IITM Newsletter

IIT Madras, officially, the best engineering institute in the country


In the first set of India Rankings 2016 on higher educational institutions, released by the Hon’ble Minister for Human Resource Development (MHRD) on April 4, 2016 in New Delhi, IIT Madras has been ranked no. 1 in the category of ‘Research and Teaching Institutions in Engineering’ amongst several other similar institutions in India that participated in the ranking exercise.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (www.nirfindia.org), created by MHRD, Govt. of India in 2015, outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country. The parameters used for ranking broadly cover “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.

“The top rank is a reflection of the commitment of the faculty, staff and students of IIT Madras towards fulfilling the objectives of the Strategic Plan 2020 that we have set for ourselves”, said Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras. The IIT Madras Strategic Plan (www.iitm.ac.in/content/strategic-plan) spells out quantified targets for all key pillars of the Institute. These include a flexible curriculum suited to the aspirations of today’s youth, high quality faculty, a thriving research programme with a critical mass of research scholars and laboratories with the latest equipment, India’s strongest industry-academia collaboration epitomized by the country’s first university-based Research Park, an effervescent start-up ecosystem with nearly a hundred companies being currently incubated, a rapidly expanding programme of collaborations and student exchanges with leading global universities, and an enviable Placement record.

In addition, the Institute prides in outreach to the community at large. It also takes up a large number of projects and activities in the country where it brings to bear the core strengths in order to address various technical challenges. In fact, IIT Madras has developed key technologies to address grand challenges faced by the country in water,energy, healthcare, housing, and the like. The Institute’s alumni play an active role in helping IIT Madras grow, as well as in its outreach to the community. Alumni and well-wishers are making record contributions to the Institute to help it retain its position as a top educational and research institution and enhance its global standing.

More information on the India Ranking 2016 can be viewed at:www.nirfindia.org

IIT Madras partners with ABB for innovative exploration and research in the field of rural electrification


The Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ABB on April 5, 2016 to enter a technical cooperation to build Micro grids as well as conduct joint R&D in the field of rural electrification, utilization of natural non-fossil resources, battery energy storage and their connection to loads and main grid. The agreement also includes internship opportunities to postgraduate students of IITM for the next three years.

As a part of this MoU, IIT Madras and ABB will work together to design, build and supply equipment for up to two micro grids in rural areas. Along with ABB equipment, the micro grid will enable homes to be fitted with energy efficient DC devices like LED bulbs, TV, Cell phone charges and Brushless DC motor based fans, specially designed by IITM. The project shall be managed by IITM till the transfer of the installations to the local distribution utility (DISCOM).

ABB will moreover, support research at IITM’s Battery Engineering Centre to improve the life and discharge cycles of Lead-Acid to Lithium-Ion batteries for the next five years. Immediate applications range from telecom tower backups to grid ancillary services and renewable integration. In addition, the research has the scope of including storage solutions for electric vehicles (EVs), which has gained importance in light of the recent push for EVs to act as virtual power plants to store surplus energy and support the grid in times of deficit. This was outlined by the government in the recently launched National Mission on Electric Mobility program, which targets six million electric vehicles (4mn two-wheelers and 2mn four-wheelers) by 2020.

Celebrating 57 years of excellence!


IITM celebrated its 57th Institute Day on April 25, 2016 on campus and entered into its 58th year in absolute style, having been selected as the No.1 Engineering Institution in the Country by the National Institutional Rankings Framework, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India. Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, felicitated 12 alumni members of the Institute with the Distinguished Alumnus Awards this year. He also presented the Academic Awards to scholars/ students and released the ‘Extra Mural Lecture’ Yearbook, on the occasion.

Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder Infosys and Chairman, Axilor Ventures, who is also one of the most renowned alumni (M.Sc. (Physics) in 1977 and M. Tech. Computer Science in 1979) of the Institute, was the Chief Guest for the Institute Day and bestowed the Institute R&D Awards, Award for Excellence in Teaching and Non-Academic Staff Recognition Awards to the selected ones. Attended by a large number of alumni from India and abroad, faculty members, staff and students of IIT Madras, Institute Day celebrations also included a presentation on students’ activities and accomplishments, introduction of new Executive Wing and distribution of Saarang 2016 – donations to selected organizations.

Some of the prominent awards presented this year are as following:

Distinguished Alumnus Awardees

  1. Shri D. Shivakumar, Chairman & CEO, PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd. [1982/BT/AE]
  2. Dr. Ramarathnam Narasimhan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, India [1982/BT/ME]
  3. Dr. Chandra R Bhat, Professor of Civil Engineering & Director of the Center for Transportation Research, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas at Austin, USA [1985/BT/CE]
  4. Dr. Chandramouli Visweswariah, IBM Fellow, Smarter Energy and Environmental Science; Director, Smarter Energy Research Institute (SERI), New York, USA [1985/BT/EE]
  5. Dr. Vaidehi Narayan, Professor of Molecular Immunology, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, CA, USA & Visiting Associate, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, CA, USA [1981/MSc/CY & 1986/PhD/CY]
  6. Dr. S Christopher, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Director General, Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) [1985/PhD/EE]
  7. Dr. Kumar Ganapathy, Co-founder, Virident, Co-founder, VxTel and Global Vice President of Strategy and Products, HGST, USA [1987/BT/EE]
  8. Dr. Thomas J. Colacot, Global R&D Manager/Technical Fellow, Johnson Matthey, West Deptford, NJ, USA [1989/PhD/CY]
  9. Dr. Sridhar Vembu, Co-founder & CEO, Zoho Corporation [1989/BT/EE]
  10. Dr. Aravind Srinivasan, Professor, Department of Computer Science & Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, University of Maryland, Maryland, USA [1989/BT/CS]
  11. Dr. Thomas A Kodenkandath, Scientist, Hazen Research & Co-founder, Appli3D, LLC, USA [1990/PhD/CY]
  12. Dr. Ramkumar Dhruva, Senior Vice President (Monomers Division), Asia-Pacific, BASF [1996/PhD/CY

Award for Excellence in Teaching

  1. Prof. C Chandrasekhar, Department of Computer Science, IIT Madras Institute Research and Development Awards

Institute Research and Development Awards

A. Life-time Achievement Award

  1. Prof. B.S. Murty, Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering.

B. Mid-Career Research & Development Award

  1. Dr. M. Michael Gromiha, Department of Biotechnology
  2. Prof. Shanthi Pavan, Department of Electrical Engineering

C. Junior-Level Research & Development Award

  1. Dr. Rayala Suresh Kumar, Department of Biotechnology
  2. Dr. P. Anbarasan, Department of Chemistry
  3. Dr. Boby George, Department of Electrical Engineering
  4. Dr. Srinivasa Rao Bakshi, Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering

A novel way of giving back to the alma mater


Shri R Muralidharan, an alumnus of IIT Madras who graduated along with the 5th graduating class in 1968, has hit upon a novel way to give back to his alma mater. He has irrevocably assigned his and his wife's life insurance policy valued at USD 100,000 to IIT Madras, vesting post the lifetime of the donor. This is for the first time in the history of the Institute, that an alumnus has contributed through this mechanism.

As per the wish of Shri Muralidharan and his wife Girija, the funds vested will be used to support an Institute Chair Professorship through an endowment. The Chair is currently occupied by Prof. B.S. Murty of the Department of Metallurgical & Materials Engineering.

Reflecting on his gift, Shri Muralidharan said: “I benefited greatly from the entire IIT Madras system. My education was subsidized to a large extent. We got scholarships because somebody had the goodwill to finance it. Deep down in my mind, that gratitude still exists. This is the first time someone would be pledging their life for IITM, and I am extremely glad that it happened to be me. We would be happy if this style of endowment is established firmly in the Institute. It would be great if the idea of donating to the institute strikes more people. We are privileged to be an IIT Madras alumni, and it is our duty to give back to our Institute”.

Professor R. Nagarajan, Dean of International & Alumni Relation at IIT Madras welcomed the contribution, and expressed his particular happiness that Shri Muralidharan, a long-time friend and benefactor of the Institute, has become a pioneer in this new mode of giving back. “This unique approach in giving back is expected to open more such doors for IIT Madras in future, and assist us financially in achieving the goals of our Strategic Plan 2020”, he added.

Saahitya - IIT Madras' Literary Festival


IIT Madras hosted the first edition of its annual literary festival, Saahitya recently. The cultural clubs of IIT Madras have been conducting critically acclaimed flagship events year on year, such as the IITM Open Quiz, The Cryptic Crossword Open and Madras Minutiae - a flagship quizzing festival for college students. These events have witnessed participation from over 500 students from colleges across the country.

This year, the cultural clubs of IIT Madras - the Word Games Club, Quiz Club, Writing Club, Oratory Club, Music Club, Fine Arts Club, Thespian Club and Informal’s Club - came together to present Saahitya - reviving Literary fest in the institute, with the last one having been held decades ago.

Saahitya aims to be a melting pot for all things literary, by being an amalgamation of talents across the various cultural clubs of the institute. Some of the events in Saahitya included quizzes - literary quiz, fandom quiz; competitions - spelling bee and what’s the good word. In addition to these, Saahitya 2016 played host to Madras Minutiae, Cryptic Crossword Open and Scrabble Open, the acclaimed annual flagship events of the IIT Madras Quiz and Word Games Clubs. Workshops including writing, story-telling, public-speaking as well as informal events including Board and Card Games Championships were a part of Saahitya 2016. Apart from these events in English, writing, speaking and word games in regional languages were also held.

UKISEEN - A conference on social entrepreneurship in education network

The UK-India Social Entrepreneurship in Education Network Conference was organized at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras on April 15- 16, 2016. The international conference was jointly organized by the Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CSIE) of IIT Madras and the Social Impact Lab at the University of Southampton (UK). The event was supported by the UK British Council under Social Enterprise Education Programme 2015.

During the conference, the UK-India Social Entrepreneurship Education Network (UKISEEN) was launched officially. The objective of UKISEEN is to encourage collaboration on best teaching methodologies and approaches in social entrepreneurship between UK and Indian universities. The network, which involved integrated effort made by a group of practitioners, academics and educators from universities of both the countries, made effective use of digital technology and social media for knowledge transfer and resource sharing in order to improve the quality of social entrepreneurship teaching and learning in higher education. The network is highly beneficial for the well-established as well as new institutions imparting social entrepreneurship education.

Distinguished chair named after Prof. C.R. Muthukrishnan, former deputy director IITM. (3rd chair of its kind with an endowment of Rs. 10 crore)


IIT Madras alumnus and Co-Founder of Infosys, Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan named the 3rd Distinguished Chair in Computational Brain Research, established at the Institute, after retired professor from the Department of Computer Science & Engineering, Prof. C.R. Muthukrishnan.

He had earlier set up three Chairs in computational brain research at IIT Madras, with an endowment of Rs. 10 crores each, focusing on computing aspects-architecture & model of the brain - including the memory/ processor relationship and neuromorphic computing.

Prof. Muthukrishnan, mentioned that he was honoured at the naming and added, "While many of my students went on to become very successful entrepreneurs, the success of Infosys, co-founded by Kris, is a phenomenon unmatched before or since". Prof Muthukrishnan is currently Advisor, Rajalakshmi Engineering College, and is engaged in faculty development, motivation and attitude building for students, and in quality improvement of teaching-learning. He is a B.Tech. (Electrical), President of India Gold medalist from IIT Madras, and has earned M.Tech. and Ph.D. degrees from IIT Kanpur. He was a faculty member at IIT Madras from 1975 – 2003 and served as a Dean of Academic Courses and as Deputy Director and Director-in-Charge at the Institute.

IIT Madras institutes V Balaraman Chair


IIT Madras established an “Institute Chair” on 26th April 2016 in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in the name of Mr. Venkataratnam Balaraman. Mr. Balaraman, who is the Chairman of Computer Age Management Services (CAMS), is a manager par excellence with a long and distinguished career as MD of Pond’s India Limited and thereafter as Director of Hindustan Unilever Limited. The most notable of his achievements is the large number of protégés who worked under him, absorbed his value systems, and went on to occupy positions of high leadership in India and abroad. This Chair is endowed by one such protégé, an ‘81 alumnus of IIT Madras, in recognition of the signature contributions made by both IITM and by Mr. Balaraman to society.

Prof. N. Ramesh Babu, a faculty member from the department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras, will be the first occupant of this chair. He has been involved in research & development work in the manufacturing domain with a specific focus on the development of advanced and precision machine tools. His interaction with industries, both national and international, made it possible for him to carry out translational research from laboratory level to floor level. This chair professorship will encourage him to pursue his translational research more vigorously.

The Board of Governors of IIT Madras have created "Institute Chair Professorships", to be occupied by IIT Madras professors who have distinguished themselves and have been recognized by their peers for their research and/or technology development, and who have excelled in teaching and service to the Institute/ nation/ profession. The Chair has a term of five years, and is renewable, provided performance level has been maintained. Institute Chairs are expected to play a lead role in enabling IIT Madras to meet its strategic objectives, as documented in "Strategic Plan 2020".


Dr. Sachin S. Gunthe, from the Department of Civil Engineering has been chosen for the award of the Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Fellowship - Flex option by USIEF. The Fellowship enables him to work at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA for four months in two segments starting from December 2016 till July 2017.


IITM-incubated Nadhi Technologies gets CIDC Vishwakarma award


IITM Ranked #1 in India Rankings 2016 in Engineering


IITM best engineering college, JNU third best university: Govt rankings


ABB partners with IITM for R&D cooperation in microgrids, energy storage solutions and green energy projects


Surgeons can now suture blood vessels in half the time, thanks to IITM student invention


IITM students have a solution for easier air relief missions


How Gumps spots pipeline leaks


IITM graduates to donate cycles


IITM alumnus pledges life savings to his alma mate


Indian-Origin Engineer Develops Technology To Double Wi-Fi Speed


IITM ties up with UK varsity to promote social entrepreneurship


IITM Alumni Startup 'Open Door' Raises 1 Cr In Seed Funding


This R2D2 can get you up and keep going


Tech enabling the differently-abled


Students' team from IIT-Madras wins design challenge

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