What's up Lately at ACM India

August 15, 2019

Dear Friends @ ACM India,

Wishing you all a very happy Independence Day! As we celebrate one of our most important festivals as a nation, let me take the opportunity to bring you up to date on the exciting happenings at ACM India over the last few months.

My last update was on 10 April 2019. Time flies when there are many important and interesting developments taking place which engage us. Here is a look at them. Not necessarily chronological. And certainly cannot claim to be exhaustive given the diversity of activities that we collectively do.

The New Website

Have you taken a look at the brand new website of ACM India? Thanks to migration to the new CMS platform and the efforts put in by the webmasters at ACM HQ, it is now more maintainable and configurable, and looks quite impressive too. Do take a moment to navigate the site and get a feel for all aspects of ACM India.

What’s New in Membership

There were multiple requests from members that there be an option to initiate or renew ACM India professional membership for multiple years in one go. This facility is now available since June 2019. You must have seen the announcement, and in any case the Professional Membership application form is also accessible via https://india.acm.org by clicking the "Membership" tab.

Talking about membership, here are a couple of changes in the offing:

  • The membership fees were set 10 years ago, and were pegged at equivalent to $20 then. We have now decided to revise the fees, but still retain them around $20 at today’s rate. In other words, the professional membership fee will be Rs1500 + 18% GST, and the student membership fee will be Rs1250 + 18% GST. This change will be effective 1 October, so it might be a good idea to renew or take up new membership before the rate increase! You can also take the benefit of multi-year option while you're at it.
  • Many of our fellow members started their subscription quite some time ago by paying in USD. They have had to renew their membership by continuing to pay in USD in order to retain their membership continuity. Happy to announce that effective 1 October, they can renew their basic membership by paying in INR, using the India rates mentioned above.

Eminent Speaker Program (ESP) Update

ESP has now entered v2.0 with revised list of eminent speakers from Indian academia and industry as the previous term expired in April 2019. We will be adding more speakers during the year. Another enhancement we have made to the program is that ACM India chapters and organizations can now invite India-based Distinguished Speakers of ACM also. Visit the ESP page for details.

Summer Schools Leading to Winter Schools

Like previous years, the summer schools this year were quite successful, with 234 students (58% Male, 42% Female split) attending the 7 summer schools. Encouraged by the response, we are planning to conduct a few winter schools of about two weeks in December/January. Keep an eye out for the announcement in early September.

ACM India Chapters Technology Solution Contest

From 125 submissions to this first year of the contest, we had successive selection rounds down to 8 finalists for the Grand Finale which took place at the Chapters Summit on 10 August at Manipal University Jaipur. Congratulations to the Winner MobiVSR from IIITD Student Chapter, 1st Runners-up BrilTab EduKit-1 from Chitkara Student Chapter, 2nd Runners-up EcoDrive from KLS Gogate Institute Student Chapter, and to the finalists. Hope the solutions will be useful for society in solving real-life challenges. Thanks are also due to Icertis for sponsoring the contest prizes.

Sponsorship for the Best Student Chapter Awards

Thanks again to sponsorship from Icertis, one of our Platinum partners, the ACM India Best Student Chapter awards are now accompanied by a prize of Rs 1 Lakh for the Winner and Rs 50,000 for the Runners-up. With this added incentive, let the Student Chapters compete with increased vigour for the prestigious award based on their contributions to computing. Stand by for the submissions announcement later this year.

Doctoral Dissertation Award

While on the topic of awards, the nomination window for Best Doctoral Dissertation Award is now open. TCS, another Platinum partner of ACM India, is the founding sponsor of this award. In fact the nominations must be received by 31 August, so please rush your entries. You can find more details in the DDA announcement.

Industry Webinars Continued

The latest session on 3 August was by Monish Darda, co-founder and CTO of Icertis. The topic "The Ethics of AI: Musk versus Bezos" naturally generated a lot of interest as evidenced by enthusiastic attendance and Q&A session. Those who registered for the webinar can access the on-demand replay of the webinar and those who didn’t can also do so by registering at any time. Prior to that, on 1 June 2019, Gargi Dasgupta, Director for IBM Research in India and CTO for IBM India/South Asia, spoke on "Cognitive Technology Support". Again, you can visit and replay the webinar on-demand any time via this link . We will continue these webinars by leading technology experts from Indian industry every alternate month, the next one slated for early October.

New! ACM India Blogs

Blogs provide an excellent channel for continuous sharing of ideas and opinions. We have very recently launched blog series on “Formal Methods and Theory B” and “Software Engineering”, with “Data Management and Data Science” about to be kicked off shortly. If you are interested in these areas, do subscribe to the respective blogs as reader or better still, as contributor.

Recognition and Visibility of Contribution from India

Please join me in congratulating Meenakshi Balakrishnan for receiving ACM Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics . Also Sanjiva Prasad was featured in the “People of ACM” bulletin recently.

Welcome the new ACM-W India Council

As of 1 July 2019, we have a new ACM-W India Council take charge with Heena Timani as Chair. The new council will continue to provide social and professional support for women in computing. On 13 July, ACM-W India conducted the Celebrations of Women in Computing (AICWiC 2019) at IIT Gandhinagar. Also, the fourth ACM-W India National Level Hackathon 2019 for Women in Computing is coming up on 16-17 November in Pune.

COMPUTE 2019 Is Coming

ACM India’s 12th annual COMPUTE conference will take place at Goa University on 10-12 October 2019. The focus of COMPUTE 2019 is towards improving the quality of computing education in India. Hope to see some of you interested in computing education there in Goa soon!

CODS-COMAD 2020 Submission Deadline Approaches

The ACM India Joint International Conference on Data Sciences and Management of Data (CoDS-COMAD 2020) will be held in Hyderabad, India, on 5-7 January 2020. The submission deadlines for various tracks of this premier conference are quite imminent. Take a look at the call for papers and make sure you don’t miss the dates.

A New India SIG Is Born!

You may have seen the announcement of formation of the new IMOBILE India Chapter of ACM SIGMOBILE, as a forum for researchers and practitioners in India contributing to the theory and practice of all areas related to the mobility of systems, users, data, and computing. Close on the heels of their formation, IMOBILE ACM Chapter has announced its flagship event, ACM AIMS to be held on 10 January 2020 in Bangalore. The submission deadline is 6 September as you can see from the call for papers.

Hope this gives you a good idea of the activities going on across the breadth of ACM India. Please feel free to volunteer for whichever aspect that excites you. Every bit counts. And finally, please do not hesitate to write to me with any suggestions or feedback.

Regards,
Hemant

Hemant Pande, PhD
Executive Director, ACM India Council
hemant_pande@india.acm.org