What's up Lately at ACM India

January 7, 2020

Dear Friends @ ACM India,

Greetings for the new year 2020! May this year bring all success and prosperity to you and your family.

This is my regularly irregular update about “what’s up lately at ACM India”. A longish mail as usual, but hopefully worth a few minutes’ read for an overview of our activities and initiatives.

What’s happened recently

ACM India Doctoral Dissertation Awards

The ACM India Doctoral Dissertation Awards for 2020 are out! Please join me in congratulating:

  • Jatin Batra (IIT Delhi) on winning the award for his thesis titled “Dynamic Programming for Scheduling Problems”; and
  • K. Venkatesh Emani (IIT Bombay) as honorable mention for his thesis titled “Optimization of Data Access from Imperative Programs Using Static Analysis”

The dissertations will be published in the ACM Digital Library. Thanks to TCS for being the founding sponsor for these awards.

Distinguished ACM Member

Let’s also congratulate Shourya Roy who joined the elite list of Distinguished ACM Members for 2019!

Compute 2019

Compute 2019, the latest edition of ACM India’s annual symposium focusing on improving the quality of India’s computing education, took place in Goa in October. It is good to see ever-increasing participation from industry as well as educators across the tiers of India’s educational institutions. The first day’s agenda included a global flavor too, with representation from Computing Curricula 2020. CC2020 is an international effort by ACM and the IEEE Computer Society to provide guidelines for future computing curricula. It is early days yet, but preparations are already afoot for Compute 2020 to be held in Nagpur in November, so you may want to mark your calendars well in advance.

India Region Special section in CACM

The India Region Special section of Communications of ACM came out with the November 2019 issue. It is a must-read for a glimpse of the unique problems, opportunities, and exciting work in computing from the Indian subcontinent.

Membership rates

From 1 October, the India membership rates were revised upwards a bit. A little before that, we also released an option to buy or renew the basic membership for up to five years in one go. It was very gratifying to see members taking advantage of the “limited time offer” of renewal before the rates went up, as evident from the surge in (multi-year) memberships in the last few days of September. As existing members, do encourage your fellow students and colleagues to join ACM, and help grow the community for advancing computing.

And just in case you missed it, those ACM India members who had to pay in USD for historical reasons, you can now renew the membership in INR using India rates. When the subscription comes up for renewal, you will see an option for INR rates for the basic membership.

Summer and Winter Schools

After the sustained success of ACM India Summer Schools, we ventured into organizing Winter Schools this year, and again got positive response from students across India. Three Winter Schools have concluded successfully, and one is starting this week. We have started rolling out the proposal forms for those institutions willing to host and the industries wishing to sponsor a Summer School 2020. Please write to me soon if interested, as we can organize only a limited number of Summer Schools.

Best Student Chapters

Attention ACM India Student Chapters: As you doubtless know, the Best Student Chapter Award now carries a prize, sponsored by Icertis. We have received submissions from the chapters contending for the award, and the evaluation process is on. The winners will be announced in time for Annual Event 2020, where the awards will be presented.

CSpathshala

CSpathshala conducted the 2019 Bebras International Computational Thinking (CT) Challenge in 4 languages in November. Over 170,000 students in age groups 8-18 years participated in the challenge. CSpathshala has also partnered with Sakal newspaper to publish Bebras tasks in its NIE (Newspaper in Education) so as to expose rural students to CT. Sakal NIE has a subscription of 35,000 students from 300 schools across Maharashtra. After the success of first CTiS (Computational Thinking in Schools) conference in April 2019 that saw participation of 100+ teachers, 2 regional events in Nagpur and Vijayawada are planned before the main event in April 2020.

Hackathon for women

ACM-W conducted the 4th National ACM India Women’s Hackathon at SICSR Pune in November. Out of 130 submissions, 10 were short-listed for the finals during the hackathon. Congratulations to Team EVCA from IIT Mandi for securing first place, Team Landslide from PICT Pune for second place, Team Innovators from MIT ADT University Pune for third place, and Team DAS from BCA SICSR as special mention!

What’s coming in early 2020

Conferences and Events

Our premier conference on Data Science and Management of Data (CODS COMAD) 2020 started on 5 January in Hyderabad. I am sure many of you would have traveled to Hyderabad over the weekend.

1st Workshop on Autonomous and Intelligent Mobile Systems (AIMS 2020), the flagship event of new ACM India IMOBILE SIG takes place on 11 January in Bengaluru. AIMS 2020 is co-located with COMSNETS 2020, another reputed international conference annually hosted in India.

I would like to invite you to ACM India’s co-located conferences: IRISS and Annual Event 2020 hosted at IIT Gandhinagar on 13-15 February. IRISS has the best student research from India on display while Annual Event takes pride in providing the opportunity to interact with some of the most eminent contributors to the field of computing. This year’s keynote speakers include the recent Turing Prize laureate Yann LeCun, ACM Prize in Computing winner Shwetak Patel, Leibniz prize winner Susanne Albers and Eugene Lawler award winner M Balakrishnan. More details like registration and agenda are available on the respective event websites.

And then there is Innovations in Software Engineering Conference (the name says it all) on 27-29 February in Jabalpur. Keep an eye out for the final program and registration details on ISEC 2020.

Awards

Awards are an important means to acknowledge as well as inspire great contributions. As I mentioned above, ACM India gives out two awards (Best Doctoral Dissertation and Best Student Chapter) annually. The recently formed Awards Steering Committee will soon be announcing a few more prestigious awards for outstanding contributions in different aspects of computing from India.

Industry Webinars

Now that our Industry Webinar Series has become a regular feature, we are planning another industry specific initiative: ACM India Industry Boot Camps. We will again pick technology topics of industry relevance where experts from industry and academia will conduct a 2-3 day boot camp for participants from Indian industry. The first one will be toward the end of this quarter in Pune. The topic is Blockchain, coincidentally, the same one with which we launched the webinar series!

Elections

It’s time for nominating candidates for elections to the 6 openings coming up at ACM India Council in mid-2020. Typically the candidates should have considerable experience of volunteer work, participation or organization with professional organizations such as ACM. You can send recommendations to Madhavan Mukund, the Nominations Committee Chair, at madhavan@cmi.ac.in by 4 February 2020. You will find more details in the call for nominations posted on the ACM India website.

For the planned initiatives above, the specifics are still being worked out, but I could not pass up this opportunity of early heads-up!

This is a representative list of existing and planned initiatives. Hope it inspires you to participate, or even take leadership roles. Feel free to write with your suggestions and feedback.

Regards,
Hemant

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