Thursday, January 28, 2010

IBM ties up with IITs

Technology major IBM has tied up with Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) Delhi and Roorkee to jointly promote research in areas of common interest, like green technologies, energy-efficient computing and data mining.Researchers at IIT Delhi will work on energy-efficient computing, with major focus areas being architecture and operating system-level optimisation for bringing down energy consumption in computing environments.With IIT Roorkee, IBM will work on development of data mining algorithms for analysing time series data and applying them to real-life data, such as meteorological data from the Indian peninsula, detecting patterns in changes in the forest cover in India and prediction of natural disasters.
The joint research is part of IBM’s Shared University Research (SUR) initiative where the company awards equipment to universities to promote research in areas of mutual interest besides connecting the research and researchers at the university with personnel who are interested in the research from the IBM research, development and solutions provider communities.In 2007, three Indian universities received around $300,000 (nearly Rs 1.4 crore) from IBM, while in 2008, the SUR grant was around $210,000 (nearly Rs 1 crore).


Public sector giants hogged the limelight at the ongoing placement season at IIT- Madras this year. As in the past, major recruiters were global investment banks, MNCs, leading Indian corporates and some private universities from West Asia and north India. Top PSUs that visited the campus this time include ONGC, DRDO, BHEL, NTPC, Mazagon Docks, Bharti Shipyard, Pipavav Shipyard, deputy registrar and placement offer Lt Col( retd) Jayakumar said, adding HAL too was slated to visit soon. Apart from core engineering companies, that took in as many as 70% of students, finance (7-10%), PSUs (10%) and FMCG (rest) sectors were the other big recruiters. The highest offer, though, came from Tower Research Capital at Rs 28 lakh pa. The company has taken in four students.The biggest offer last year was from oilfield services provider Schlumberger at Rs 22 lakh annually for Indian posting and Rs 44 lakh for overseas. Put together, PSUs took in aound 100 candidates — nearly 10% of the 1,077 students who had registered for plaecments — compared to 35 last year and offered annual packages ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 7.6 lakh. BHEL alone has offered 20 jobs, making it one of the biggest recruiters, next only to Delloitte which has hired 23. While the number of students placed so far, in absolute terms, is similar to that placed last year towards the end of January, average package has gone up 25% at around Rs 8 lakh pa. compared to Rs 6-7 lakh pa. during the 2008-09 session.Some of the first-timers on campus this year were World Quant, Boston Consultancy Group and Dolat Capital. Others on Day 1 included Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, IBM, Tower Research and Goldman Sachs. The Indian Navy too visited the IIT placement session, making five job offers for naval officers in specialised ship-building role. Top private companies that visited this time were L&T, Reliance, Ashok Leyland, Caterpillar, Daimler India, Tata Motors, TVS Motor, Mahindra & Mahindra, Hero Honda and GE. Nissan Motor is also scheduled to visit later this year coinciding with its inauguration of its plant near Chennai. Some students also took up teaching slots at varsities, both Indian and foreign. These include King Abdulaziz University (Saudi Arabia), Mewar University ( Rajasthan) and Lovely Professional University (Ludhiana). IIT Madras (IIT-M ) has marked two days exclusively in its placement calendar for ventures promoted by IIT alumni. Nearly 45 percent students from IIT-Kanpur have been picked up by various public and private sector companies of global repute during the
ongoing campus placement. Like other institutions, IIT-Kanpur too felt the pinch of global recession last year and thus, there was a sharp decline in the placements despite the best efforts made by concerned authorities. Around 120 companies have visited the IIT Bombay campus till date, with 500 offers in their bag. All told, over 180 companies have confirmed their presence.Around eight leading management consultants have visited the campus for recruitment including McKinsey, The Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Co, Booz & Company and The Monitor Group. Alvarez & Marsa has recruited for the first time from IIT Bombay. Other companies which have recruited from the campus include Sony, IBM, Intel, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, Tower Research Capital, Morgan Stanley, J P Morgan, Credit Suisse and Nomura. As many as 60 offers have been made by the financial services sector.At IIT Kharagpur, of the 1,341 students, around 531 have been placed. The highest offer at the institute has been for Rs 22 lakh per annum from Barclays Bank for a placement at Singapore. IIT Roorkee has invited around 1,200 companies to the campus against 800 last year. The institute will place around 1,200 students this year. So far, IBM has made an offer of Rs 14 lakh, which is the highest till date at IIT Roorkee. And at IIT Kanpur, Tower Research Capital, a financial services company from New York, has made the highest offer of Rs 44.5 lakh. These institutes said they have seen a 30 per cent salary hike over last year.A total of 3,031 students from seven IITs were recruited by MNCs through campus selection in 2008, according to figures sourced from the Ministry of Human Resources (MHRD). However, in 2009, the number had almost halved to stand at 1,606 since the effects of the global slowdown had kicked in. For instance, while in 2008, 593 students were selected from IIT- Bombay, this year only 381 students of the institute were selected by MNCs. And while 633 students from IIT-Delhi were recruited by MNCs last year, the number fell to 390 this year.However, this year, the response from companies has been so good that IIT-Kanpur invited around 200 ex-students on the campus to participate in its placement process this year. These students who passed out last year from the campus could not get placed owing to economic slowdown and thereby less participation by companies on the campus.The premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have managed to place between 50 and 70 per cent of students till date. During the same period last year, these institutes had managed to place only around 35 per cent of their students due to the global economic slowdown. IITs began the final placements on December 1, 2009. The process will continue till March 2010.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

child prodigy

A child prodigy is defined as someone under the age of 13 who is capable of excelling in at least one area of skill at a level that is considered to be an adult level in that field. There are child prodigies in all different skills areas including music, math, chess, the arts and even humanities. As long as the child shows demonstrable adult-level skill in one of these areas prior to that age 13 mark, he or she is considered a prodigy in that area. The most famous child prodigies include Mozart for music and Picasso for art.Until now, almost nothing was knownabout the neural basis of exceptional cognitive ability. In a pioneering study in this issue, Pesenti and colleagues have now used functional brain imaging to examine the calculating prodigy RüdigerGamm, and to compare his brain activity with that of normal control subjects asthey perform mental arithmetical calcu-lations. Gamm is remarkable in that he is able (for example) to calculate 9th powers and 5th roots with great accuracy, and he can find the quotient of 2 primes to 60 decimal places. The authors found that Gamm’s calculation processes recruited a system of brain areas implicated in episodic memory, including right medialfrontal .They suggest that experts develop a way of exploiting the unlimited storage capacity of long-term memory to maintain task-relevant information, such as the sequence of steps and intermediate results needed for complex calculation, whereas the restof us rely on the very limited span ofworking memory.A child prodigy is someone who at an early age masters one or more skills at an adult level.Some researchers believe that prodigious talent tends to arise as a result of the innate talent of the child, the energetic and emotional investment that the child ventures, and the personal characteristics of the individual. Others believe that the environment plays the dominant role, many times in obvious ways.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Harish Chandra

Harish Chandra was a renowned physicist and mathematician of India. His father Chandrakishore was a civil engineer. Harish Chandra spent his childhood at his maternal grandfather's home in Kanpur. At an early age he received education from a tutor. He studied at Christ Church High School till the age of fourteen, and passed his intermediate degree from Kanpur. He went to the University of Allahabad and studied theoretical physics, influenced by Dirac's Principles of Quantum Mechanics. He passed graduation in 1941 and achieved master's degree in 1943. He was a postgraduate research fellow under the supervision of Homi Bhabha on problems in theoretical physics, at the Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore. He married Lalitha Kale and had two daughters. Harish Chandra grew up in the state of Uttar Pradesh. As a very bright student in his MSc Physics class at Allahabad University, he solved the theory of the vibration of themridangam on the spot as the only question in his Acoustics exam paper, with Prof C V Raman as the examiner and received 100 marks for it. Until then only Prof C V Ramanhad worked this out and had not published it. This convinced Dr K S Krishnan, the headof the department of physics at Allahabad University and Dr C V Raman, the Director ofthe Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore that a very brilliant scholar was found. They recommended Harish Chandra to Dr Homi Bhabha who had recently returned to India from England after his PhD with Paul Dirac on the theory of the spin 3/2 particle.Homi Bhabha soon realized the ability of his first student Harish Chandra, and after somestudy with himself, recommended him to Prof Paul Dirac at Cambridge University. Hewas asked to solve the unitary representations of the Lorentz group for a PhD thesis.Until then only Dr Eugene Wigner, the brother-in –law of Dr P.A.M. Dirac had solved the problem , as well as work by Gelfand, Naimark and Bargmann. Harish Chandra developed his own approach to representations of non compact groups like the Lorentzgroup and the associated Fourier or harmonic analysis. This impressed both Dirac andWigner that Harish Chandra took just around two years to develop on his own a newapproach in group theory and use it for the Lorentz group.When asked by Paul Dirac whether it is necessary that the problem he works on and thesolution he finds have to be associated to physics while the method of work is of Mathematics, Harish Chandra said that it is not necessary that physics be the source orend point of his work, but mathematics was essential. Then he was recommended to become a mathematician and he went to Princeton where he remained all his life. LikeHermann Weyl and Elie Cartan before him, Harish Chandra made fundamentalcontributions to group theory, particularly to Lie algebras. Several programs inMathematics such as the Langlands program have arisen as a result of Harish Chandra’swork. The Institute at Allahabad is named as the Harish Chandra research Institute in his memory.K S Krishnan was Harish Chandra's teacher at Allahabad University; he recommended his name to Dirac for research work at Cambridge for his Ph.D. degree. In 1945, Harish-Chandra studied for his doctorate degree at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, under Dirac's supervision. However, he was not quite satisfied with Dirac's lectures when he realized that Dirac was actually reading from his books. During his days in Cambridge, he started to loose interest in Physics and took more interest in mathematics and attended the lecture courses of Littlewood and Hall. While attending a lecture by Pauli, he pointed out an error in Pauli's work. Later Pauli and Harish Chandra became very close friends. In 1947, he received his doctorate degree for his thesis 'Infinite irreducible representations of the Lorentz group. In the thesis he gave "a complete classification of the irreducible unitary representations of SL(2,C)". Harish Chandra accompanied Dirac to Princeton from 1947 to 1948 and worked as his assistant. During his stay at United States, the leading mathematicians Weyl, Artin and Chevalley who were working there had great impact on him. He remained at Princeton for another year even after Dirac came back to Cambridge. At Harvard from 1949-50, he was influenced by Zariski.. Harish Chandra was a faculty at the Columbia University from 1950-63, this duration is considered to be the most productive period of his career where he worked on representations of semisimple Lie groups. During this period he worked in many institutions. From 1955-56 he was at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, from 1957-58 as a Guggenheim Fellow in Paris. Harish Chandra formulated a fundamental theory of representations of Lie groups and Lie algebras. He even extended the concept of a characteristic representation of finite-dimensional of semisimple Lie groups to infinite-dimensional representations of a case and formulated a Weyl's character formula analogue. Some of his other contributions are: the specific determination of the Plancherel measure for semisimple groups, the evaluation of the representations of discrete series, based on the results of Eisenstein series and in the concept of automorphic forms, his "philosophy of cusp forms", including the real Lie groups, but also p-adic groups or groups over adele rings. While working at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton from 1963, he was appointed IBM-von Neumann Professor in 1968. Harish Chandra received many eminent awards as:
AMS Cole Prize in Algebra (1954)
Speaker at International Congress (1954)
AMS Colloquium Lecturer (1969)
Fellow of the Royal Society (1973)
Ramanujan Medal from Indian National Science Academy.(1974)
Honorary degrees by Delhi University (1973) and Yale University (1981)
Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (United States) (1981) He was participating in a conference in Princeton when he died on Sunday 16th October1983, due to a heart attack.

Ngo Bao Chau

Mathematician Ngo Bao Chau, who made one of Time magazine’s top 10 scientific discoveries of 2009, has accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Chicago. Ngô will become a professor of mathematics, effective Sept. 1, 2010.Ngo, 37, came to Time’s attention for decisive advances he recently made in two central areas of modern mathematics: number theory and representation theory.He proved a basic result, a matching conjecture called ‘the fundamental lemma,’ so named because it represents the central gate for progress in the Langlands program. Native of Hanoi, North Vietnam, Ngô received his doctoral degree from Université Paris-Sud in 1997. Currently a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., Ngô received the Oberwolfach Prize in 2007, the Prix Sophie Germain de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris in 2007 and the Clay Research Award in 2004.In 1979 the Canadian-American mathematician Robert Langlands developed an ambitious and revolutionary theory that connected two branches of mathematics called number theory and group theory. In a dazzling set of conjectures and insights, the theory captured deep symmetries associated with equations that involve whole numbers, laying out what is now known as the Langlands.The lemma is a conjectured identity between orbital integrals for two groups, e.g., the unitary groups U(n) and U(p)xU(q), where p+q = n. Combined with the Arthur-Selberg trace formula, it enables one to prove relations between automorphic forms on different groups and is a key step towards proving links between certain automorphic forms and Galois representations. This is one of the aims of the Langlands program, which seeks a far-reaching unification of ideas in number theory and representation theory. The result of Laumon and Ngô uses the equivariant cohomology approach introduced by Goresky, Kottwitz, and MacPherson, who proved the lemma in the split and equal valuation case. The proof for the unitary case, which is significant for applications, requires many new ideas, including Laumon's deformation strategy and Ngô's purity result which is based on a geometric interpretation of the endoscopy theory of Langlands and Kottwitz in terms of the Hitchin fibration. 1. Short curriculum vitae of Ngo Bao Chuoa•1972 born in Hanoi, Vietnam•1990 moves to France•1992-1995 student at the ENS, rue d’Ulm•1993-1997 doctoral studies at U. de Paris Sud, with G. Laumon•1997 dissertation ‘Le lemme fondamental de Jacquet et Ye’•1998-2004 charg´ de recherches au CNRS, at Univ. de Paris Norde•2004 Habilitation•2004– Professor U. de Paris-Sud•2006– IAS, Princeton•distinctions: Clay Research Award 2004, Speaker at ICM 2006.The conjecture of Langlands and Shelstad lies in the field of automorphic forms. Inthe beginning of the 20th century this theory was the theory of modular forms, i.e., ofholomorphic functions on the upper half plane transforming in a prescribed way under theaction of discrete groups of conformal motions. It was only in the 1950’s, under the influ-ence of I. Gelfand and Harish-Chandra, that the theory of automorphic forms on arbitrarysemi-simple Lie groups, or semi-simple algebraic groups, was developed. In the 1960’s thetheory was dramatically refocused through the introduction by R. Langlands of his func-toriality principle. This principle is a conjecture that stipulates correspondences betweenautomorphic forms on semi-simple groups which are related by a homomorphism betweentheir Langlands dual groups. This principle is surely among the most ingenious ideas ofthe last century and constitutes the deepest statement about automorphic forms known today.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Michael Green -Lucasian Professor of Mathematics

Professor Michael Green, one of the world's leading theoretical physicists is to become the 18th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.He was elected by senior university staff to one of the world's most famous academic titles after Professor Stephen Hawking decided to shed the title. Prof Green is a professor of theoretical physics at Cambridge and the university said he was a pioneering scientist.Prof Hawking stepped down in September after holding the title for 30 years but continues to work at the university. Previous holders of the title, founded by MP Henry Lucas in 1663, include Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage, Sir Joseph Larmor and Sir James Lighthill.Michael Green is one of the founders of string theory, which he pioneered from the early seventies onwards. Apart from original research in the area, his contributions include the a textbook co-authored with Edward Witten and John Schwarz, which for many years remained the only string theory text book around.
Michael Green, together with John Schwarz of the California Institute of Technology, laid the foundations for string theory, which is being heralded as the unifying link between Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and quantum mechanics. String theory has the potential to better explain all kinds of forces in the physical world, from electromagnetic forces and the forces of attraction in the nucleus of an atom, to gravity. The eighteenth Professor to take up this position carries forward the very distinguished tradition of the post.Green and Schwarz have been working on string theory since the early nineteen seventies, a time when physicists were baffled by inconsistencies and anomalies in the theory and easily gave up working on it. The duo’s first breakthrough came in 1984, when they made their first breakthrough in the field and convinced the theoretical physicists of the world of the viability of string theory.
The Chair was deeded in December 1663 as a gift to the University of Cambridge from Henry Lucas, who was a Member of Parliament for the University. It was a time when many of the fundamental mathematical tools used today, such as calculus, had yet to be developed. Professors who have held the chair have made contributions, not just to mathematics, but also to the fields of theoretical and applied physics, fluid mechanics, chemistry, astronomy, and even computing.
The Chair never got quite as much media attention until it was held by Stephen Hawking, well known theoretical physicist and author of A Brief History of Time.


A team of researchers has successfully factored a 232-digit number into its two composite prime-number factors, but too late to claim a $50,000 prize once attached to the achievement. The number, RSA-768, was part of a cryptography challenge that technically ended in 2007 that had been sponsored by RSA Laboratories, a prominent computer-security firm. RSA-768, so named because its binary representation is 768 bits long, is the largest number from the now-defunct challenge to be cracked. Thorsten Kleinjung of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland, and his colleagues announced their result and posted to the Cryptology ePrint.Public key encryption works because it's easy to multiply two large numbers together, but very hard to calculate the factors of a large number. Doing so is largely a brute force process taking an enormous amount of computing power.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

51th Mathematical Olympiad

The 51st International Mathematical Olympiad will take place in Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan from the 6th until the 12th of July, 2010.A Mathematical Olympiad is a problem solving competition open to all "mathletes". The aim of the competition is to test innate problem solving skills. The problems are restricted to those that require minimal background and high ingenuity. Since one of the goals of such olympiads is to identify talent at a young age, these olympiads are usually restricted to students not yet admitted to any undergraduate programme.The content ranges from extremely difficult precalculus problems to problems on branches of mathematics not conventionally covered at school and often not at university level either, such as projective and complex geometry, functional equations and well-grounded number theory, of which extensive knowledge of theorems is required. Calculus, though allowed in solutions, is never required, as there is a principle at play that anyone with a basic understanding of mathematics should understand the problems, even if the solutions require a great deal more knowledge. Supporters of this principle claim that this allows more universality and creates an incentive to find elegant, deceptively simple-looking problems which nevertheless require a certain level of ingenuity.The selection process differs by country, but it often consists of a series of tests which admit fewer students at each progressing test. Awards are given to a top percentage of the individual contestants. Teams are not officially recognized—all scores are given only to individual contestants, but team scoring is unofficially compared more so than individual scores. Contestants must be under the age of 20 and must not be registered at any tertiary institution. Subject to these conditions, an individual may participate any number of times in the IMO.
Scoring and format
The paper consists of six problems, with each problem being worth seven points, the total score thus being 42 points. No calculators are allowed. The examination is held over two consecutive days; the contestants have four-and-a-half hours to solve three problems per day. The problems chosen are from various areas of secondary school mathematics, broadly classifiable as geometry, number theory, algebra, and combinatorics. They require no knowledge of higher mathematics such as calculus and analysis, and solutions are often short and elementary. However, they are usually disguised so as to make the process of finding the solutions difficult. Prominently featured are algebraic inequalities, complex numbers, and construction-oriented geometrical problems.Each participating country, other than the host country, may submit suggested problems to a Problem Selection Committee provided by the host country, which reduces the submitted problems to a shortlist. The team leaders arrive at the IMO a few days in advance of the contestants and form the IMO Jury which is responsible for all the formal decisions relating to the contest, starting with selecting the six problems from the shortlist. As the leaders know the problems in advance of the contestants, they are kept strictly separated and observers.Each country's marks are agreed between that country's leader and the deputy leader and coordinators provided by the host country (the leader of the team whose country submitted the problem in the case of the marks of the host country), subject to the decisions of the chief coordinator and ultimately a jury if any disputes cannot be resolved.
Selection process
The selection process for the IMO varies greatly by country. In some countries, especially those in east Asia, the selection process involves several difficult tests of a difficulty comparable to the IMO itself. The Chinese contestants go through a camp, which lasts from March 16 to April 2. In others, such as the USA, possible participants go through as series of easier standalone competitions that gradually increase in difficulty. In the case of the USA, the tests include the American Mathematics Competitions, the American Invitational Mathematics Examination, and the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad, each of which is a competition in its own right. For high scorers on the final competition for the team selection, there also is a summer camp, like that of China.
The former Soviet Union and other eastern European countries' selection process consists of choosing a team several years beforehand, and giving them special training specifically for the event. However, such methods have been discontinued in some countries.
The participants are ranked based on their individual scores.
• Subsequently the cutoffs (minimum score required to receive a gold, silver or bronze medal) are chosen such that the ratio of medals awarded approximates 1:2:3.
• Participants who do not win a medal but who score seven points on at least one problem get an honorable mention.
• Special prizes may be awarded for solutions of outstanding elegance or involving good generalisations of a problem. This last happened in 2005, 1995 and 1988, but was more frequent up to the early 1980s.
• The rule that at most half the contestants win a medal is sometimes broken if adhering to it causes the number of medals to deviate too much from half the number of contestants. This last happened in 2006 when the choice was to give either 188 or 253 of the 498 contestants a medal.
The selected students in first round will now participate in the second stage Indian National Mathematical Olympiad (INMO). Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education is the nodal centre of the country for olympiad programmes in mathematics and science, including astronomy.The mathematics olympiad is conducted in five stages under the aegis of the National Board of Higher Mathematics (NBHM) for class 11th & 12th. Students from 23 places will participate in the second stage on the basis of the results of RMO. Each participating country, other than the host country, may submit suggested problems to a Problem Selection Committee provided by the host country, which reduces the submitted problems to a shortlist. The team leaders arrive at the IMO a few days in advance of the contestants and form the IMO Jury which is responsible for all the formal decisions relating to the contest, starting with selecting the six problems from the shortlist. As the leaders know the problems in advance of the contestants, they are kept strictly separated and observed.

Zohaib Ahmed

A schoolboy has become the youngest person ever to pass A level maths with a Grade A at the age of 9. Zohaib Ahmed grabbed top marks in Mathematics despite sitting his exams an incredible nine years early.Zohaib, who goes to primary school, was still only eight when he took the first of his A-level papers in January.He scored 90 per cent across all six modules to land his A-grade.Now he plans to take A-level further maths, doing three modules in the summer and then three in January. He aims to head off to university by the time he is 14.Last August Zohaib scooped an A* (A star) in his GCSE maths at the age of just eight.Zohaib's 11-year-old brother Wajih is also celebrating getting an A-grade at A-level further maths with a 96 per cent pass.Last summer he had achieved a top grade A in his maths A-level while aged 10.The brothers share the same ambition of working in the city as an actuary in the finance sector.