Vijay Pandurang Bhatkar, a technocrat who is considered the father of the Indian Supercomputer, has been appointed the new Vice-Chancellor of Nalanda University, Rajgir, in Bihar. President Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as Visitor to Nalanda University, named Bhatkar for the post with effect from January 25.
He will hold the office for a three-year period from the date of his appointment as per the Nalanda University Act, Sec 11(3). Bhatkar, 70, replaces Gopa Sabharwal who resigned on November 24 last year, followed by the resignation of Chancellor George Yeo, after the dissolution of the Mentor Group which functioned as the governing body of the university.
Born on October 11, 1946 in Pune, Bhatkar was educated at IIT, Delhi, Sir Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur and MS University, Vadodara. He is known as the architect of India’s initiative in supercomputing, the Centre of Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune founded in 1988, leading to the development of the first indigenous supercomputer Param 8,000 in 1991, followed by Param 10,000 in 1998.
Bhatkar has served as member, Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet at the Centre, and governing board of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. He has also been honoured with the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, the fourth and third highest civilian honours in India.
Established in November 2010 as a Central University, Nalanda University is spread over a 443-acres campus and started offering academic programmes in 2014. It is a dream project of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Several international personalities like Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, George Yeo, former Foreign Minister of Singapore, Sugata Bose of Harvard University, Lord Meghnad Desai of London School of Economics and other dignitaries have been involved with Nalanda University since its founding.