The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has established an independent ‘School of Artificial Intelligence (ScAI)’ on its campus. This makes it the sixth school of the campus. The new school will begin its PhD program from the next admission cycle – January 2021. The institute is also planning to offer postgraduate level degree courses at a later stage. The IIT claims that after achieving a critical mass of core AI researchers, professional-level educational programs will also be introduced.
“A program in AI is needed because current degrees are broad-based, and do not make it easy for students to learn the depths of different subfields within AI,” said IIT-Delhi director. The School aims to “cement IIT Delhi’s leadership position in India and considerably improve its global standing”, the institute said in a statement Wednesday.
“One of the goals of setting up ScAI is also to strengthen IIT Delhi’s place on the global map of AI”, he said.
ScAI will have a flexible faculty model – it will have “core faculty, joint faculty, and adjunct faculty members who may also be from the industry”.
“The future progress of a nation will depend on its AI capability,” said V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT-Delhi said. He also added that while India is ranked fifth in the world in the most number of AI companies and jobs, it lags in “some very important aspects, specifically in the number of AI researchers.” He claims that this school will help in filling this gap.
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Under the school, IIT aims to bring together more than 50 IIT-Delhi faculty members individually invested in various aspects of the field. A cohesive group in AI will allow focused hiring of faculty members and students to increase global visibility, as per the institute. “It will become a one-stop center for industry or government interested in collaborating or funding AI innovations,” claims the IIT.
The new school also aims to provide a platform for industry, government, and civil society entities to share their domain problems, which will then be matched with IIT-Delhi faculty with the relevant expertise.
ScAI expects to hire at least 20 core faculty members in the next 10 years. As ScAI gets started, several existing faculty members in the institute are likely to take joint appointments in the school, and provide early directions to it. Finally, adjunct faculty members will be those who are full-time in another department, but will interact with ScAI’s faculty members on research initiatives, and may also teach elective courses, the IIT-Delhi informed.
Prof Mausam, School of AI’s Founding Head said, “Core faculty members will be those who consider AI, or its applications in various domain areas (e.g., healthcare, transportation), as their main research area. Core faculty members will also be responsible for developing the School and will be deeply invested in its success.”
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