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By Seargent Arbit On September - 4 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS
EC at IIIT01

If one spoke of the most preferred choice of careers these days, then engineering would be sure to figure among the top five. And among the sundry branches that engineering offers, if one were to brood over the most sought after ones, CSE and ECE would definitely top the list – whether it’s a natural choice or simply a result of the ‘herd’ tendency, the fact of the matter remains that most budding engineers opt for CSE/ECE as the first choice. (Picture – IIIT. Credit: Seargent Arbit)

This perception suffered a setback last year, when the pin of recession apparently burst the IT bubble. But we Indians are a tenacious people and with the 6.1% growth rate that India has recorded in the first fiscal quarter, Information Technology and its siblings are once again in demand. And so we come back to CSE and ECE.

IIIT, dedicated to furthering research in Information Technology, offers both courses. Again, like Computer Science Department, the EC department too offers both ECE as well as ECD (dual degree). However, as compared to CSE, the number of seats offered is much less with just 30 seats in ECE and 15 in ECD. The tuition fee cum hostel rent remains the same i.e. approximately Rs. 50,000 a semester.

The EC labs are smaller, being designed for fewer students and although some times students do complain of insufficient equipment. On the whole, the labs are pretty much at par with other colleges.

The department has some very learned, well-known researchers on its staff although, as Krishnapal puts it, “Some of them are better at guiding students in projects rather than formally teaching them”.  Rahul, another student feels that “There aren’t enough professors” although the courses offered, he agrees, “are very good”.

Admissions are solely on the basis of merit in AIEEE and with such a small number, the seats are taken soon. The opening and closing ranks of EC are not far behind CS with ECD closing at 2646 and ECE at 1921 in the year 2008 (2009 ranks are not included as IIIT has entered further rounds of AIEEE counseling and some students are yet to join – ranks are expected to be lower than last year).

The EC students are given freedom to choose their department and many a times, work in tandem with CS students on projects, where a joint effort is required. The EC students mainly work in CRC (Communications and Research Centre ), CVEST (Centre for VLSI and Embedded Systems ) and of course, the Robotics lab. The Robotics lab is fairly up-to-date and EC students are generally involved with robotics projects right from the beginning. In fact, Robocamp, the robotics fest of IIIT conducted by the EC students is one of the best of its kind in the country with 190 participants this year including huge participation from outstation colleges.

EC Lab. Credit-Seargent Arbit

EC Lab. Credit-Seargent Arbit

In addition to aforementioned labs, NVIDIA Corporation, the worldwide leader in visual computing technologies has set up the NVIDIA Visual Computing Lab in IIIT Hyderabad, which provides the students with state of the art equipment and software licenses with the purpose of furthering research in the field of GPU engineering and visual computing.

If the CS students have taken the programming community by storm then the EC students are no less. This year, IIIT was the only team from India, which qualified for the last round of the NASA – sponsored CANSAT competition, which was organized to create an experience of the design life cycle of a typical aerospace system.

A great achievement indeed. But is the picture as rosy as it it appears to be? ‘Yes’ and ‘No’, say the students. When surveyed, the EC crowd was almost equally split into two sections – there were some, who wished to change their branch and switch to CS for ‘better placements’ and then there were those, who albeit wishful of better lab equipment, were fairly happy with the state of affairs.

After all, at the end of the day, it’s really the personal satisfaction that matters. As far as infrastructure et al go, IIIT is a fairly good choice. So if EC is where heart is, this might be just the place one ought to be.  Addhyan, a 3rd year student, sums it up when he says, “I like what I’m doing, where I’m doing, how I’m doing and that’s really what matters, right?” Touche!

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