Immerse(#5): Learning How we Learn

What if somebody told you that learning a particular skill will only need a certain number of days or hours of practice until you became decently competent at it? What if you knew exactly which exercises to practice in order to learn a skill in the minimum possible time? These are the questions being posed and simultaneously answered by this project.

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Immerse(#4): SITARA- A Brighter Grid

On the scorching afternoon of 29th July 2012, circuit breakers on the 400 kV Agra-Gwalior-Bina line flung open under the intense load. With 1000 MW power being drawn from this single line whose maximum capacity was near 700 MW, the lines were snapped open, instantly breaking the circuit.

The load then burdened the Agra-Bareilly line, which ran in parallel. It also snapped. With each line getting disengaged, the power deficit snowballed out of control and toppled every line connected in parallel. Within minutes the entire Northern Region Grid, which innervates half of India, collapsed under this cascading catastrophe. 22 states from Assam to Rajasthan and Odisha to Kashmir were plunged into darkness for 2 days. This was the world’s largest wide area blackout, with more than 62 crore people’s lives rattled for days as the engineers scrimmaged to get the grid back on its feet.

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Immerse(#3): An Explosion In Data Analysis

It’s data analysis, and not data dialysis!” The reason being that data analysis involves extraction of desired information from data, whereas dialysis involves removal of waste from data. When analysis is conducted incorrectly, one may end up with waste or meaningless information. Moreover, it is not just about removing unwanted information but making sense out of what the analyst is left with, which is nothing short of a challenge.

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Immerse(#2): Coffee under the Microscope

Caffeine is best known as a stimulant of the central nervous system in humans – in other words, it keeps us from falling asleep. One of the main methods by which it achieves that is by inhibiting the action of adenosine (by preventing it from bonding with its receptor). Adenosine is the chemical that induces feelings of drowsiness in humans. Existing literature has established that adenosine also plays a major role in the formation and motion of the slime mold aggregate. A natural question to ask, then, is whether caffeine could play a similar inhibitory role in slime molds – and this is precisely the question that Dr Baskar’s work answers.

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Immerse (#1): Playing with Twitter

“Do you see a lot of physics words here? That’s because there is a lot of physics involved, and the study of social physics brings together the two exciting fields of social media study and statistical mechanics. However, as with all theories and models involving human decision-making, this too is a slave to the sometimes arbitrary sensibility of people’s everyday decisions. A human may choose to drink Pepsi today and not Coca-Cola; there is no way this seemingly random and whimsical choice can be modeled by logical rules.”

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PG Accommodation Crisis: Turning a Blind Eye on a Real Problem

“More than the decision, what I was able to observe in the scholars was the anger towards the authoritarian way of decision making by the administration, as always. Many of the scholars were emotionally moved and there was a cry for having a protest. After repeated meetings with the administration by the RAS and scholars, it was decided that there will not be an immediate implementation of the policy, even though it still stays as a policy.”

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Getting the ‘Gyan’ Out of GIAN Courses

GIAN is a new initiative of MHRD that aims to provide opportunities for Indian students to take elective courses offered by foreign faculty. GIAN courses are offered in niche areas, are very specialized and targeted at researchers actively working in that area. This article details how the students of IIT Madras can make the best use of this opportunity.

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Once Upon A Summer – Interning in Melbourne

Tejas Kulkarni, a fourth year student pursuing the B. Tech degree in Mechanical Engineering shares his experience of interning a summer abroad at UniMelb. In the past three years, students from IIT Kanpur (IIT-K) have been invited for a research internship at University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Australia as part of a collaboration effort between IIT-K and UniMelb.

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