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IIT Roorkee establishes Mehta Family School of data science and artificial intelligence

Our Bureau, Mumbai
Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 15:10 Hrs  [IST]

With a vision to cater to the growing global demand for data analytics and artificial intelligence experts, the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee is collaborating with the Mehta Family Foundation (MFF), USA, to establish the Mehta Family School of data science and artificial intelligence.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organizations was signed between Professor Ajit K. Chaturvedi, director, IIT Roorkee, and Mr. Rahul Mehta, chief executive officer, Mehta Family Foundation, USA, in the esteemed presence of Professor K VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor, Government of India, Prof Sandeep Verma, secretary, Science and Engineering Research Board. Government of India, and Dr B V R Mohan Reddy, chairman of the Board of Governors, IIT Roorkee, during a virtual event on 27th September, 2021.

The other signatories for this collaboration included Prof Manoranjan Parida, deputy director; Professor Manish Shrikhande, Dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy; Prof Narayana Prasad Padhy, Electrical Engineering, IIT Roorkee, and Prof Ananth Grama, Purdue University, Indiana; Prof Shankar Subramaniam and Prof Rajesh K Gupta from the University of California San Diego, and Bernie Luksich, executive director. MFF, USA.

Expressing his views on this international academic collaboration to address the need of data science and artificial intelligence experts, Prof K VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor, Government of India, said, "Artificial Intelligence research and training is key to our future. AI technologies are critical for India and will have a significant social and economic impact in the coming years. This international academic collaboration between IIT Roorkee and MFF is a commendable effort to ensure that India continues on its innovation trajectory.

Under this collaboration, the new School will offer Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctoral Degree programnes. The School will welcome its first cohort of Bachelor's degree students in September 2022. The objective of this School is to develop new and skilled manpower in the areas of data science and artificial intelligence along with an aim to empower existing manpower by offering focused trainings and certifications in these fields.

Speaking during the event, Professor. Sandeep Verma, Secretary, Science and Engineering Research Board, Government of India, said, "I am sure this collaboration between IIT Roorkee and Mehta Family Foundation will provide a strong theoretical as well as a practical foundation to the students. IIT Roorkee is pioneering in the field of AI and data science and this MoU with Mehta Family Foundation will provide an additional boost in creating resource centres for knowledge and information."

Addressing the audience, Professor A K Chaturvedi, director IIT Roorkee, said, "Today is a landmark day in the journey of IIT Roorkee. We are setting up the first School of the Institute. This would not have been possible without the generous support from Mehta Family Foundation. I would specially like to thank Rahul Mehta for his keen interest and time over the last six months without which we would not have reached this day. A large number of faculty of the Institute have contributed in conceiving this School. I am sure they will nurture the growth of the Mehta Family School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at IIT Roorkee.

The School will be housed in a new dedicated building at the IIT Roorkee campus developed with the support provided by MFF. In addition to the infrastructure, renowned experts in the field of AI including Prof. Ananth Grama, Prof Shankar Subramanium, and Prof Rajesh Gupta, will actively participate in designing the curriculum, faculty recruitment, monitoring and suggesting new research ideas to the Indian students of this school. These experts will also facilitate MFF’s student scholarships and faculty exchange programmes to make this initiative a success.

While addressing the participants, Rahul Mehta, chief executive officer, Mehta Family Foundation, USA, said, “AI-driven technologies are rapidly transforming our world. Academic collaborations like this one between International faculty and IIT Roorkee will produce individuals poised to address such ongoing global challenges as climate change, resource sustainability, and security.”

“We chose IIT Roorkee because of its rich history of academic excellence and its location. I want to thank Professor Ajit Chaturvedi and everyone at IIT Roorkee and International experts Dr Shankar Subramaniam, Dr Rajesh Gupta, and Dr Ananth Grama for their effort to create the school of data science and AI”, added Mehta.

"Dr Ananth Grama, Alumnus, IIT Roorkee, and Samuel D Conte Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University, Indiana, said, “I graduated from IIT Roorkee (then, University of Roorkee) in 1989. We are a proud family of Thomasonians -- my brother, Dr Chethan Grama, also graduated from IIT Roorkee in 1986, and my father, Dr G N Yoganarasimhan, served on the faculty for many years. It gives me immense pleasure to see the establishment of the Mehta Family Foundation School of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at my alma mater."


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