Archive for the ‘IIT’ Category

IIT Kanpur yet to receive funds for IIT Rajasthan

“We have already spent almost Rs one crore for the purpose,” said registrar Sanjeev Kushalkar. “The central government has not released any fund to aid IIT Kanpur,” he added.

“We are already through with the admission process for the 112 out of 120 seats of IIT Rajasthan. Eight seats are still vaccant for ST candidates,” he said.

Ironically, the Ministry is yet to decide on locations for eight new IITs in various states. However, IIT Kanpur — which has been directed to take charge of IIT Rajasthan — has already made arrangements for fooding and lodging of the students, said Kushalkar.

“The next concern for us is to make arrangements for the teaching staff as we are not authorised to make any recruitments. We will be managing with retired teachers and hire temporary teaching staff for the time being,” he said.

Classes for student of IIT Kanpur and IIT Rajasthan will be held separately, said Kushalkar.

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IIT Bombay’s national outreach prog

The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), the top-most among all IITs in India, has launched a mega global initiative to discover “10 Great Ideas to Change the World”.

The project was launched as a part of its golden jubilee celebrations, which kicked off from Nagpur on September 5 last year. The IIT-B had embarked on a unique ‘National outreach programme’ from the campus of Visveswaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) in city to start the celebrations.

“Did you ever imagine an aeroplane, or a spacecraft or even a computer about about 150 years back? But those are here due to revolutionary thinking of some persons, their persistence as well as their belief in their ideas. We are inviting IIT-B’s alumni, students, faculty and staff – both past and present – to send such revolutionary ideas from across the world in the area of science and technology, which could help the mankind in future,” director of IIT-B Prof Ashok Misra told TOI.

He added that the programme was launched in keeping with IIT-B’s commitment to contribute to development of world through innovative measures.
“The IIT-B has always played an important role in setting the stage for cutting edge technological research and innovation. This is the first of its kind initiative undertaken by any learning institution like ours and we are looking forward to the extended worldwide IIT-B family coming forward to support the project with their discerning ideas,” said Ashok Mishra.

Ajit Ranade, chairman of the IIT-Bombay global alumni association and belonging to Nagpur, told TOI that though preference would be given to ideas related to science and technology, other ideas which could really turn the world around would also be accepted.

“There could be ideas which could helpful in eradicating social stigmas like discrimination based on caste, creed and religion or concepts which could prove beneficial to the society would be welcomed. Ideas related to economic development would also be accepted,” said Ranade, an entrepreneur.

He informed that with nearly 40,000 alumni and faculty members, a host if ideas could be generated. “The intellectual property for each idea contributed to this unique project will be owned by the ideator. They will receive recommendation and support from IIT-B for possible implementation and even could be patented. Even Nagpur city has over 100 alumni and many ideas could be generated from here itself,” Ranade said.

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IITs face huge faculty crunch

The senior faculty at the IITs is toying with suggestions to attract and retain quality faculty. With 54 per cent expansion in existing IITs coupled with six new IITs taking off from this year, the faculty crunch is perhaps the biggest challenge for the institutes.

IIT Bombay faculty affairs dean Devang Khakhar says the existing and new IITs would need about 3,000 faculty members in the next five years.

Firstly, like all the other US universities, IIT faculty could get an annual compensation payable for 10 months. The remaining two months could be utilised for research work and industry-sponsored projects.

Second suggestion is to treat the new IITs differently by outsourcing the construction work to the private builders.

Lastly, following University of California, a faculty house on campus could be bought by the faculty itself by taking a loan from the institute. The faculty can pay installments out of the HRA it receives. Eventually once the faculty retires, it can see the house to an asset management company (AMC).

These suggestions are pouring in at the backdrop of 49.5 per cent caste-based reservations in faculty these institutes were asked to implement by the government. Uncertainty and despondency regarding reservation looms large in the campuses. “One must understand that the IIT faculty has not gone in for more remunerative options in the industry and has chosen to stay here because of the environment IIT provides.

We can’t recreate the existing atmosphere,” says IIT Delhi computer science and engineering faculty M Balakrishnan. The ministry is yet to come out with a directive on whether or not reservations will be implemented after the directors voiced their concerns at the meeting of the standing committee of the IIT council on Friday.

This fear among the faculty is making them look at other options, which earlier were not even thought of. There is a huge demand for faculty in engineering in some emerging countries like Malaysia and Ethiopia, where compensation is approximately $3,000 a month.

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NIT National institute of technology

National institute of technology are among the most sought after institutes in India among the students aspiring for engineering courses. The earlier known as regional engineering college are now called NITs. For admissions to NITs it is compulsory for the student to give AIEEE examination

Important dates:

1. 21-07-09 – commencement of B.Tech and B.Arch classes.
2. 21-07-09 — commencement of classes of M.Tech 3rd semester students.
3. 25-07-09 – deadline for registration of courses for B.Tech and B.Arch.
4. 06-08-09 – reporting date for M.Tech, MS &PhD students.
5. 11-08-09 – late date for registration of courses for M.Tech, MS & PhD students.

Courses offered:

1. Electronics & Communication Engineering
2. Computer Science & Engineering
3. Electrical & Electronics Engineering
4. Instrumentation & Control Engineering
5. Mechanical Engineering
6. Civil Engineering
7. Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
8. Chemical Engineering
9. Production Engineering

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Crisis takes a toll on IIM placements

As the current global economic crisis begins to engulf emerging nations including India, silence speaks louder than words at India’s topmost business school IIM Ahmedabad.

Though placement season usually brings the noises of a booming economy, but this year the global recession has brought down a sharp cut in salaries.

The job offers for IIM-A students have come down by about 42 per cent while overseas placements take a serious hit by declining over 60 per cent. It is a familiar situation not just at all IIMs but at other premier b-schools across India too.

“After Lehman Brothers became the most high-profile victim of the global credit crunch in September, we failed to understand the seriousness of the problem. The crisis has not only affected the markets of north America but far beyond which are normally the cream market for b-school graduates for their overseas placements,” said Dr Bakul Dholakia, vice chairman, Institute of Infrastructure Management.

This certainly means more students will now have to look for domestic jobs, thus, in turn giving Indian recruiters reasons to rejoice. And the biggest gainers are both private and nationalised banks. Also gaining for the first time, in a long while, are old economy companies.

“It was a talent drift, if not drain and today these top graduates are looking at opportunities in a diversified sectors which earlier was not there. The placement process was completely divided into 70 per cent to financial sector and rest 30 put together in all other sectors – that is now being changed and for good,” said Dr Anil Gupta, senior faculty, IIM-A.

At the moment the jobs situation in the market is highlighted by the fact that a large chunk of graduates have decided to opt out from placement process this year to study further and wait for the recession to fade out. While others have decided to set up businesses themselves hoping to make the most of a desperate situation.

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IIT Delhi to display innovations for image makeover

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi wants now for a change of image bewerkstelligte by the announcement of its innovations and become popular, like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and l ‘Stanford University. “For decades, we have achieved excellence in education, and it is high time, which became famous for a change of image bewerkstelligte,” said Balakrishnan, Dean, Post-Graduate Studies and Research at IIT Delhi.

“It is a temple of learning, and we need for this message by our innovations,” said Balakrishnan IANS.

“To showcase our work for the whole world, we are asked to 275 innovations Saturday. We invited industry, experts, schools and universities to come and get an idea of what we do here.”

In a disaster resistant intelligent house, a prototype of sugar cane for the visually impaired, a car to a formula of robots and other fuels for vehicles in progress, these innovations from IIT Delhi, students and their teachers on the screen.

“Everyone can be on the inside, ask questions and participate in our special conferences. We have also invited the faculties of science in schools and universities to come and get an idea of innovation, “said Subrat Kar, a professor I2tech and in the event.

What do people need to know what IIT Delhi. “If we are talking about items that famous institutes, names such as MIT, Stanford, Oxford and our minds. Why can we not, like herself?”

IITs have told teachers, the quality of education, like all the best international institutions or universities, but “few, as they are more than we know. It is a question of image building” .

What does he tried to ITT, as far as possible, students interact with a special program called “our right to speak.”

What does it say to technology such as schools and try to find out, at school by FOSS.

Sunit Tuli, associate dean of industrial research and development in IIT Delhi, people should know IIT innovations.

“We have the know-how and technology learning and what we have, that is to say, all over the world. This can we popularity in the international arena,” Tuli said.

Each year, IIT Delhi entry to nearly 550 students in various Undergraduate courses. Hundreds of also doctoral and post-graduate courses.

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2.76 lakh aspirants get ready for CAT

Come November 16 and about 2.76 lakh aspirants across the country will appear for the Common Admission Test (CAT) 2008, rated as one of the world’s most demanding entrance examinations for any graduate institute.

CAT is the stepping stone for MBA aspirants to get admitted in reputed management schools of India.

Apart from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) located at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Indore, Kozhikode and Shillong, CAT is also a mandatory entrance examination for several other leading institutes like Kirloskar Institute of Management, Mudra Institute of Communication (MICA) Ahmedabad, Nirma Institute of Management, S.P. Jain Institute, TAPAI and several others.

Some people feel that CAT is more of a rejection process than a selection process. ‘It rejects those who can’t make their minds work at break-neck speed for two and a half hours non-stop’.

The entrance exam, designed to test a student’s managerial aptitude, has seen an increase of 23 percent in the total number of applications this year and nearly 40 colleges have added their names to the list of colleges that decide admissions on CAT scores.

With a 15 percent rise from last year’s 2.4 lakh and an acceptance offer to just one in 138 candidates this year against one in 120 last year, CAT 2008 promises to be bigger and better.

From the NCR region alone, more than 50,000 students will appear for the entrance exam.

The increase in the number of students this year has forced the IIMs to arrange for more test centres. IIM Lucknow, which coordinates the exam in the NCR, has setup about 60 centres to handle around 59,000 students.

IIM-A is handling over 51,000 applications, IIM Bangalore is handling over 60,000 applications and IIM Calcutta would take care of over 50,000 students.

Of the 2.76 lakh candidates taking the exam this year, nearly 54,000 are women.

Arks Srinivas, Director, Triumphant Education, a well-known coaching institute for CAT, says, “There has been an increase of 20 percent in the enrolment of women candidates for CAT. This is mainly due to the availability of opportunities for women in sectors such as finance, human resource and marketing.”

“Of the 54,000 women, at least 13 percent have a chance of getting a call. Even though the success rate of women in IIMs has not seen a remarkable rise, the 100-odd institutes which consider CAT scores may have pushed the number of women applicants”, Srinivas further said.

Neha Shukla, an aspirant, said, “I attempted CAT last year, but I did not score well in the Data Interpretation (DI) section. I have improved a lot in that section and I am determined to secure a seat in one of the IIMs.”

The CAT committee had received more than 2.9 lakh applications this year. The number, however, comes down substantially after a screening of applications. This year, more than 7,000 aspirants have been disqualified from CAT due to minor errors in the application forms.

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HRD wants faculty quota in IIT

New Delhi: It is almost as if the OBC quota is not enough. The Human Resource Ministry under HRD Minister Arjun Singh has now ordered a quota for the teachers, leaving the IIT teaching staff fuming.

The Government diktat was signed by the Director of Technical Education in the HRD ministry, Seema Raj, and read: “I am directed to say that the matter relating to reservation of SC, ST, OBC categories in recruitment to teaching (faculty) posts in the IITs was considered in the second meeting of the SCIC (Standing Committee of IIT Council) held on 11/2/2008. The recommendations made by the SCIC have been accepted by the chairman of (the) IIT Council. Accordingly, it has been decided to implement reservation for SC, ST, OBC, in recruitment to teaching (faculty) posts in IITs with immediate effect.”

In the latest diktat, the HRD Ministry has ordered IITs to introduce quotas for teachers with immediate effect. The move seeks to create 15 per cent quota for Scheduled Castes, 7.5 per cent for Scheduled Tribes and 27 per cent for Other Backward Classes in teaching positions.

The matter assumes importance because of the massive recruitment drive IITs will have to undertake as they increase their faculty after the OBC quota implementation and the subequent expansion plans. Almost 250-300 teachers are to be recruited by IITs in the next three years.

IITs currently have reservations for backward category candidates for administrative posts – from attendants to the level of deputy registrar. However, there is no reservation for the teaching staff.

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Achieving a Travel Education Without The Travel

Travel – the heart and soul of the hospitality industry – is missing from the agendas of thousands of industry professionals as they strive to further their careers in management, development, marketing and finance.

Travel, in fact, is often the very last thing on their minds.

Engrossed in coursework designed to prepare them to to move up in a hotel’s chain of command, these employees have been busy ordering up the academic equivalent of room service: Distance learning that delivers textbooks, videos, resource materials and whatever else they need directly to their door – or even to their desktop.

“This is a nice way to learn if you can’t get to a campus,” said Bob Davies, graduate program director at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, which is in the process of shelving and retooling its online coursework in the school’s Hospitality and Tourism program, which added distance learning a decade ago.

“Because the industry requires you to work unusual hours, attending a campus class just doesn’t work,” said Davies. “And there is some rigidity even with tech schools and universities that you have to be available.”

With distance learning, of course, students are very much available – as long as they can accomplish their tasks at their own convenience and their own location.

Though globe-trotters, national travelers and even regional tourists are a driving force in the hospitality industry, staying put to enhance knowledge about about this industry is by no means an anomaly. In many cases, it is has become an occupational necessity.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association recognized this back in 1953 with the founding of its Educational Institute, at the time a formative formal program for hospitality education.

“At that time, its purpose was to provide distance learning courses in the 1950s,” said Elizabeth Johnson, marketing manager. “Correspondence school was in its heyday back then. For people who could not afford college or could not take the time from their hotel job to get additional training to get ahead, the educational institute met that need. It was founded for that purpose at that time.”

Although hotel schools now exist at university campuses in Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, Purdue University, Cornell University, the University of Houston and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, AH&LA’s institute still offers traditional correspondence-school style coursework in certificate and diploma programs for working professionals. (For more conventional graduate and undergraduate students in classrooom-based hospitality management programs at many of these two-year and four-year schools, the institute also provides an array of professionally authored textbooks.)

In recent years, the institute’s traditional mail-based curriculum has gotten plugged into the Internet, where working professionals have the same options as their mail-based counterparts, to learn – and later take their exams for certification – in a self-paced environment online. The institute has a more intense Hospitality Operations certification program, as well as two diploma programs – one in Hospitality Management and one in Food and Beverage Management. And next year the institute will launch a new specialization – Spa Management – also to be offered online.

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IIT heads meet to discuss vacant seats

Chiefs of IITs across the country met in New Delhi on Wednesday to decide on how to fill up the vacant seats reserved for SC and ST candidates.

“A few seats for SC/ST candidates are lying vacant in the six new IITs. A final decision will be taken at the meeting on how to fill them up,” IIT Delhi Director Surendra Prasad said.

The government has started six new IITs from this session. The activities of the new institutes are managed by the older institutes which are acting as mentors for the new ones.

At least ten seats for the SC/ST are lying vacant in IIT Punjab. Similarly, there are certain vacancies in the other new IITs, he said.

The meeting will also decide on the preparatory courses to be provided to students who may be taken against the vacant seats.

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IIM-C and IIT-KGP to go ahead with 27% quota

IIM Calcutta (IIM-C) and IIT-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) will go ahead with the 27 per cent other backward classes (OBC) quota implementation, following a Supreme Court order on Friday.

The verdict comes a day after the Calcutta High Court put brakes on the Centre’s order to impose OBC quotas in post graduate courses in IIM-C and IIT-Kharagpur.

In April this year, the HRD ministry had ordered implementation of 27 per cent OBC quota in post-graduate courses in central institutions.

The IIM-C authority would keep on hold the admission process for the OBC candidates till the final directive comes from MHRD.

Meanwhile, the IIM-C authorities had stuck to the OBC interview date on Thursday and interviewed 20 OBC candidates.

The final offer letter for admission would be sent to nine of these OBC candidates who have been selected.

The next batch would start from June 23. Usually, students get three weeks time to join the classes from the date of offer of admission, however, this year, the candidates will get less time due to the confusion over the quota implementation.

According to Dinesh Varma, chief administrative officer of IIM-C, “We are awaiting the new circular from the HRD following the Supreme Court’s order today. We interviewed the OBC students on Thursday, but did not publish the results because we were waiting for the final verdict. We will choose nine of them for the 2008-2010 batch”.

Similarly, IIT-KGP’s interviews for the post-graduate programme are scheduled for May 28.

“We will stick to the HRD’s final verdict,” said D Chakraborty, deputy director of IIT-KGP.

A constitution bench on April 10 had cleared implementation of OBC quota but had ordered exclusion of creamy layer.

Only nine students from the OBC category — three per cent — will be admitted on basis of quota this year at the IIM-C.

The institution has increased its intake of students from the existing 300 to 318.

The seven Indian Institutes of Technology; Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, and Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, will implement the other backward classes (OBC) quota over the next three years to achieve the mandatory 27 per cent reservation.

To make room for candidates from OBC quota, these institutes will earmark nine per cent of the total seats for them and increase the overall number of seats by 13 per cent from the present academic year.

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Calcutta HC stays quotas in IIM & IIT

In a jolt to pro-reservationists, the Calcutta High Court today (May 14) stayed quota for OBCs in post-graduate courses in Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and stopped interview of OBC candidates for the same.

Justice Maharaj Sinha, in an ex-parte interim order, granted the stay on a petition by Sayan Guha, a B-Tech student challenging the HRD ministry’s memorandum and also the IIM-C interview scheduled for tomorrow.

The interim order stayed till June nine the operation of the reservation clause of IIM prospectus and also the resolution of office memorandum dated April 20, 2008 passed by the HRD ministry.

The matter would come up for hearing again on June nine. IIM-C had scheduled the special interview of OBC students following the HRD memorandum.

Guha’s counsels Kishore Dutta and Nilava Bandopadhyay told the court that the office memo and the subsequent reservation clause were in violation of the April 10 Supreme Court order on reservation of OBCs that had set a yardstick for such quotas and defined the creamy layer that would be out of the purview of reservation.

They said while the apex court had directed that graduates would not be considered for reservation, the HRD ministry had in violation of that passed an office memo to the effect that OBC students would get reservation in post-graduate courses.

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Stress-free CAT

Students are often unsure about their ability to crack the formidable CAT, and this belief has created the CAT is tough myth, which gets propagated from year to year. A person getting 70 percentile in the CAT normally feels that the CAT was not meant for him.

However, logically speaking, if you were to consider the data of the last CAT, each question carried four positive marks if it was answered correctly and one negative mark if incorrect. Also consider the fact that a student who got 70-80 percentile in CAT 2006 paper would have got a net score in the range of 75- 85 marks (out of 300), while a student who got a score of 110 marks in the same test ended up with a 98-99 percentile score. This means very clearly that there was a gap of only about 30 marks separating a 70 percentiler (who ends up considering that he/she was too far away from clearing the CAT for the IIMs) from a student who might now be studying at the IIMs. At the rate of five marks per question (+4,-1 marking scheme) this would effectively translate into a gap of just six questions!

In other words just six errors can take you from a B-grade B-school straight into the IIMs. This is the reason why what you do in the remaining preparation time becomes very crucial.

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Distance Education and Ashworth High School Provides Continuity for Military Families

It’s a familiar story. Military kids leaving behind their friends at one base, and then having to re-adjust at a new school. Sometimes more than once during a school year. Military parents are sensitive, but when the transfer order comes in – military personnel have no choice but to start packing.

According to a U.S. Department of Defense report, there are well over a million military kids attending U.S. public schools, and that number is expected to rise. Second only to family, school is the most important stabilizing force in the lives of young people. It’s not uncommon for military children to move as many as 15 times before graduating from high school.

Education curriculum and education requirements can vary tremendously between states and between school districts. However, for service members, distance education is one way to ensure that their high school children’s education isn’t interrupted each time a new duty station calls. Whether based in California or Germany, parents can feel confident that their child is receiving a consistent, accredited high school diploma.

Distance education institutions like Ashworth High School can provide serious relief for military families with high school age children. Students have the option of receiving a diploma from Ashworth or quickly making up lost credits. Ashworth High School is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and offers diplomas at the general education or college preparatory level – either correspondence or online.

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ISO puts standard for Microsoft’s OOXML document formats on hold

In another setback to software giant Microsoft, it will have to wait for “several months” before the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) can take a final decision on whether its Office Open XML (OOXML) file format will be an international standard or not.

ISO, which was expected to take this decision shortly, had given participating countries two months’ to appeal against its February decision to make OOXML an international standard. In response, four national standards body members — Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela — did so.

“…the appeals are currently being considered by the ISO secretary-general and the IEC general secretary who, within a period of 30 days (to the end of June), and following whatever consultations they judge appropriate, are required to submit the appeals, with their comments, to the ISO Technical Management Board and the IEC Standardisation Management Board,” an ISO statement reads. The two management boards will then decide whether the appeals should be further processed or not. If they decide in favour of proceeding, the chairmen of the two boards are required to establish a conciliation panel, which will attempt to resolve the appeals. The process could take several months.

Late last month, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay, had taken a strong objection to the fact that despite a ‘no’ to OOXML by a majority of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) members in September 2007, the software giant “continued to make representations to the top Indian leadership (read Ministry of Consumer Affairs), pressurising them to change the Indian vote”. Deepak B Phatak of IIT Bombay had sent an open letter in this regard to all BIS members. The BIS represented India as a participating member of ISO and was responsible for examining OOXML and deciding on a ‘no’ regarding India’s position at the ISO.

Microsoft had declined to comment on the specific issue of withdrawing the complaint, but a spokesperson had said: “We would just like to reiterate our respect for both IIT-Bombay as an esteemed echelon of learning, and Phatak as one of its most respected educators. The issue raised with the government about certain members of the BIS committee having a possible bias was an issue we were genuinely concerned about and had fair grounds to believe. It was not targeted at a specific organisation or individual.”

The OOXML format is backed by Apple, Novell, and closer home by Wipro, Infosys, TCS, and Nasscom. The other format — the Open Document Format (ODF) — is supported by the likes of IBM, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat, Google, and in India, by the Department of Information Technology (DIT), National Informatics Centre (NIC), CDAC, IIT-Bombay and IIM-Ahmedabad.

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BRCC technology center opens

Blue Ridge Community College proved it is prepared for the global economy after it formally opened a new state-of-the-art technology center on Wednesday.

The college that once centered on teaching horticulture unveiled its $1.6 million Technology Education and Development Center (TEDC) on the East Flat Rock Campus.

The TEDC houses computer labs and classrooms to educate students in information systems, computers and Web technologies.

It’s important to have the technological center in Henderson County, Board of Commissioners Chairman Bill Moyer told an audience at the TEDC. He said the facility is essential to the county’s economic development in the midst of a changing global economy.

There is also an increased role for knowledge, innovations and technology to compete and differentiate from other counties and international markets.

Moyer said the message the TEDC is sending is very important – that Henderson County recognizes it’s in a fast-paced global economy.

“To not keep up is to lose, and the price of losing business is extremely high,” Moyer added. “By providing the latest training for our students and workers and staying up with, and ahead of, the latest technologies is the key.”

Henderson County funded the new technological development center.

There are several facilities inside the three-story TEDC that can be used to train people for jobs in the fast-moving technology industry, including a virtual reality center known as the CAVE and a digital media center.

The new center has been in the making for three years, according to BRCC President Molly Parkhill.

“Our college had a vision to have a place where a state-of-the-art technology center could take place,” she said. “We are going to better prepare our students, attract new industries to Henderson County and have a prepared work force.”

There are several resources available for training students at the TEDC.

The Virtual Reality Center will train individuals in a virtual environment with three-dimensional displays. The new 3-D visualization technology will help firefighters and other rescue personnel train in a real-time simulation. The hi-tech learning center will be completed in three to six months.

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Every year robots from the best engineering colleges of Asia clash to compete in the undergraduate world of mechatronics

Every year robots from the best engineering colleges of Asia clash to compete in the undergraduate world of mechatronics

Every year robots from the best engineering colleges of Asia clash to compete in the undergraduate world of mechatronics. Organised every year by the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union, the latest edition of Robocon is scheduled for August 27, 2007 in Hanoi, Vietnam. But before that competitions are held to decide which team would represent their country. In India, this competition is called DD-MIT Roboconlndia and was won this year by the team from IIT-Delhi. The team is now looking for sponsors who would help them in their battle at the finals.

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IIT alumnus unveils cells that make brain imaging possible

An IIT-Kanpur alumnus, currently associated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says that he and his colleagues have unravelled the mystery as to what makes non-invasive brain scans possible.

Mriganka Sur, Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neuroscience and head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, has revealed that star-shaped brain cells called astrocytes are key to the working of imaging techniques like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).

Such techniques have transformed neuroscience by providing colourful maps of brain activity in living subjects. The scans’ reds, oranges, yellows and blues represent changes in blood flow and volume triggered by neural activity.

Sur points out that no one knew exactly why this worked until the latest MIT study was out.

“Why blood flow is linked to neuronal activity has been a mystery. Previously, people have argued that the fMRI signal reports local field potentials or waves of incoming electrical activity, but neurons do not connect directly to blood vessels. A causal link between neuronal activity and blood flow has never been shown,” said Sur, who is a co-author on the study reported in the journal Science.

Astrocytes are the most common type of glia cells in the brain, and they extend their branching tendrils both around synapses through which neurons communicate, and along blood vessels.

Sur and his colleagues used a cutting-edge technique in their study, and found that astrocytes receive signals directly from neurons and provide their own neuron-like responses to directly regulate blood flow.

He said that astrocytes are the missing link between neurons and blood vessels, and that fMRI does not work when astrocytes are shut down.

“Astrocytes are implicated in many brain disorders and express a very large number of genes that are in the brain. Their role is crucial for understanding brain dysfunction as well as for developing potential therapeutics,” Sur said.
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BPO firm ropes in IIM Lucknow for management tips

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Leading business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Genpact has roped in professors from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Lucknow to give its employees lessons in management skills and improving productivity. Through electronically enabled interactive sessions, workers at Genpact’s operation hubs in Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Jaipur will learn the finer nuances of management, soft skills and strategic planning from senior professors of the business school.

This is an e-certificate programme in general management (e-CPGM) and there are 119 participants, most of whom have worked for one to three years.

“The objective of this programme is to develop managerial capabilities among people who are at the early stages of their career to enable them to effectively undertake managerial responsibilities,” said Ajay Singh, course director of IIM Lucknow.

The programme is divided into 12 modules. Keeping in mind the requirements of the industry, the modules are designed to create managerial and leadership competence among the professionals. There are 120 hours of e-enabled interactive sessions.

Singh said the programme was being run from IIM Lucknow’s Noida campus, which was being developed as a centre of excellence in the area of executive education.

The India headquartered Genpact operates service delivery centres in India, China, Hungary, Mexico, the Philippines, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the US.

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Applied Materials Opens Nanotech Lab @ IIT Bombay

Applied Materials, Inc., a provider of nanomanufacturing technology solutions, has opened Nanomanufacturing lab at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. The company has contributed equipment worth $7.5 million to the Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics at IIT Bombay. The centre will serve as a research and educational platform and for faculty, students and researchers in India to work on breakthrough ideas to invent and innovate technologies that will have an impact on solving current as well as future problems of semiconductor technology. IIT Bombay has decided to name the laboratory as Applied Materials Nanomanufacturing Laboratory

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