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IIT Madras inaugurated the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI) on 6th February 2019. Bosch will be investing 2.5 million euros (20 crores) over a period of five years in the centre. The objective of this new centre is to create an impact through interactions with academic, research, government and industrial collaborators regarding challenges in AI and Data Science (DS).
IIT Madras is planning to increase the number of seats as the response from the industry as well as the students has been positive. The first batch of the Inter-Disciplinary Dual Degree (IDDD) program in Data Science has 30 students who will appear for campus placement soon. The institute offers its undergraduate students the option to upgrade to the IDDD programme wherein the students can study for 5 years and get B.Tech in a parent discipline and M.Tech in an interdisciplinary area. Students pursuing the course will also intern at companies and get involved in projects in data science. This course will also prepare students to become applied Data Scientists and pursue higher studies.
Dr. Michael Bolle, member of Bosch’s board of management, said during the opening ceremony that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the core technology for all areas of connected life-from, connected mobility to factories, buildings, and cities. The expertise of Indian engineers will also contribute to expanding the AI skills, he added.
The centre will also conduct foundational research in many areas of DS and AI such as reinforcement learning, deep learning, interpretable machine learning, domain aware AI and network analytics. The activity areas include knowledge management, outreach projects, and research projects. The centre will also facilitate interaction with universities, industries, faculty exchanges, and student exchange. The objective of the same is the advancement in scientific innovation for the benefit of society, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, IIT’s Madras director said.
Applied research will be in four areas such as financial analytics, manufacturing analytics, systems biology and health care, and smart cities. A lot of technologies require large datasets to improve accuracy and also to adapt these technologies when it comes to the Indian context. The centre will also create a portal of India specific data sets, which are easy to access and interpret through a set of open tools and interfaces.
Deep Reinforcement learning is the new area, which will be focused upon and will be responsible for many path-breaking developments in AI. RBC-DSAI will be the largest Deep Reinforcement Learning group in India. Researchers are looking at the networked data in various disciplines such as transportation, water distribution, online social media, biology, process modelling, reaction networks, and telecom.
Bosch has also funded two important technology areas with Data Sciences and AI and Cyber-Physical Systems at IISc and IIT-M. This partnership between IIT-M and Bosch will lead to new research, especially in the Indian context.