The Impact of Computer Science

Computer Science has developed over the past forty years into a key driver of science and economy. Almost every aspect of our personal and our professional lives is affected by information technology. IT industry became a major part of economy and IT has had a profound influence on almost any other industry. The algorithmic paradigm has led to a fundamental change of how we view the world and how science is conducted.

Both India and Germany are moving towards economies which are knowledge-based with Information Technology playing a crucial role. In the world of the future, it would mainly be ideas and innovation that create wealth. Hence, there is an even greater need to invest in basic research, especially in Computer Science. At present, the US plays a dominating role in CS research.

Computer Science Research in India and Germany

Several Indian universities, in particular the Indian Institutes of Technology in Chennai, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Mumbai, the Indian Institute of Science, and the Tata Institute have strong research programs in Computer Science. Each one of these schools has a small number of outstanding faculty. The number of PhD-students is small and is much below the numbers needed by academia and industry.

India has a strong educational program in CS, mainly at the level of undergraduate education; in particular, the graduates of the Indian Institutes of Technology are highly sought. Only a few of them continue their education in India. Up to a few years ago, most of them moved to North America or Great Britain for continuing their education. In recent years, a fair fraction joins Indian industry. Computer scientists of Indian origin are among the most cited researchers in CS.

IT industry has developed rapidly in India over the past two decades. Infosys (about 90,000 employees) and Tata Consultancy Services (about 110,000 employees) are global IT-companies based in India. Most major IT-companies, e.g., Microsoft, IBM, SAP, Intel, and Google have labs in India. Many of these laboratories are located in Bangalore.

The Max-Planck-Institute for Informatics and the Max-Planck-Institute for Software Systems in Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern together with the CS departments of Saarland University and Technical University Kaiserslautern form a center of basic research in CS.

The Potential impact of IMPECS

IMPECS will bring together leading German and Indian research groups. It can build on existing scientific cooperations. Faculty from many leading Indian academic institutions have spent extensive research stays in Saarbrücken, e.g., S. Sen, N. Garg, S.N. Maheshwari, A. Kumar from IIT Delhi, S. Chakrabarti and A. Ranade from IIT Mumbai, S. Baswana from IIT Kanpur, Pandu Rangan and Narayanaswamy from IIT Madras, Priti Shankar, Sunil Chandra, T. Kavitha and S. Govindarajan, R. Hariharan (now at Strand Genomics) from Indian Institute of Science, S. Ghosh from Tata Institute, M. Mahajan, C.R. Subramanian, and V. Raman from Institute of Mathematical Sciences, and K.V. Subramanian from Chennai Mathematical Institute. All of these researchers – and they represent a sizeable fraction of the algorithms and complexity community in India - have collaborated with the Algorithms and Complexity group (headed by Prof K. Mehlhorn) at MPI-INF.

This proposal aims to take this collaboration to a new level by including other areas of computer science and by turning it into a structured program consisting of the following components.

  1. Joint Research Projects and Research Groups: Each research group within IMPECS will collaborate with a corresponding group at MPI-INF or MPI-SWS. The groups are supported with 40 K Euro per year under the conditions agreed on by DST and MPG for the Max Planck partner groups.
  2. The Career Path Component: More than half of the faculty members mentioned above (Naveen Garg (IITD), Surinder Baswana (IITK), Sunil Chandran (IISc), Kavitha Telikepalli (IISc), CR Subramaniam (IMSc), S. Govindarajan (IISc), Ramesh Hariharan (IISc, now at Strand Genomics)) have spent at least 2 years as a postdoc at MPI-INF. Most of them received their Ph.D.s from an Indian Institute. After completion of their Ph.D. they received further training at MPI-INF and then became faculty at an Indian Institution. Ties are maintained through joint research projects and visits. Naveen Garg and Telikepalli Kavitha are supported under the DST-Max-Planck partner group program. IMPECS will support such a career path – Ph.D. at an Indian institute, postdoc at MPI and faculty position in India in two ways: first, through the exchange program for PhD students and second through the postdoc program.
  3. The Community Building Component: Few Indian CS researchers have studied in Germany or had long stays in Germany. This is also true for German researchers vis-a-vis India. The existing Indo-German research programs by DAAD-DST, MPG-DST are primarily meant for researchers in the two countries who already have a collaboration running. As such these programs target only a small number of people. To broaden the cooperation there is a need to bring together a large number of researchers from the two countries. The Indian research in CS spreads out over many institutions. The theme year, visiting professorship, student exchange, and research group aspects of the proposal guarantee that the initiative reaches a large fraction of the community in both countries

Not many Indian students are aware of the kind of research opportunities available to them in Germany. This is one important reason why Germany is not a preferred destination for Indian graduate students. The IMPECS would, through its programs, bring German research in CS closer to Indian students.


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  • The deadline for applying for student exchange is March 30, 2015. Students enrolled in a Ph.D. programme at any Indian…
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