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May 20, 2009
School of Engineering, Amritapuri
In August 2009, thirteen B.Tech students from Amrita will go to China. Accompanied by their teacher and mentor, Br. Rajesh, they will present papers (see paper details) at the 2009 International Conference on Computer Science and Information Technology at the University of Technology and Business in Beijing. This annual conference attracts some of the world’s most prominent CS and IT Ph.D.s and professionals.
“It will be an august experience for the students,” said Br. Rajesh. “Apart from paper presentations, they will attend workshops by technology leaders. They will meet renowned professors and may find opportunities for higher studies abroad.”
2850 papers were submitted for the conference, of which only 850 were selected. Four of the five papers submitted by Amrita students were among those 850, chosen over papers submitted by Ph.D.s and others with advanced qualifications. The focus of research was power consumption in computer components. “If we can come up with ways to reduce the consumption of power, then greenhouse gas emission will decrease and cost also will come down,” said student Arun Kumar. “In this way, we can have an impact on the world.”
The research and paper-writing process took an intense four months. The students worked hard to understand the theory. Then they took their theoretical work to the laboratory for validation, spending three or four hours there every night. For many of the students, it was their first independent experience in a lab. When they struggled, Br. Rajesh was there to help. When asked what they had learned from this experience, student Iype Joseph answered, “Never give up.” Nived Krishan added, “If you try, you can even cross the Himalayas and reach China.”
One team’s initial lab results showed increasing power consumption, contrary to expectations from theoretical calculations. The students felt discouraged and ready to give up. But Br. Rajesh patiently guided them to improve their validation methods. The new test results confirmed the theoretical reduction.
Describing how they felt when they learned the news, the students said they were “bowled over.” Third-year students Iype Joseph, Deepu, Nived Krishnan, Shekhil Hassan, Tanmay Rao, Arun Kumar, Ashwin Mohan, Vivek P. and Arjun Ashok, will be in China, along with Br. Rajesh, to present the papers.
Accompanying them, will also be fourth-year students Deepthi Luke, Gayathri Gopakumar, Aparna Raja and Vandan Vikram who will present their paper, Effects of Substrate Coupling in Mixed Signal ICs, which was also presented at a conference in Malaysia in November 2008.
Amrita University is committed to value-based, holistic education, not just to producing technically outstanding graduates. Its students, from the Ph.D.s to the B.Techs, are encouraged to do original research. In the long run, what these students have gained, far exceeds the quality of their research, the papers they have written and the number of kilometers they will travel.
In answer to the question, “What will you most remember from this experience?,” the students’ attention turned to Br. Rajesh, to his seva. “He helped us a lot — all the credit goes to him.”
Br. Rajesh countered that it was the students who were exceptional. “They are really motivated; I simply provided support.”
Br. Rajesh spoke of the difficulties he had when he first began teaching. Coming from years in industry in the US, he struggled with the hierarchy, the distance he felt between the students and himself. He asked Chancellor Amma how to teach. She answered only, “Teach with a smile.” One day, he “got” it. Respect the students, instead of ordering them around. Be their teacher and their friend. Teaching became effortless. The results speak for themselves.
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