Friday, 20 March 2015

IISC Open Day 2015

Note : This post is about my experience during the IISc Open Day 2015. As I am a Computer Science student, I focussed my tour in the CSA and SERC Departments only. As much as I wished to cover other departments, there was no time to cover all of them. I managed only a few.

Open Days are fun and exciting, the whole atmosphere feels like a country side carnival. Almost everything in the university, from the decorated departments to the banners and posters and stalls heightens the energy levels among the audience as well as the participants. The environment is just perfect. I loved the feel of the IISc Open Day 2015. Everyone, from kids to parents were bubbling with enthusiasm. The kids eyes were filled with curiosity to learn and obtain answers to all their questions. Scenes of students flocking together to the demos and experiments section, reminded me of the golden days of school exhibitions. It brought back memories from fun science trick experiments we did and intimidated  the other kids in class. Those days were great. We did what we loved. 

SERC Open Day Banner

At Indian Institute of Science, Open Day is that day the university invites the public to view the work of its Students, Research Scholars and Professors. It is during this day, when the public gets access to information about the creative work and whereabouts of the university. The major goal of the Open Day is to showcase the talent and social impact of the work being carried out in the campus. A large percentage of the IISc Open Day audience are school children and undergraduate college students, who are keen to learn about the scientific research being pursued at the oldest and most renowned university in India. I was looking forward to this day for two main reasons. The first being, I was a volunteer for the SERC Department for the Open Day activities and secondly, I too like the other undergraduate kids, was excited to learn about the amazing work being carried out at other labs in the campus. During my last two months as a Research Intern, I was told about the cutting-edge research carried out at my lab and the neighbouring ones. I was however curious to learn about the other labs in the SERC, CSA, and other Departments as well. The Open Day, served this purpose well for me. 

Poster for SERC Open Day 2015 
Being a part of the SERC's ( Supercomputing Education and Research Centre) first ever Open Day was even more exciting for me. The weeks before the Open Day, we had volunteer meetings to plan the events. There are about 12 labs in SERC and each lab had volunteered to hold activities showcasing their work. I tagged along with my labmate to the meetings and decided to help. We discussed about the various events that we would be holding for the audience on Feb 28, 2015. A multitude of activities such as online coding competitions to be held on HackerRank, fun activities involving science and technology for kids, onspot quiz competition,  exciting talks, demos, and poster presentation from all the labs in the Department were decided. The Prizes ranged from Internship opportunity at SERC to IISc goodies such as T-shirts and mugs.  The whole goodies part excited me :D We also planned to design a t-shirt for the occasion and my lab guys decided to help with the design. However, we did not have the t-shirts ready by the proposed day due to few technical difficulties and the plan was dropped. I liked the design though. I have posted a picture of the t-shirt below. 

The SuperComputing t-shirt.
The Superman logo was a metaphor for SuperComputing.
Designed by Adarsh :D
Back View. 
On the day of the Open Day, my work was to stand by my lab poster and explain it to the audience. I was also organizing the Interactive Demo called " We Can Track You",  as shown in the poster below. However, due to a failure in the hardware equipment I couldn't go forwards with it. The event was to showcase real time detection of facial emotions of people by using Computer Vision Algorithms. I was a bit disappointed about the demo getting cancelled, but on the bright side, preparing for the event was a good enough experience for me. Below are images of the posters of the interactive demos, interesting talks and Poster sessions that were being conducted at SERC on its first Open Day.

Interactive Demos at SERC

Poster Presentation

The Exciting talks @ SERC

A few days to the Open Day, I  sent out personal invites to my friends and family, who I presumed would be interested to attend the Open Day. Since, most of my classmates from my undergraduate college were Interning at companies in Bangalore, it was more easy to convince them to attend. One of my colleague and college mate from undergrad, who is also interning at IISc, was giving a talk on Big Data called "From Big Data to Big Knowledge".  The day before the Open Day, we sat together and rehearsed his presentation. I was pretty excited about the portion of his presentation wherein he would be talking about IBM Watson and its ability to master the American game show 'Jeopardy'.  Two of my good friends, who are currently interning at CISCO and CITRIX agreed to attend the IISc Open Day with me. 
Selfie with the fastest SuperComputer in India

Lab Poster Presentation 

Picture with friends at SERC.
Left - Vamshi Reddy Centre - Girish Kumar and Right - Me

XRCI Director giving a talk at the CSA Dept, IISc
on the Open Day 2015

Flower Show at the Main Building  for the visitors

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