New data science and artificial intelligence research center aims to improve AI for India context

New data science and artificial intelligence research center aims to improve AI for India context

A new research center is to be established in India to undertake foundational research in many areas of data science and artificial intelligence (AI) applicable in the Indian context, and create societal impact through multidisciplinary interactions with government, academic, research and industrial collaborators.

The center, a collaboration between Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions (RBEI) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras), will receive around US$0.5m per year funding for five years to carry out research in areas like deep learning, reinforcement learning, network analytics, interpretable machine learning, and domain aware AI.

Its activity will include research projects, knowledge management and dissemination, developing prototypes, outreach projects, and setting up collaborative facilities and laboratories among others. The center’s mandate requires interaction with industry and other universities, including international student and faculty exchanges. The objective is to advance scientific innovation for societal benefit.

Several technologies currently require large datasets to improve their accuracy and to adapt these technologies for the Indian context. There are basic issues in the way data is collected and shared; these need to be solved in a collective and open-sourced manner. To address this issue, the center is setting out on an ambitious task of creating a portal of curated, India specific data sets that are easy to access and interpret through a set of open tools and interfaces.

As part of Bosch’s research and innovation portfolio in India, the center in IIT-M will become part of a network to support ‘Digital India’. This research network also includes the Robert Bosch Centre for cyber physical systems at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) in Bangalore.

The two organizations say this collaboration is also significant in the global research and innovation landscape. “This partnership is to accelerate research for societal impact, taking a long-term view. It will set a precedent in the way big-data is used to improve our problem-solving capability in industry. At the same time, the collaboration will result in shared outcomes for the benefit of society,” said Mr. Vijay Ratnaparkhe, managing director of Robert Bosch.

Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, the director of IIT Madras, added, “IIT Madras has been nurturing its interdisciplinary data sciences and artificial intelligence research group for more than three years now. The launch of this center in partnership with, and generous support from, RBEI is an affirmation of the rapid growth and impact of the group’s research and teaching activities. I am confident it will become a globally acknowledged center working at the cutting edge of various aspects of machine learning, data science and artificial intelligence, leading to work with high social impact.”

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) was established in 1959 by the Government of India as an institute of national importance. The activities of the institute in various fields of technology and science are carried out in 16 academic departments and several advanced interdisciplinary research academic centers. IIT-M is recognized worldwide for its intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of engineering and pure science. IIT-M has been ranked number one amongst engineering institutions in the India rankings 2016 and 2017 and number two in the category of overall institutions in the 2017 rankings, released by the National Institutional Ranking Framework, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.

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