Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) director Bimal Roy, who has been nominated for the Padma Shri in the field of Literature and Education this year, said on Wednesday that cryptology, the study of encrypting information, has become highly imperative in these times when increasing information sharing over the electronic media is leaving people vulnerable.
The statistician who is serving as ISI director since Aug 1, 2010 had introduced cryptology as a full-fledged course in the ISI curriculum back in 1991. Then the NITs and the IITs gradually took it and now it is taught as a postgraduate course across the country. Roy currently heads the Cryptology Research Group (CRG) at ISI-Kolkata.
Roy said he was excited to have been nominated for the civilian award especially because it will help create awareness about cryptology in achieving information security.
“It is an extremely imperative study which will help students make products which are basis to most technical and electronic functions we perform in our everyday lives. These objects are fitted into ATM machines, in digital signature encrypting tools and are used to protect your bank details while you indulge in e-commerce transactions and other such basic electronic executions,” said Roy.
He added that the study needed to be indigenised so that India might achieve self-reliance in the area. “We have been importing these machines from abroad for hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, now that the study has taken root in our country, young men and women are making these machines by themselves at one-tenth or one-twentieth the cost of the imported ones. That is a great achievement,” Roy said.
The ISI director, who completed his higher studies in the ISI, received a PhD in combinatorics and optimisation in 1982 from the University of Waterloo.
Roy, who was thrilled after a chat with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day, said the PM had said he would visit ISI-Kolkata later this year.
“Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited the institute a couple of times during his tenure,” he recalled.