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Indian-American Soorajnath Boominathan part of US chemistry Olympiad team

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New York:  Indian-origin Soorajnath Boominathan is part of a four-member team that will represent the US in the annual 47th International Chemistry Olympiad to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from July 20 to 29.

A resident of Oklahoma state, Boominathan has recently earned his graduation from Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.

“I think representing my country is the most amazing part of this whole experience. It is hard to put into words what this means,” the 16-year-old was quoted as saying in an India West report.

Boominathan, who has lived in Oklahoma for the past 10 years, will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall.

The chemistry competition consists of two exams that can last as long as five hours each and need to be attended on separate days.

Subjects include organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry.

Boominathan is studying as much as eight hours a day for the competition.

According to his mentor Fazlur Rahman, chemistry professor at Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics, Boominathan is one of the top chemistry students in the nation.

“Sooraj has much to celebrate. I think he has all the elements and ingredients to be a great scientist,” Rahman was quoted as saying. (IANS)

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India’s Best-performing IITs still far behind in research performance of 2 top World Universities: Study

The researchers discovered a "substantial difference" in research performance levels of old IITs vis-a-vis the "new IITs."

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IIT Kharagpur, Wikimedia

Kolkata, March 31, 2017: India’s best-performing IITs, including IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Bombay, are far behind in research performance of the two top ranking world universities, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT-USA) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore), a computational analysis has revealed.

The study has highlighted that for IITs to be placed high among the world institutions, “a lot of effort and support” is required.

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“Of these two, NTU established in 1991 is younger than the five older IITs, which shows that the age of an institution alone does not necessarily matter for higher performance. If a new institution like NTU can achieve research performance levels to be included among top ranking world institutions, then why not some of the Indian IITs,” asked the study’s lead author, Vivek Kumar Singh, Department of Computer Science of the Banaras Hindu University.

The observations were based on a computational analysis of research performance of 16 “relatively older” Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the country. There are a total of 23 IITs in India at present.

The study was carried out by parsing through research publication data indexed in Web of Science. The data was examined to identify productivity, productivity per capita, rate of growth of research output, authorship and collaboration pattern, citation impact and discipline-wise research strengths of the different IITs.

The IITs, despite being the most prestigious institutions in India, do not rank high in top universities list of the world, the study notes.

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“Further, IITs are yet to match the research performance of the IISc (the Indian Institute of Science, which is an indigenously created institution unlike many older IITs established under foreign mentorship. The comparison indicates that IITs have a long way to go if they have to become comparable to the best institutions in the world in terms of research performance,” Singh said.

The first Indian Institute of Technology was established in 1951 at Kharagpur, followed by IIT Bombay (1958), IIT Madras (1959), IIT Kanpur (1959) and IIT Delhi (1961) – all through foreign collaboratiom. In 1961, the Institutes of Technology act was passed by Parliament which declared these institutions as institutes of national importance.

Almost three decades later, IIT Guwahati was established in 1994. This was followed by converting Roorkee University to IIT Roorkee in 2001.

During 2008-2012, nine more IITs were established at Bhubaneswar, Gandhinagar, Hyderabad, Jodhpur, Patna, Ropar, Indore, Mandi and Varanasi).

And most recently, seven new IITs (at Palakkad, Tirupati, Dhanbad, Bhilai, Goa, Jammu and Dharwad) are proposed/established during 2015-16.

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As IITs are of different age, institutes were grouped into three different sets: old IITs (7 IITs which are at least 15 years old), new IITs (9 new IITs established during 2008-2012) and recent IITs (7 IITS established during 2015-16).

The analysis excludes the seven recent ones as they have come into existence within the last five years.

The researchers discovered a “substantial difference” in research performance levels of old IITs vis-a-vis the “new IITs.”

“This can be explained by the fact that new IITs are quite young for a research performance comparison with old IITs. Some new IITs, particularly the IITI (IIT-Indore) show promising research performance,” Singh said.

The other important conclusion is that majority of the research output from IITs is in physics, chemistry and mathematics disciplines while research in engineering disciplines lags behind substantially.

“IITs being primarily engineering and technology institutions, should produce more research work in core engineering disciplines,” Singh said.

The findings are published in March in Current Science. Sumit Kumar Banshal and Pranab Kumar Muhuri in Department of Computer Science, South Asian University, New Delhi and Aparna Basu, formerly at CSIR-NISTADS, collaborated on the study. (IANS)

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Nobel Economics Prize Awarded to Harvard Professor, MIT Educator

Last week, the committee also announced the Nobel prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry and the peace prize

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Harvard University professor Oliver Hart reads congratulatory emails after winning the 2016 Nobel Prize for Economics at his home in Lexington, Massachusetts, Oct. 10, 2016.(VOA)
  • The new theoretical tools created by Hart and Holmstrom are valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design
  • The announcement Monday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work in contract theory is “valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design
  • The two will split the $924,000 prize. The laureates are set to officially receive the award on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896

October 12, 2016: Oliver Hart of Harvard University and Bengt Holmstrom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

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The announcement Monday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work in contract theory is “valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design.”

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“This year’s laureates have developed contract theory, a comprehensive framework for analyzing many diverse issues in contractual design, like performance-based pay for top executives, deductibles and co-pays in insurance, and the privatization of public-sector activities,” the jury said.

Finnish Professor Bengt Holmstrom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology smiles as he departs a news conference after speaking to members of the media, Oct. 10, 2016, on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, Mass.(VOA)
Finnish Professor Bengt Holmstrom of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology smiles as he departs a news conference after speaking to members of the media, Oct. 10, 2016, on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, Mass.(VOA)

The committee added that they analytical work establishes an “intellectual foundation” to grasp every day contracts in areas like bankruptcy legislation to political constitutions.

“The new theoretical tools created by Hart and Holmstrom are valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design,” it said.

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The two will split the $924,000 prize. The laureates are set to officially receive the award on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.

Last week, the committee also announced the Nobel prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry and the peace prize.

The final prize, for literature, will be announced Thursday.(VOA)

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Indian-born MIT researcher Dinesh Bharadia wins US award for his contribution to Radio Waves

Bharadia will receive the award at a ceremony in Mountain View, California, on November 2

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wikimedia

Bengaluru, Sept 14, 2016: Indian-born researcher Dinesh Bharadia at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has won the prestigious Young Scholar award of the US-based Marconi Society for his contribution to radio waves.

“Bharadia has been chosen for the 2016 Paul Baran Young Scholar Award for his contribution to send and receive radio (wireless) signals, including mobile telephony and data on the same channel (wave),” the Society said in a statement on Wednesday.

A doctorate from Stanford University and an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Bharadia, 28, hails from Ichalkarnji in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra.

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“Bharadia’s research disproved a long-held assumption that it is not possible for a radio to receive and transmit on the same frequency band because of the interference that results,” the statement said.

Named after Nobel laureate Guglielmo Marconi, who invented radio, and set up by his daughter Gioia Marconi Braga through an endowment in 1974, the Marconi Society awards annually outstanding individuals whose scope of work and influence emulate the principle of ‘creativity in service to humanity’ that inspired Marconi.

An equivalent of the Nobel Prize in science and technology domain, the Marconi young scholar award includes $4,000 (Rs 2,67,870) prize and expenses to attend its annual awards event.

Bharadia will receive the award at a ceremony in Mountain View, California, on November 2.

Bharadia’s duplex radio technology has the potential for multiple applications such as building novel wireless imaging that can enable driverless cars move in severe weather conditions and help blind people to navigate indoors.

“Marconi invented the radio but couldn’t solve the problem of duplexing. It’s fitting that this work is recognised by the Society,” said Bharadia in the statement.

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Bharadia’s work, which has direct connection to Marconi, culminated in making full-duplex radios a reality through self-interference cancellation technology.

Bharadia’s technology can be used in India to build relays which can listen to signals from a cellular tower, transmit them instantly and extend the range across the country.

“This (technology) is needed as we have only a few towers; by deploying simple relay, we don’t need to put in huge infrastructure for the cellular towers,” noted Bharadia.

The analogue cancellation filter Bharadia developed has unleashed huge potential for more applications. Its architecture allows cancellation in all environments.

“India has much denser users for cellular data connectivity and a few cellular towers. In other words, if I can talk and listen at the same time in context of wireless radio, then one can double the data we can service,” noted Bharadia.

According to his Stanford PhD guide Sachin Katti, Bharadia’s work enables a host of new applications, from low-power Internet of Things connectivity to motion tracking.

Academic advisors nominate young scholars and an international panel comprising engineers from universities and companies select the winners for the honour. Three other young scholars were selected this year.

The Society also honours distinguished scientists with the $100,000 Marconi Award and Fellowship for emulating the principle of creativity in service to humanity.

The two-decade-old organisation promotes awareness of key technologies and policy issues in telecom and internet domains. (IANS)