IISc, established in 1909, is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and they have a star-studded 3-day conference currently taking place in Bangalore, their campus. I had no idea about it, till my super boss, ie, boss of boss, called me up on Friday afternoon and told me to go and attend. He knows me and my interest and values, and so he gave me no options. So, hurriedly booked tickets, etc and made the trip on Saturday evening.
The programme started on Saturday with inauguration by former President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam and Prof CNR Rao, scientific advisor to PM. I missed this, since I reached only on Sat night. Attended the Sunday programme fully and hence this blog. You can get more details from the IISC website (http:/www.iisc.ernet.in).
Delegate arrangements were a little confusing, with no sign boards or directions except for some general banners. But without much problem managed to get to venue. The day started with two keynote addresses, one by TCS MD Mr Ramadorai and the second by Prof Suresh, Dean of Engg, MIT, USA.( Read more...Collapse )
The second talk was simply amazing. ( Read more...Collapse )
This was followed by a panel discussion on India as a knowledge power. I found this pretty boring. Afternoon, attended a workshop on intelligent transportation, followed by two more invited talks: one on cosmos by Martin Rees, a leading astrophysicist and president of Royal society, and the second by Nandan Nilekani, Infosys. More on this later.
I had not listened to any of these directly so far. Nandan Nilekani spoke extempore and with conviction and vision, reflecting on his book "Imagining India". Good speaker, hardly any hesitation on attacking or criticising systems or any point. Ramadorai, on the other side, was very controlled, sticking to the prepared speech. It was a nice contrast. Whereas Nilekani rarely referred to Infosys (that he founded along with others), Ramadorai talk was almost fully about Tata's work.
Most companies in Bangalore were there, most of them were sponsors, given that it is IISc! All the big names in academia - across disciplines - were there. Given the variety of disciplines, there was hardly anyone who I know directly. About 5000 people are attending the programme, though, it appears that about half are from IISc itself, going by the sample I saw.