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Indian Institute Launches Online Course In Modern Machine Learning

The iHub-Data at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-Hyderabad) recently launched a 50-week foundational course (online) in machine learning for engineering students. Third- and fourth-year students of computer science/information technology, electronics engineering, electrical engineering, or allied branches from any technical institution in India are eligible.

According to a news report, students need to be nominated by their respective colleges. The selected candidates will undergo a preparatory module. The course includes online modules with personalised learning experiences and focuses on foundation and practices, and discussions with eminent researchers from academia and industry. The course combines the benefit of the in-class programme with the flexibility of online learning. Students can learn at their pace with the recorded classes and the regular live interactions with faculty and mentors will help them clarify doubts and queries. Core instructors of the course include IIIT-Hyderabad faculty.

The students who successfully complete the course will receive cash awards INR 25,000 (US$334) to the top 5%; INR₹15,000 (US$200) to the next 20%; INR₹10,000 (US$133) to the next 25% and INR₹8,000 (US$107) to the rest. Speaking about the programme, IIT-Hyderabad faculty member, Professor C V Jawahar, Dean R&D noted that since IIIT-Hyderabad has the largest AI/ML academic lab in the country, the institute has started this course to enable students from other colleges to gain from its expertise and “set them on their career paths should they choose to specialise in machine learning in the future”.

IIT-Hyderabad researchers recently have developed an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered COVID-19 testing kit, COVIHOME, that can produce results in 30 minutes for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. COVIHOME is the country’s first rapid electronic COVID-19 RNA test kit. It was developed by a team from the Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT-Hyderabad. The technology is validated by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (ICMR-CCMB), Hyderabad, and is ready for technology transfer, a news report has informed.

The major benefit of this testing kit is that it does not require RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), an expert human resource, and a BSL 2 lab facility for the extraction of RNA. It has the potential for one to take the test at home without expert supervision, a release from IIT Hyderabad explained. Following the ICMR protocols, the CSIR-CCMB performed the validation of the rapid RNA electronic diagnostic device for the detection of the SARS-Cov-2 virus in the swab samples independently. The in-house samples and hospital samples were confirmed for their positivity or negativity by the RT-PCR method. The validation report confirmed the kit’s efficiency of 94.2%, sensitivity 91.3%, and specificity 98.2%.

The Director of IIT-Hyderabad noted that the institute has come up with many unique and novel socio-technological initiatives and delivered remarkable results during this pandemic. Currently, each test costs around IN₹400 (US$5). However, the cost can be reduced further to IN₹300 (US$4) per test through mass production of the testing kit. The initial clinical trials and testing of the device were performed at ESIC Medical College and Hospital in Hyderabad.

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