Top AI Initiatives By IITs In 2020

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Across the world, investing in AI innovations is on a steep rise. Artificial intelligence (AI) is indeed opening up the newer phases of technological advancements. Last year, riding the AI wave, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), across the country, came up with several AI initiatives — from rolling out courses to launching R&Ds centres and Center of Excellences in various parts of the country. Although we have just stepped in the year 2020, IITians have already started to make headlines with their newer innovations for the year.

In fact, Google has recently decided to start six artificial intelligence-based research projects in India by providing funds and computational resources, where two of the prominent IITs have agreed to participate — IIT Delhi and IIT Madras. Among the six projects, IIT Delhi decided to work on improving health information for HIV risked communities, and IIT Madras is planning to use AI to increase positive healthcare outcomes for pregnant mothers. 


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In this article, we will talk about top AI initiatives by the Indian Institute of Technology in 2020.

IIT Madras

IIT Madras has been one of the most active research hubs with regards to artificial intelligence. Along with several AI initiatives like FairKM, AISoft, and using artificial intelligence to convert brain signals to the English language; one of the recent developments by the IIT Madras is the AI-powered drone that has been designed to help armed forces and security agents to detect and hack into rogue drones. This new drone has been developed by a team of IITians comprising Vasu Gupta, a final year BTech student, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, and Rishabh Vashistha, a Project Associate working in RAFT Lab, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras. 

The innovation is aimed towards enhancing the work process of law enforcement agencies, security services and armed forces as it will allow them to secure the air space over critical civilian and military installations from surveillance by rogue drones. It works on a visual-based tracking system, which uses deep neural networks and employs a software-defined radio and broadcasting spoofed GPS signals by making use of the ephemeris data of GNSS constellation to secure airspaces and land stretches. This AI-powered drone can be controlled over the internet and can navigate autonomously as compared to the ones that are being developed to operate on the line of sight — where the operator needs to keep the drones within their sight. 

IIT Hyderabad

As the year 2020 will be a pivotal year in AI-related employment dynamics, the IIT Hyderabad, in association with Talent Sprint, has launched its second cohort of the professional certification program in artificial intelligence for college students and young professionals. This hybrid six-months program will include a five-week boot camp at IIT Hyderabad with a residential option. The program has been designed to cover topics like AI, IoT, blockchain, quantum computing, and other emerging technologies.

IIT Hyderabad has already released their first cohort, last year, where they witnessed a participation of 115 people from 45 colleges across 16 locations in India. And the second cohort started from March 14th and has been designed on the success of the first one, where they are targeting students who seek certification and plan to build a career in emerging technologies. According to reports, there has been a shortage of qualified and deep learning expertise faculty, and therefore, this program has been developed in such a way that it will enable students across colleges in India to have access to IIT Hyderabad’s program and teachings to learn more about the field.

IIT Mandi

IIT Mandi has recently been sanctioned ₹7.25 crores by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in order to establish a technology innovation hub at the institute. The innovation hub, to be established, will majorly focus on human-computer interaction researches, where scientists will design and develop computer technology interfaces, along with a significant focus on human resource and skill development. The innovation hub will be established with an aim to develop tools, education material, hands-on experiments with specialised tool kits, connecting with existing innovation ecosystems. It will inter-link with different stakeholders and will aim to connect with Indian government AI initiatives by providing an innovation platform for schools, colleges and advanced technical training institutes in the targeted areas. 

Along with DST, other industries and academic institutes have decided to partner with IIT Mandi for the innovation centre. A few of them are Centre for Development of Advanced Computing – Mohali, Defence Research and Development Organisation; National Disaster Management Authority; Himachal Pradesh state government; in company with several academic partners. With the help of the hub, IIT Mandi will be creating a technology interface for challenges on agriculture, cybersecurity, defence forces, healthcare, landslides, environment, and forensics.

IIT Delhi

With all the IITs coming up with their efforts towards artificial intelligence, the IIT Delhi is no behind. In a bid to teach students there architecture and functioning of the human mind, IIT Delhi has recently launched a new master’s programs — MSc in Cognitive Science. According to the institute, the cognitive science program would be highly interdisciplinary, building on theories and methods from artificial intelligence, neuroscience etc. This program will help the students to develop the necessary skills and understanding required to make complex technologies, systems and networks. The institute aims to capitalise on the expert faculty members they have and aims to establish critical links with the industry.

The curriculum of the program, with only 25 seats, has been designed in such a way that it is filled with research and will push students to diverse theories, methods and tools to understand the functioning and the architecture of the human brain. Many businesses require advanced skills to solve complex practical problems, and therefore with this course, they will be able to develop the niche skill of fractalisation of cognitive science. 

IIT Kharagpur

Joining the team, the IIT Kharagpur has evolved an artificial intelligence-aided method to read legal judgements. This method has been designed to point out the laws that are getting violated and also to help people in minimising their legal costs. This innovation would be supported by a team of researchers from IIT Kharagpur, where they are going to use the novel method of AI in order to automate the reading of a legal document by using advanced ML technique. Rather than using the traditional way of Conditional Random Fields that use handcrafted features to train the machines, IIT Kharagpur has used two deep neural models to understand the rhetorical roles of sentences in a legal case judgement.

To train the model, the IITians took 50 judgments from the Supreme Court of India. They segmented them by labelling sentences using multiple human annotators and then performing an extensive analysis of the human-assigned labels. Post that the team developed a high-quality gold standard corpus to train the machine in order to carry out the task. Given the sufficient amount of data gathered, the neural methods used by the team automatically learn the features and can be used across domains.

IIT Bombay

To foster innovations in the financial sector, the IIT Bombay collaborated with Bank of Baroda to open up an innovation centre to focus on strengthening the relationship between BFSi sector with the emerging technologies. Located within the campus of IIT Bombay in Powai, the innovation centre is one of the first initiatives with a partnership between industry and academia, focusing on the fintech between a leading BFSI organisation and a Technology Institute of Eminence. The centre has been designed to evaluate and adopt emerging technologies, develop a culture of innovation, foster innovations in the financial hardware space and contribute to the bank’s digital strategy. The centre is expected to be the anchor of innovation for the entire Bank of Baroda group including capital markets, asset management, insurance, shared services etc.

The centre is already in the process of making with approximately 11,000 interested students and hundreds of faculty participating at setting up this new technology centre inside the sprawling IIT Powai campus. The Bank of Baroda believes in adopting more modern technologies in their business to reap benefits. They think by taking daily operational challenges to aspiring engineers and technologists, they can save up costs of collaboration that otherwise range in millions of dollars. In the process, the bank also aims at pushing and entrepreneurial spirit among the students.

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Sejuti Das
Sejuti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine (AIM). Reach out at

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