A new MTech AI Lab

A new MTech AI Lab was inaugurated by Manoj Raghavan (CEO and MD) and Atul Kulkarni (CTO), Tata Elxsi on 10 November 2022 in the Department of Electrical Communication Engineering (ECE). Delegates from Tata Elxsi who were instrumental in enabling this AI lab, Arunava Mukhopadhyay (Head, CSR), Sandeep Chavan (Associate Manager, CSR), Biswajit Biswas (Chief Data Scientist, AI), and Tallapalli Ravi Kiran (Principal Product Manager), were also present. The lab will provide graphics processing unit (GPU) compute facilities for research and training in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). It is equipped with six servers with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 3090 and Tesla V100 GPUS, and 53 workstations with NVIDIA RTX A4000 GPUs.

“This partnership is very important and critical for us, especially around the AI activities that IISc is currently doing. The world is changing so rapidly and there are a lot of challenges to be solved regarding each of the customers we interact with and each of the verticals we operate in. There are traditional approaches to solving these challenges, and there are AI and related approaches that we can take to solve some of the challenges. Internally, we have created a group which focusses on next generation business, and AI is a key part of that. I really hope we will be able to address some real industry challenges by collaboration with IISc”, said Manoj Raghavan. In response, Yadati Narahari (Professor, Department of Computer Science and Automation (CSA)) said, “What we can assure Tata Elxsi is that the products of this programme, the students who graduate out of this programme, are going to be extremely rigorously trained in AI; they are going to be the leaders in AI”.

Artificial intelligence (AI) labs have been set up in all the four departments under the Division of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Sciences (EECS), namely the Departments of Electronic Systems Engineering (ESE), Electrical Engineering (EE), ECE, and CSA with corporate social responsibility (CSR) grants from Timken, GroupM, Tata Elxsi, and SBI Card respectively. In addition, Mindtree has also provided a generous contribution to add to the facilities in all the four computational labs.

The GroupM AI Lab was inaugurated on 13 October 2021 by M A Parthasarathy (Chief Strategy Officer, GroupM, South Asia), while the Timken AI Lab was inaugurated on 28 April 2022 by Sanjay Singh (General Manager – Human Resource India, Timken). The SBI Card AI lab is to be inaugurated soon in the Department of CSA. All the four labs are fully operational.

The labs have been planned to provide our students with cutting-edge computing facilities for their research on artificial intelligence, says Rajesh Sundaresan (Dean, Division of EECS). He explains that AI system optimisation is often associated with significant amounts of data, and computing on that data. Cloud computing resources are often useful for this. But during the exploration phase, where the correct direction for deeper learning is to be identified, there is quite a bit of interaction between the system designer and the computed outcome. The labs enable efficiency in this exploration phase. Faster exploration, better optimised subsystems, and ultimately, better outcomes from the final products are expected.

The labs are open to all EECS students at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), especially students of the MTech (AI) programme, which is the first Division-wide programme offered by IISc. It is also the first MTech AI programme in the country.

“Computing pervades all the technological tools we use today – machine translation of languages, word and sentence completions in messaging, recommendation systems in e-commerce applications and social networks, personalised news, personalised education and training, securing financial transactions through automated anomaly detection, AI in medicine, drug discovery, protein folding, to name only a few. The labs will enable us to improve the AI subsystems in such applications and also explore new ones”, says Rajesh Sundaresan.



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