IIT-Hyderabad to start India's first BTech course in AI

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad is set to start a full-fledged B Tech programme in artificial intelligence (AI) from this year.

With the launch of the programme in AI from the academic session beginning 2019, the IIT-Hyderabad will become a first technical institute in India to offer such a full-fledged course at undergraduate level.

“It will also be the third institute globally, after Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both of which are in the US, to offer such a programme,” the premier technical institute said in a statement on Thursday.

The B Tech programme will have an intake of around 20 students, who will be admitted on the basis of their performance in the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Advanced, to be held by the IITs in the coming months.

The IIT-Hyderabad already offers an M Tech programme in AI-machine learning.

“The basic aim is to create a complete ecosystem for the AI academics and research at IIT-Hyderabad. This involves B Tech, M Tech and different minor programmes in AI. Moreover, R&D (research and development) will be strongly entwined with academics,” the institute's director U B Desai said, underlining the importance of the course.

Students graduating from these programmes will apply their training to become leaders in the industry and academia, and contribute to building “a better future for India and the world,” he hoped.

The programme comprises algorithms from computer science department of the institute, signal processing from the electrical engineering department, robotics from the mechanical engineering department and mathematical foundations.

It will also focus on application verticals “such as healthcare, agriculture, smart mobility, among many others.”

“The ethical impact of AI and its technologies on areas such as privacy, bias and related issues will be a key component” of this programme. It is important that the next generation of people trained in AI should be sensitised to these things and are cognizant of the impact of the technology they develop,” Desai said.

Vineeth N Balasubramanian, associate professor, department of computer science and engineering, said the programme will make students “very sought after by the industry” as their training will be comprehensive and well-rounded when working on smart AI-based technology solutions.

The IIT-Hyderabad is one of the six new IITs set up in 2008. It has been ranked among the top 10 institutes for three consecutive years in all-India ranking of higher education institutions conducted under the human resource development ministry every year.

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