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Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur to set up AI research centre

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IIT-Kanpur) is considering setting up an AI and IoT research centre.

The deputy director of IIT-Kanpur told reporters that the centre will be used specifically for conducting research and teaching concepts regarding AI, IoT, and other emerging technologies.

The deputy director, who is also a computer science and engineering professor at the institution, said the proposal is at the discussion stage and will materialise soon. IIT-Kanpur already offers a few courses in AI and related topics at the undergraduate level, which have become quite popular with the students. These streams are going to be fortified through the setting up of the AI research centre.

In 2018, IIT-K collaborated with a central cybersecurity agency to develop an indigenous blockchain architecture. The project was commissioned by the office of the National Cyber Security Coordinator to create a blockchain platform for e-governance applications.

IIT-Kanpur has also been working on state-of-the-art semiconductor devices, which could be used by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for indigenous space exploration. IIT-Kanpur is also working with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on similar tech projects.

The institution has developed an integrated circuit design simulation software, which was approved as a standard model by a global research and development group formed by the semiconductor industry to develop simulation programmes for integrated circuits.

The research has received an annual grant of US $70,000 for further research and development on semiconductors.

Earlier this year, India inaugurated its first Indigenous Semiconductor Chips event, hosted by a Bengaluru-based semiconductor company for 4G/LTE and 5G NR modems.

This, according to the Telecommunications secretary, marked India’s entry into “the elite club of the world”. It is expected to have huge implications for India’s data security and data sovereignty, apart from the positive economic implications.

Only eight companies and a few countries can design and build semiconductor chips. However, with the new chip series, India could see a whole new architecture of tower building mainly in the light of emission complaints and growing environmental concerns.

AI is an emerging focus area in India. The Indian government has defined a national policy on AI in a discussion paper, the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence #AIforAll.”

Released by the country’s policy commission, the paper identified five key areas where AI development could enable both growth and greater inclusion: healthcare, agriculture, education, urban-/smart-city infrastructure, and transportation and mobility.

It also covered five obstacles to AI growth: lack of research expertise, absence of enabling data ecosystems, high resource cost and low awareness for adoption, lack of regulations around privacy and security, and absence of a collaborative approach to adoption and applications.

The paper proposed a two-tiered framework for promoting AI research. This included the creation of Centres of Research Excellence in AI (COREs), which will be academic research hubs, and International Centres for Transformational Artificial Intelligence, which will be industry-led.

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