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How IIT-B makes students ready to hit ground running

The curriculum is reset periodically to include lessons in newest technologies. While existing courses on AI, ML and natural language processing have undergone revisions to introduce new methods of deep learning, courses in cloud computing were introduced a few years ago.

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Last Updated: Jan 08, 2020, 11.26 AM IST
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(This story originally appeared in on Jan 06, 2020)
Most of India’s engineering students are not industry ready. The exceptions tend to be those from leading institutions. And that’s because their curriculum is updated frequently, and students are mandated to work on practical applications.

Professor Varsha Apte of the department of computer science and engineering in IIT-Bombay says the curriculum provides a solid theoretical foundation to students. But in addition, every course that has any practical aspect to it always has either a formal in-class supervised laboratory session, or has practical work given as home assignments.

“In such assignments, demonstration of a working implementation is key to getting a good grade,” she says. In a recent course on network security, the instructor assigned lab exercises related to security in every class and these needed to be done under her supervision on laptops. Similarly, the foundational post-graduate machine learning course has a major project component in which students have to implement some ML applications. The undergraduate AI course has a three-hour weekly lab in which students learn how to program an AI application.

Apte, who has been with IIT-B for close to 18 years, says the curriculum is reset periodically to include lessons in newest technologies and to erase obsolete study material. While existing courses on AI, ML and natural language processing have undergone revisions to introduce new methods of deep learning, courses in cloud computing were introduced a few years ago. Network security, cryptography and blockchain technology are among the latest additions to this basket.

Collaborations with Indian industry majors such as TCS as well as MNCs like Google, VMware, Microsoft, IBM, HP, and NetApp are also helping towards industry readiness. “Academics get a source of relevant problems to solve with their research students that can result in impactful contributions,” Apte says.
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