In India, there is huge gap between industry and academia in terms of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) but now in a perfect example of globalization’s benefits, about 100 students including almost 50 research scholars, and other faculty members of Hyderabad’s International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Hyderabad) are able to pursue research mostly in the field of artificial intelligence with special focus on computer vision and machine learning. Thanks to US tech giant Amazon Inc who has supported the institute by financing the research.
Global tech major Amazon is offering a flexible financial support to research students and also a few faculty at the IIIT-Hyderabad. According to PJ Narayanan, Director of IIIT-Hyderabad, Amazon has even given flexibility to the institute on how to utilise the funds.
Started about 18 months ago, the support doesn’t put any conditions or mandate research areas.
Without divulging the exact amount of funding, IIIT Professor CV Jawahar and Amazon Chair Professor said, “We don’t get any public fund and funds from corporates helps us to strengthen our research in our desired field and also bring down cost of education. For students, it helps in boosting their morale and gives them exposure to opportunities which would otherwise be limited to only a few students per academic year.”
According to TelanganaToday.com, an Amazon spokesperson explained that the funds provided is not to fund any research for the company’s good but to just propel the growth of research scholars and professors in this field. Other than IIIT-H, it also has engagement with many other institutions in India including the IISc in Bengaluru.
“The programme is spread across a period of five years and we leave it to the institute on how they want to use the funds,” the spokesperson added.
Speaking about the different areas in which the institute is currently doing research, Prof Jawahar said that they are looking sports and gaming in India through the lens of AI and ML. The financial support received will also goes towards research groups to publish approximately 30 papers in 14 major international conferences and journals
Besides supporting a Chair and 100 students, Amazon will also provide assistance to research students submitting and taking part in international seminars. The Research Student Support Programme is aimed at supporting Masters and Doctoral research students in their chosen area of study.
IIIT Hyderabad was set up in 1998 under the public private partnership model, where the state government of Telangana is supplying a grant of land and buildings. The institute currently houses to over 114 PhD, 250 MS by Research and 1,550 MTech or BTech students.
It is to be noted that, “International” IIITs are different from “Indian” Institutes of Information Technology (IIIT), which are established by the central government, centrally funded, and managed by the Ministry of HRD. “Internationals” IIITs are public private autonomous universities with some backing from state governments.