Alumni gift $1 million to IIT-Madras

Alumni gift $1 million to IIT-Madras

Silicon Valley-based Distinguished Alumni of IIT Madras, Dr. Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayanan, have donated $ 1 million to create a corpus that will fund Visiting Chairs in CSE (Computer Science & Engineering) to lead research on data-driven approaches to solve important problems.

The Visiting Chairs will enhance teaching and research efforts in this area, and help attract outstanding young faculty, students, research scholars and postdocs to the CSE Department at IIT Madras.

The initiative will be named “Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman Visiting Chair Program”.

The Chair Professor(s) will have demonstrated thought leadership in his/ her chosen field, and will be expected to have significant impact at IIT Madras on research thrusts in allied areas. He/ she will be expected to collaborate extensively with faculty at IIT Madras engaged in aligned fields of research, and also help the Institute build up capability in this emerging area.

The Chair Professor is expected get involved in a range of activities including teaching or co-teaching of UG and graduate courses, co-advising IITM students, and assisting in recruitment of post-doctoral fellows.

Nominees for the Chair may be proposed by faculty in the CSE Department or by the Advisory Committee. Three eminent scientists— Prof. Jeffrey Ullman at Stanford University, Prof. Randy Katz at UC-Berkeley and Prof. Hari Balakrishnan at MIT– have already indicated their willingness to serve as Chairs at the launch of the program.

Prof. Katz expressed his view that “this new Visiting Chair program will spark a great connection between the international Computer Science research community and one of the leading centers of Computer Science education and research in India. Our programs have benefited by having many outstanding students from India joining our graduate programs; now, I will have the opportunity to see where they are trained, and to interact with them on leading edge concepts at the forefront of Computer Science research. I’m looking forward to an exciting and substantive engagement in this rapidly developing center of the computer science world”.

Dr. Anand Rajaraman and Venky observed that “data-driven approaches are transforming the world we live in. The impact of data and algorithms is being felt in every field of human endeavor — industry, sciences, humanities, and government. It gives us great pleasure to enable IIT Madras to contribute to the research work in this field, and join the ranks of the select few institutions that are inventing the future.”

The Head of the Department of CSE at IIT Madras, Prof. Krishna Sivalingam, welcomed the Endowment, as “a measure that can strengthen our Department and make us more competitive globally in data sciences, considering the excellent opportunities that it provides for interaction with renowned researchers worldwide”.