, ambulances, fire engines,… as well as doctors and hospitals, patients and nurses, … the list can go on


That I think is the real power of Analytics


(My Pep talk on the Inauguration of 3rd “Analytics Program” (Continuing Education Program) @ IIIT-Bangalore on January 17, 2015)

Information systems have the potential to “transform” business

March 9, 2014

It is important for B School students focussing on IT (Computing & Information Systems) to think “out of box” and go beyond minor improvements  (Though they are important); here are three cases where IT changed the very face of the industry!


1 OTIS Elevators thru its OTIS ONLINE in mid 80’s, could predict elevator failure and alert the mechanic in time before the failure was noticed by the end customer; in the process, creating “elevators that never fail”

2 Southwest Airlines could look at the very core of every business process, and, realize that the Airline ticket post full computerisation was just online copy of the record; and, with wide connectivity to end customers, thanks to Internet. by mid 90’s, one can go “ticket-less” and save money; by offering to share the benefit of cost savings, Southwest enabled majority flyers flying “ticket-less” with online tickets instead of paper tickets. By 2010, ALL Airlines moved this way and 100% electronic ticket became a reality

3 Core Banking in India changed the very notion of banking (going to a Bank Branch); in the process, Indian Banks could grow phenomenally in the period 2000-2014; all banks could offer “any branch” banking, multiple channels (Branch, Phone, Net, ATM and Mobile banking), once again changing the very face of Banking in India

(Inaugural Talk at BizEx (Business Excellence) Conference of Christ University (Mysore Road Campus) on March 8, 2014)

China continues with No 1 position in Top 500 Supercomputers list

November 19, 2013

Announced twice a year – June in USA and November in Germany – from 1993 onwards, Super 500 List has a list of the 500 fastest computers in the world.

In the list announced on November 18, 2013, China’s Tianhe-2 with a peak performance of 33.9 Peta-flops is on the top

India had a couple of entries (with C-DAC setting the trend in 1991 and Tata Eka reaching up to 4th position in 2007), but lost out recently.

US has 252, while China has 66 entries of the total 500, while India has just 11 in the current list!

The real contribution of Apple – mainstreaming a technology year after year – iPhone 5S mainstreams fingerprint authentication

September 22, 2013

A lot has been written about Apple introducing two new phones iPhone 5C and 5S on Sep 20, 2013. Long queue of Apple fans surprise Android fans as to why such an “inferior” and “expensive” phone is attracting attention. It is likely that Apple would have sold more than 5 million new iPhones, something that Apple achieved earlier too.

For many techies like me, who have been looking at technology for decades, the real contribution of Apple in the mobile phone and tablet category is the mainstreaming of a particular technology.

In the last week’s launch of iPhone 5S Apple has mainstreamed “finger print authentication” of a smart phone.

Mainstreaming means three important things –

  1. Integration of a technology into all aspects of a product
  2. Making it affordable
  3. Making the user-interface intuitive enough, that you do not need a thick “user manual”

Compaq laptops had USB-based “finger print” scanners to let only the “owner” access the laptop for more than a decade. It was an external device, costing about $ 30, and had the only purpose of a “gatekeeper” – nothing else. Several laptop manufacturers had such a solution; but, iPhone 5S brings fingerprint solution integrated into the “Main button”, at no extra cost and as intuitive as pressing the button! Also such a “personal authentication” is useable by all applications. Apple has a set of API that allows third party application developers to integrate “fingerprint” authentication in an intuitive way!

In 2007 launch of iPhone, Apple mainstreamed “touch” technology. In the past six years billions of user take “pinch” and “drag” for granted to “zoom out” and “zoom in” web pages and photographs. It was mainstreamed by Apple. Microsoft had Windows Tablet Edition that attempted to use “touch”; many “touch screen” monitors have been around for ages, but none of them integrated “touch” across the product and many first-generation “touch screens” were expensive!

In 2008 launch of iPhone 3G Apple mainstreamed 3G, particularly in USA and many other countries outside Europe. Through an exclusive arrangement with AT&T, Apple introduced users to a “consistent” broadband and data access that made voice, data and video seamless across “roaming” and across all applications. By integrating voice, eMail and browsing with the added convenience of roaming across the 3G network, Apple mainstreamed “mobile computing” (much beyond mobile E-Mail that was the real contribution of Blackberry).

In 2008/2009 launch of AppStore Apple mainstreamed Apps and delivering Apps through AppStore as a new way of delivering consumer applications. Suddenly the “barrier to entry” for application development got lowered and a huge “cottage industry” got developed which is estimated to be about $ 50 billion today! There were third party AppStores before. Palm, Microsoft Windows and Blackberry had App Stores, but none offered the scale, tools and a ready market that Apple offered.

In 2010 launch of iPad Apple mainstreamed “tablet” as a new category of computing devices, what Steve Jobs called “post PC devices”. By mainstreaming “Flash RAM”, iPad was convenient, instant on, battery good enough for couple of days use and an amazingly good display that made iPad compelling as eBook Reader, watching slide shows and videos (many from Google YouTube!) at a price that was affordable

In 2010/2011 launch of iPhone 4 Apple mainstreamed Retina display  with 326 dpi resolution; with 300 dpi said to match the resolution of human eye, this is what Steve Jobs called “the limits of what human eyes can see”. It did create enough controversy among the scientific community. What is important is the integration of superior display technology across the device – for better display of photographs and videos, better rendering of books, newspapers and magazines, better rendering of Web-pages, and of course, better capturing of photos and videos with dramatic improvements in camera technology. Once again Apple’s main contribution is “main streaming”; Amazon and Samsung had better display; Nokia had better camera, but none could match iPhone 4’s holistic experience.

In 2012 launch of iPad Mini Apple embraced “Phablet” as a category that combined phone and tablet functions. While Samsung and others (Google has been experimenting with Chrome laptops and 7″ NexusTablets for a while) had equal success with sale of phablets, the huge apps base particularly in the education segment made iPad Mini a category by itself, particularly for the budget-conscious and one-hand use that characterised student use.

In 2013 launch of iPhone 5S Apple is only continuing the trend of mainstreaming one more technology – namely, fingerprint authentication. Apple May or may not be selling the largest number of phones and tablets (that may go to Android). But what should not be forgotten is the fact that year after year Apple has been mainstreaming a technology – that is taken for granted by EVERY user – both the users using Apple products and those using non-Apple products. That is the real contribution of Apple. That partially explains the Apple fan club enthusiasm year after year, even two years after Steve Jobs is gone!


Professor Sowmyanarayanan Sadagopan is the Director of IIIT-Bangalore. These are his personal views. He can be reached at

How can youth benefit from IT?

April 15, 2013


Today’s youth in India are truly the “Gen Next” and use IT extensively to make their personal and professional lives productive and enjoyable. Four key examples:

1 Learn every moment:

In today’s competitive world, learning is very important. Thanks to the Net – lectures, library and laboratory are fundamentally changing thru e-learning, digital library and remote laboratories. Online courses and videos (NPTEL from IITs, Open Courseware from MIT, iTunes University from Apple) and the whole MOOC (Massively Online Courses) make it possible for any student to access the world’s best knowledge repositories practically free. Thanks to Digital Library  (IEEE / ACM Digital Library, for example), all scholarly journals and conference papers and several books are available online. Remote laboratories make very sophisticated instruments and Robots available over the Net.

2 Keep-up with friends:

For youth, it is important to keep up with friends. In today’s Facebook dominated world, it is so easy to keep up, using mobile phones, smart phones, tablets or PCs. With wireless bandwidth improving constantly (2G, GPRS / EDGE, 3G and 4G), the reach is improving and the falling cost make things more affordable. Other communication options including SMS / MMS, Email, Chat, Skype have brought the whole world at your fingertips.

3 Shop smart:

Today’s youth can shop online for books (Amazon or Flipkart), mobile phones & gadgets (eBay or Infibeam), music (iTunes or Flyte), airline tickets (airline websites or Yatra) or train tickets (IRCTC); one can also get the best deal for any item of your choice at the click of a mouse. In the physical world, one has to physically visit multiple shops to get to know the best deal; in the cyber-world, there are integrators like MakeMyTrip for multiple airlines, or RedBus for multiple bus operators. You can use the credit / debit card or directly use online banking offered by practically all banks.

4 Enjoy and get entertained:

Finally, it is important for youth to enjoy good food, great music or fun party, all helped by technology. Ordering pizza for home delivery, booking a seat in a restaurant for you and your friends or throwing a party, can all be done online. For music buffs, who enjoy devotional music or Bollywood music, there are many options of buying music, listening to streaming-music or tune into FM Radio.

In short, IT has made inroads into all aspects of your day-to-day life. The challenge is to keep the priorities right, manage time and costs, and avoid information / communication overload.

Professor Sowmyanarayanan Sadagopan is the Director of IIIT-Bangalore. These are his personal views. He can be reached at

(Appeared in Education Times of Times of India on April 15, 2013)

How does IT help senior citizens?

April 1, 2013

Senior citizens in India often settle down in cities to take advantage of their professional connections. Information Technology helps them in four key functions.

1               Keep in touch with family and friends

With increased globalization, today’s senior citizens in India find their family members and friends spread across the globe. Earlier form of communication thru postal mail is just not feasible. Luckily, electronic mail and Video conferencing have suddenly shrunk distances. With free web-based email programs like Gmail and Yahoo Mail, one can be in touch with people around the globe effortlessly; with “chat” facility one can have interactive communication, often supplemented with voice / video, thanks to VoIP (Voice over IP) available in services like Skype.


2               Manage savings

For senior citizens, banking and financial services are important – getting pension credited, renewing fixed deposits and other investments (mutual funds and stocks). With practically all banks offering CBS (core banking services), one can do banking from the convenience of a home. Most CBS solutions offer online stock trading option as well. With Post Offices planning to introduce ATM, Core Banking and other services, and most insurance companies offering services online, senior citizens can manage practically all savings without depending on others.


3               Keep up with current developments

Professionals who have turned 60 and become senior citizens continue to be active till they turn 80+. Many of them will like to keep up with current developments in their profession as well as civil society. Luckily, most newspapers (Times of India, for example) are available free online. Most professional journals (IEEE Computer, for example) too are available at very low cost (Rs 1,000+ per year), permitting professionals to keep abreast of developments in their profession, not to mention “Current Science” that is free online.

4               Monitor health

Senior citizens need to monitor their health. While annual regular checkups are a must under the careful supervision of medical doctors, lots of informational articles can be read by accessing “Mayo Clinic” or ‘WebMD” sites. “GetActive” is a handy device (cigarette box size) that measures the number of steps, distance travelled and walking time throughout the day and upload the data to your personal web-site effortlessly (you simply plug into the USB port of an Internet-connected PC); it has memory for 30 days. Similar services would soon be available for blood pressure, glucose levels etc. If you have a smartphone like iPhone many free ”apps” allow you to monitor heart-rate, eye sight etc.,

Most of these services are free. All one needs is an Internet-connected PC!

Professor Sowmyanarayanan Sadagopan is the Director of IIIT-Bangalore. These are his personal views. He can be reached at

(Appeared in Education Times of Times of India, April 1, 2013)

Does IT help? IT for visually impaired

March 18, 2013


It is widely acknowledged in India that IT (Information Technology) helps in the creation of lakhs of jobs, thousands of millionaires and hundreds of new companies. What is not widely appreciated is the less-known, yet equally important ways in which IT benefits Indian society, including the marginalized sections.


Globally, the largest numbers of visually impaired persons live in India; 1.45 million in the age group 25-29 alone, as per Census. Shun by the mainstream society, they get reconciled to a “cursed” life, getting confined to the homes. Many of them are very intelligent and given an opportunity, they can add economic value to the Nation.


1      Organizations like NAB (National Association of Blind) are doing an amazing job of providing “mobility training” to many visually impaired persons, so that they can live an independent life by taking care of their daily needs. Aided by such initiatives, several Schools have integrated visually impaired children into mainstream classes.


2      For those who are lucky enough to get education, the “text-to-speech technology” built into many smartphones and the Screen Reader software like JAWS on PC’s are a great help. You will be surprised to find some visually impaired persons responding to e-mail and SMS messages faster than many of us! They can read all the e-books / journals / magazines as well as the web-content of many websites.


Not every one is lucky to get access to education; not every employer would give visually impaired an opportunity to earn a decent salary that permits them to own a smartphone and a PC.


The case of “Netra Sarathy” is particularly interesting.


3      IBPS (Institute of Banking Personnel Selection) recruits entry-level staff for banks; they partnered with NAB to replace “scribes” (human assistants who help visually impaired during examinations); by re-purposing examination content and using standard software, IBPS enabled visually impaired to take the Bank Clerk Grade examination with no “scribe” suddenly freeing both the candidate and IBPS the trouble of finding a “scribe”! With 8,800 applicants from the visually impaired in one examination alone, one can gauge the impact of such initiatives.


At the higher end,


4      Retina India is working on an ambitious project of making an affordable “bionic eye”. It will be several years before it becomes a reality, but the goal of “making blind see”, is indeed a worthy pursuit! Image processing plays a key role in the creation of bionic eye.


Doesn’t IT help?

(Appeared in Education Times of Times of India, March 18, 2013)




Emerging applications for the connected enterprise

January 13, 2012

One key trend I anticipate in the next couple of years is the widespread use of “analytics

There was a time when users collected data for 75% of the time and did analysis 25% of the time. Today, with so much data available, data need not be collected; it is there! It is waiting to be analyzed

But analytics must be “everyday analytics”; users must have time to look at the results of analytics, seek results and not be busy with “archiving” data all the time! Often I get a response from CIO’s that we “faithfully archive data”; as the old saying goes “a car is safe in the garage, but it is not made to be kept in the garage alone”. Similarly, while archiving data is important, analyzing data is far more important!

For example, Airtel provides analytics for EVERY Postpaid users; not many use it though. Please log into your account and look at the “everyday analytics” that can be very insightful! Evert industry – BFSI, Manufacturing, Services, Education & Healthcare should start demanding “everyday analytics”


(Part of my talk in HP Network University 2012 at IIITB on Jan 13, 2012)

Trends in Enterprise Applications

January 12, 2012

The three dominant trends I see in Enterprise Applications include


1 Commoditization – Earlier it was merely commoditization of the processor (Intel x86)  and OS (MS Windows). Now even applications are getting commoditized; storage too is getting commoditized. In CES 2012 some one showcased 1 terabyte Pen drive! Infrastructure (Cloud) will get commoditized too

2 Consumerization – The widespread use of iPad is an interesting trend. The enterprise users too are consumers and they would want “cool” applications the way the end users want. In my opinion 20-25% of enterprise applications will be delivered thru Apps. It has deep implications for the software industry. Enterprises will start running “enterprise App stores” that will deliver these Apps

3 Cloudification – More and more applications will be “routinely” moved to the cloud. I am not limiting to public cloud; it could be private cloud or hybrid could too.

All these have implications for the two leaders in IT, namely, IBM & HP. In part each one of these trends will benefit HP!


(Remarks made as part of the Keynote Address at HP Network University 2012 at IIITB on January 12, 2012)

That was IT in the Year 2011

January 1, 2012

IT in 2011



  • Union Budget 2011 ends the 17-year old tax holiday (Sec 10 A & 10 B) for software industry
  • Wikipedia celebrated 10th Anniversary on January 15, 2011
  • “App” is the top word of 2010 (announced on January 6, 2011 by American Dialect Society)
  • Bangalore Metro starts rolling on October 20, 2011
  • India wins World Cup on April 2, 2011
  • Smaller coins (less than 50 paise) become history on June 30, 2011
  • Anti corruption crusade led by Anna Hazare takes centre stage; former Telecom Minister Raja and sitting Member of the Parliament Kanimozhi are arrested: Telecom Minister Maran is forced to resign: Parliament passes Lokpal bill on December 27, 2011 but Anna Hazare unimpressed
  • Telengana issue paralyses life in Andhra Pradesh on and off in 2011
  • China replaces Japan as the world’s No 2 economy in 2011
  • S&P downgrades US sovereign rating from AAA to AA+ on August 5, 2011
  • Egypt, Yemen, Sudan erupt; South Sudan is born
  • Osama Bill Laden was killed on May 2, 2011; Libyan leader Gadaffi killed on October 9, 2011
  • Japan suffers earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear disaster on March 18, 2011




  • IBM researchers talk of “Graphene-based” computers that can be 30 times faster than silicon-based machines
  • UC Berkeley team led by Jeffrey Baker talks of “magnetic” computers in July 2011
  • Intel unveils 3D chips in May 2011 and solar powered chips in August 2011
  • IBM India showcases solar-powered data Center
  • Internet almost ran out of IPv4 addresses in 2011
  • India to shift to Digital TV by 2015




  • WWW turns 20 on August 4, 2011
  • IBM PC turned 30 on August 12, 2011
  • Apple launched
    • IPad 2 on March 2, 2011
    • new iMac on May 3, 2011
    • ICloud, iOS 5 and Mac OS 10 on June 6, 2011
    • iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011
    • Apple iPad arrives in India on Jan 27, 2011 (after 9 months); iPhone 4 on May 27, 2011 (after 7 months); iPhone 4S on November 25, 2011 (within 2 months of US Launch)
    • Nokia and Microsoft announce Windows Mobile powered mobile phones in February (after Nokia decides to phase out Symbian); Nokia made Windows Mobile-powered Lumia 800 and 710 phones reach the market in December
    • There was a flurry of Tablet launches
      • BlackBerry Tablet Playbook on April 19, 2011
      • Samsung 10″ Tablet on July 20, 2011;
      • Amazon Fire priced at $ 199 on September 28, 2011
      • India-made Tablets from HCL, Airtel, Reliance and the low cost (Rs 2,000) “Akash” on October 28, 2011
      • Google launches Music Beta in April, Google+ on July 6, 2011
      • HP announces Veer phone, TouchPad Tablet and scraps them later all within months!
      • TCS announces ON cloud-based offering for SME sector
      • Nokia launches dual SIM Phone 100 in India
      • Sabeer Bhatia launches “Jaxtr free SMS” on November 22, 2011




  • TCS is the most valued company on December 31, 2011; Coal India is the most valued company on August 17, 2011 going past Reliance & ONGC
  • British Petroleum and Reliance $ 7.2 billion deal got completed on August 30, 2011
  • Stock markets everywhere saw severe beating in 2011; Sensex tumbled to record low in 2 years.
  • Rupee touched 53 against USD in November 2011
  • IBM market capitalization goes past Microsoft on May 24, 2011
  • Apple with $ 337 billion goes past $ 331 billion market capitalization of Exxon on August 10,2011; Apple beats Google to become most valued brand on May 9, 2011 (BrandZ)
  • In M & A (Mergers & Acquisitions) in the Indian market include


  • Essar selling 33% stake to Vodafone for $ 5 billion on March 31, 2011
  • Synopsys buying “Magma Automation” for $ 507 million on December 1, 2011
  • Indian BPO major Genpact buying “Headstrong” for $500 million on April 6, 2011
  • Infosys acquiring Australian BPO on December 20, 2011
  • CSC acquires AppLabs on Sept 14,2011
  • iGate acquires Patni computers in January 2011
  • Pearson acquires TutorVista in January 2011




  • AT&T decides to buy “T-Mobile” for $ 39 billion in March 2011 but drops the plan in December 2011
  • Google acquires “Motorola Mobility” for $ 12.5 billion on August 14, 2011
  • HP acquires UK-based unstructured data company “Autonomy” for $11.5 billion August 18, 2011
  • Microsoft acquires “Skype” for $ 8.5 billion in 2011
  • Texas Instruments buys “National Semiconductors” for $ 6.5 billion on April 1, 2011
  • SAP buys ‘Success Factors” for $ 3.4 billion on Dec 4, 2011
  • Ericsson acquires Telcordia for $ 1.15 billion on June 14, 2011
  • Ericsson sells its part of Sony Ericsson to Sony for $ 1.15 billion




Indian IT companies


  • Tech-Mahindra joins the billion-dollar club in April 2011
  • TCS wins $ 2.2 billion (over 15 years) contract from UK-based Friends Life Insurance company in October 2011
  • Essar BPO Aegis gets $ 2 billion contract (over 8 years) from Saudi Telecom
  • Cades gets $ 300 million order from Airbus in April 2011
  • SoftBank to invest $ 200million in mobile Ad company “inMobi” (started by youngsters from IIT Kanpur)
  • Airtel has 50 million customers in Africa by December 2011


MNC companies in India


  • IBM celebrates its centenary on June 16, 2011; decides to offer 1,000 ESOPs to all it’s Indian employees; starts operations in Doon, Gandhinagar & Raipur taking its presence in India to 18 cities
  • The largest computer firm HP goes thru a turmoil; CEO Apotheker visits India in January 2011; announces scrapping TouchPad tablet and quitting PC business in August; gets fired; the new CEO Whitman reverses the decision to quit PC business in October
  • Accenture has 70,000 of its 2,15,000 global employees in India
  • Microsoft opens second development facility in Bangalore in December 2011
  • Honeywell starts Hyderabad operations in January 2011
  • Samsung expects $ 5 billion from India operations in 2011; Dell expects $ 2 billion
  • Nokia plant in Chennai crossed 500 million handset production; Samsung triples handset production out of India
  • GE talks of Rs 1,000 crores investment in India
  • Daimler to double investment in India
  • Nokia Siemens expands delivery Center in Chennai with increased head count from 120 to 1,000
  • Carl Zeiss opens R & D Center in Bangalore
  • Toshiba invests Rs 450 crores in India
  • SanDisk ramps up India operations in 2011
  • Huawei plans $150 million expansion of its India operations
  • 3 M invests Rs 100 crores in Bangalore R & D Center
  • Zynga increased R & D head count in India
  • Hitachi opened its R & D centre in Bangalore on October 13, 2011
  • LinkedIn opened its R & D facility in Bangalore on November 16, 2011





  • Indian companies permitted to use video conferencing for AGM
  • EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Office) goes online in July 2011
  • Karnataka voter ID process goes online on October 1, 2011; Chief Minister office is open for video viewing on November 30, 2011
  • Mobile banking and mobile trading started in India in 2011; Reserve Bank eases cap on mobile transactions beyond Rs 50,000 in December 2011
  • State Bank starts “Unhappy” SMS message to address customer complaints
  • Amazon allows Kindle readers to borrow eBooks from 11,000 public libraries


Education & Research


  • IIIT Bangalore and IIT Bombay bring WWW Conference to India for the first time in 20 years; held in Hyderabad during March 28 – April 1, 2011
  • Infosys Science Prizeswere announced November 16, 2011; the winners are
    • Prof. Kalyanmoy Deb of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur – Engineering Sciences
    • Dr. Imran Siddiqi of CCMB, Hyderabad – Life Sciences
    • Prof. Kannan Soundararajan of Stanford University, USA – Mathematical Sciences
    • Prof. Sriram Ramaswamy of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – Physical Sciences
    • Prof. Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago, USA – Social Sciences (Economics)
    • Dr. Pratap Bhanu Mehta of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi – Social Sciences (Political Science & International Relations)
    • Nobel prizesfor the year 2011 announced in October 2011; the winners are
      • Saul Perlmutter of Univ. Of California, Berkeley, USA, Brian Schmidt of Australian National University and Adam Reiss of Johns Hopkins University, USA  – Physics
      • Dan Shectman of Technion, Israel  – Chemistry
      • Bruce Beautler of Univ. of Texas, USA, Jules Hoffman of French National Academy of Sciences and Ralph Steinman of Rockefeller University (who unfortunately died before the announcement could reach him) – Medicine
      • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf & Leymah Gbowee both residents of Liberia and Tawakkal Karman of Yemen in Africa – Peace
      • Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer – Literature
      • Thomas Sargent of New York University, USA and Christopher Sims of Princeton University, USA – Economics
      • CSIR announced Bhatnagar prize winners on September 26, 2011; the winners are
        • Amit Sharma of ICGEB, New Delhi and Rajan Sankaranarayanan of CCMB, Hyderabad  – Biological Sciences
        • Balasubramanian Sundaram ofJNCAR, Bangalore and G N Sastry of IICT, Hyderabad  – Chemical Sciences
        • Shanker Doraiswamy of NIO, Goa  – Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean & Planetary Sciences
        • Sirshendu De of IIT Kharagpur and Upadrasta Ramamurthy of IISc, Bangalore  – Engineering Sciences
        • Mahan Maharaj of RMV University, Kolkata and Palash Sarkar of ISI, Kolkata – Mathematical Sciences
        • K N Balaji of IISc Bangalore  – Medical Sciences
        • Shiraz Minwalla of TIFR, Mumbai  – Physical Sciences




  • Infosys Founder Chairman N R Narayana Murthy makes way for K V Kamath as the new Chairman on turning 65 on August 20, 2011
  • Srinivasa Ramanujan’s 125th Birthday celebrated on December 22, 2011 with the Prime Minister declaring December 22 as “Mathematics Day” and the year 2012 as the “Year of Mathematics”
  • Steve Jobs is the Man of the Year 2011
  • IBM names Virginia Rometty as CEO effective January 1, 2012
  • Former US President Bush, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, German Chancellor, New Zealand PM, Slovenian PM, Vietnamese President, Afghan President visit India in 2011
  • India-born Nobel Laureate Venky Ramakrishnan, Apple Founder Steve Wozniak, Investor Warren Buffet, HP CEO Leo Apotheker, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Cisco CEO John Chambers and CEO’s
  • Apple founder Steve Jobs, Bharat Ratna award winner Bhimsen Joshi, CD pioneer of Sony Ohga , c language inventor Dennis Ritchie, Artificial Intelligence pioneer John McCarthy, India-born Nobel Laureate Har Gobind Khorana died in 2011


Interesting numbers


  • Indian IT industry expected to hire 225,000 people in 2011
  • SBI launched 25,000th ATM on March 31, 2011
  • India’s total telephone subscribers stood at 914.6 million (881.4 million mobile subscribers) as of October 31, 2011
  • Indian mobile handsets sales stood at 213 million in 2011 (231 million in 2012 projected)
  • Indian Internet population touches 101 million in December 2011
  • Rupee stood at 51.79 on Nov 30, 2011
  • Forex at $ 307 billion on Dec 2, 2011
  • Mobile game “Angry Birds” saw 500 million downloads in 2011
  • Apple iPhone 4S sold 4 million over the weekend of launch
  • Facebook had 750 million subscribers on July 6, 2011
  • Every week 100 movies, 250 books and 15,000 Mobile Apps get released! (543 each day for Android and 745 for iOS)
  • Percentage of Poor in India dropped from 37% to 32% over 2005 to 2011
  • World population touched 7 billion on October 31, 2011 (6 billion in 1999, 5 billion in 1987, 4 billion in 1974, 3 billion in 1959, 2 billion in 1927 and 1 billion in 1805)


Professor Sowmyanarayanan Sadagopan is the Director of IIIT-Bangalore. These are his personal views. He can be reached at