Mumbai: Mphasis, an Information Technology solutions provider specialising in cloud and cognitive services, is coming together with Ashoka University to set up a laboratory for machine learning and computational thinking, through a grant of INR 10 crore that Mphasis F1 Foundation, the CSR arm of the company. The Mphasis Laboratory for Machine Learning and Computational Thinking will apply ML and design thinking to produce world-class papers and compelling proof-of-concepts of systems/prototypes with a potential for large societal impact.
The laboratory will be the setting for cutting edge research and a novel educational initiative that is focused on bringing thoroughly researched, pedagogy-based learning modules to Indian students. Through this laboratory, Mphasis and Ashoka University will work to translate research activity into educational modules focusing on the construction of entire systems that allow students to understand and experientially recreate the project. This approach to education is aimed creating a more engaging and widely accessible mode of learning.
“Mphasis believes that in order to fully embrace the digital learning paradigm, one needs to champion for accessibility and invest in quality education in mainstream academic spaces. Through this partnership, we hope to encourage students across disciplines and socio-economic backgrounds to learn and flourish. As Ashoka University also has a strong focus on diverse liberal arts disciplines, we hope to find avenues to expand some of Mphasis efforts towards Design (CX Design and Design Thinking) through this collaboration and eventually tap into the talent pool from Ashoka,” said Nitin Rakesh, Chief Executive Officer, Mphasis.
Being ready to welcome students into the world of virtual learning is not enough – Mphasis and Ashoka seek to enable an innovative pedagogy based on a problem-solving approach to learning about AI, ML, Design Thinking and System Design. Through this grant, Mphasis and Ashoka will establish avenues for knowledge exchange in the areas of Core Machine Learning, Information Curation, Accessibility for persons with disabilities and Health & Medicine. They seek to encourage a hands-on learning approach in areas such as core machine learning and information curation, which form the foundation of solution-driven design. They also seek to address the accessibility barrier through public-domain placement of all intellectual property produced in the laboratory which will benefit millions of students across the country.
“We stand at the threshold of a discontinuity brought about by an increased ability to sense and produce enormous amounts of data and to create extremely large clusters driven by parallel runtimes. These developments have enabled ML and other data driven approaches to become the paradigm of choice for complex problem solving. There is now a considerable opportunity to improving life-at-large based on these capabilities,” said Prof. Ravi Kothari, HOD, Computer Science at Ashoka University.
“With that as our over-arching goal, we proposed the creation of a Laboratory for Machine Learning and Computational Thinking and found heartening support in Mphasis.” said Ashish Dhawan, Founder & Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ashoka University.
While universities world-over have taken great strides to bring quality education to digital platforms, higher educational institutions in India have begun to address questions surrounding accessibility in a post-COVID setting. The collaboration between Mphasis and Ashoka is pioneering in its effort to establish a centre of excellence for collaborative and human-centred design that aims to fuel data-driven solutions for real-life challenges and address key areas of reform at the larger community level.