Updated: August 25, 2020 12:50:25 pm
THE INDIAN Institute of Technology, Bombay, on Sunday used virtual reality (VR) to hold its 58th convocation amid the coronavirus outbreak. The programme, where the animated digital avatars of the institute’s senate members shared the stage and personalised avatars of students given away certificates, was telecast on DD Sahyadri and social media platforms.
A statement released by the institute said: “The institute thought it best to arrange such a VR-convocation for the graduating students as we did not wish to put their health at risk but at the same time, we did not wish to deprive them of the sense of achievement and pride of passing out of India’s premier engineering Institute.”
Personalised avatars of each graduate, it stated, received the degree certificate from the digital avatar of director Subhasis Chaudhuri, while all medal winners received their medals from the personalised avatar of the chief guest, Professor Duncan Haldane, co-recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics and a professor at Princeton University. The digital avatars of the institute’s senate members, who were seen sharing the stage, had been videographed individually and assembled digitally, the institute said.
In his address, the guest of honour, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone, Stephen Schwarzman, said: “India occupies a unique position in the world today, especially when it comes to technology, where it has established global leadership through its talent. Of the 72 Indian-origin engineers who have founded unicorns across the world, 50 per cent are IIT alumni. IIT engineers are defining the global technology landscape and the newest alumni will be the next generation of future global leaders who will advance that mission. You, IIT Bombay graduates, must seize the opportunity to be leaders of impact who are a force for change — and for good — in this world.”
Earlier, in keeping with the tradition, the ceremony had begun with the institute’s song and was then declared open by director Dr Subhasis Chaudhari, who also read out the institute’s annual report. A virtual tour of IIT Bombay’s campus, hostels and departments was also scheduled.
The graduating students this year include 381 PhDs, 18 dual degrees of MTech/MPhil and PhD, and 27 dual degrees of MSc and PhD. Of them, 39 research scholars received the award of ‘Excellence in PhD Research’ for 2018-20. In addition, 33 joint PhD degrees, in association with Monash University, were also conferred by the vice-chancellor and president of Monash University Professor Margaret Gardner.
This year, a PhD degree under the joint supervision with Washington University in St Louis, USA, and two Cotutelle PhD degrees, one each in agreement with University of Wollongong, Australia, and with Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Canada, were also awarded.
Three students were presented with gold medals for their exemplary performance. The ‘President of India Medal’ was bestowed on Sahil Hiral Shah, a (BTech) student from the department of computer science and engineering. The ‘Institute Gold Medal, 2018-19’ was awarded to Shashwat Shukla, a student from the department of electrical engineering. The ‘Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma Gold Medal’ was conferred on Prakash Singh Badal, a PhD student from the department of civil engineering. Additionally, departmental toppers were presented with silver medals by the chief guest.
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