IIT Guwahati to setup Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
Guwahati: Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mehta Family Foundation (MFF), USA, today, on 28th April 2021, to set up the Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at IIT Guwahati with the objective to promote Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) courses at an undergraduate and postgraduate level. The first batch of B. Tech students for this school will be admitted through JEE in the academic year 2021- 22.
The MoU was signed virtually by Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, and Mr. Rahul Mehta, Chief Executive Officer, Mehta Family Foundation, USA, in the presence of a galaxy of luminaries and Dr Rajiv I. Modi, Chairman Board of Governors, IIT Guwahati, and Prof. Krishnaswamy Vijayraghavan, FRS, Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, as the chief guests and Prof. Sandeep Verma, Secretary, SERB as the special guest.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. T. G. Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati, said, “IIT Guwahati has always endeavoured to play a leadership role by diversifying the flavour of its academic programs. Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence is another important initiative at IIT Guwahati that will bridge the gap of highly skilled personnel that exists in these emerging fields. I take this opportunity to thank Mehta Family Foundation for its enormous support in establishing this school which will offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programs, B. Tech in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence from this academic year and we expect that the school will be able to attract the best talents in the country to join this program.”
Highlighting the collaboration between IIT Guwahati and the Mehta Family Foundation, Mr. Rahul Mehta, Chief Executive said, “The explosion of data across all fields of knowledge continues unabated. Just like computer science changed the world, data science and artificial intelligence are posed to do the same. These fields will shape the methods used in education and research across the spectrum of human knowledge. Global interdisciplinary collaborations as envisioned in this new school will lift our understanding of society and nature. Bringing together global talents such as Professor Shankar Subramaniam, Professor Rajesh Gupta (both Univ. of California, San Diego), and Professor Ananth Grama (Purdue Univ.) can accelerate the expansion in these fields. IIT Guwahati has the vision of the new talent India needs. Together we will build the framework for the future.”
Through this MoU, MFF will provide support for the development of the school’s infrastructure and programs at IIT Guwahati campus. The school will offer programs for visiting students and faculty between the school and US institutions. The school will host conferences and establish chairs attracting world-class talent. Finally, the school has access to strategic advisors. These are distinguished professors from top US universities providing time and expertise for academic and research activities in this new school. This is the most unique aspect of this school and is a first in India.
While addressing the gathering, Prof. K. Vijayraghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor, Govt. of India, mentioned, “I am delighted to know that Mehta foundation has supported setting up of this Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at IIT Guwahati while working cooperatively through his time of pandemic. With the available expertise, I believe, IIT Guwahati will take up this school as a foundation to set-up data collection sites in the eastern region of the country for various sectors such as healthcare, climate, transportation, security and other areas and convert the huge data into effective knowledge and understanding to serve the society in a better way.”
Sharing his vision at the event, Prof. R. Bhattacharjee, Head, Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, IIT Guwahati mentioned “This new School will be an abode of academic excellence imparting state-of-the-art teaching, supported by research and technology development in frontier areas of data science and artificial intelligence. The curriculum has been developed to provide a strong theoretical foundation as well as emphasis on different interdisciplinary application areas. One of the objectives of the school is also to take up targeted multi-year interdisciplinary research projects and solve the problems which benefits society at large, a deep rooted vision of IIT Guwahati. The close association and support from Mehta Family Foundation has added an international flavor to this school from its very inception.”
All other dignitaries including, Prof. Sandeep Verma, Secretary of Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), India; Prof. Shankar Subramaniam and Prof. Rajesh Gupta, University of California, San Diego, USA; Prof. Ananth Grama, University of Purdue, Indiana; Prof. Sashindra Kakoty, Deputy Director, IIT Guwahati; Prof. Chitralekha Mahanta, Dean of Academic Affairs, IIT Guwahati; Prof. T. Punniyamurthy, Dean of Faculty Affairs, IIT Guwahati; Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Dean PRBR, IIT Guwahati, and Prof. Ratnajit Bhattacharjee, Head, School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, IIT Guwahati, also graced the event with their virtual presence and expressed their enthusiasm and appreciation of the broad activities of this school in their brief statements.