Life without the Internet is unimaginable at any technology university today. But at BITS, Pilani, one of the premier technical institutes in the country, students have to line up to use a PC.
But things are in for a change. Come Saturday, and Neuron, a $1.5million state-of-the-art computer network, would be inaugurated making BITS, Pilani one of best-connected institutes in India.
Neuron is the first project under BITSConnect, which is the coming together of BITS alumni worldwide, to bring leading edge solutions to Pilani, and as an extension to India.
"Neuron would provide BITS with a gigabit backbone, broadband access, telephones and video conferencing abilities in every room, in every block, all staff quarters, each student room and guest house, as well as wireless access," says Mukul Chawla of CISCO Systems and one of those behind the project.
A second project - setting up of an Oyester Lab is also underway and would be co-located at Bangalore and Pilani. A $50million project, it would provide the institute with advanced computing infrastructure for very large scale integration and embedded design. Once completed, the lab would be comparable to the best among US universities, Chawla says.
"Famous BITS alumni, including Gulu Mirchandani (founder Mirc-Onida), Gunender Kapur (Executive Director, Hindustan Lever), Prof Chandrasekhar (director,
CEERI) and Satish Gupta (founder, Cradle Technologies), would be among those present at the inauguration of the Neuron project," he said.
"As far as high-tech research goes, BITS is already a leader and its status would be further boosted by BITSConnect. BITS Virtual University, the most technically advanced experiment in scaling distance education using state-of-the-art Internet and multimedia technologies, is going to run off the BITSConnect infrastructure," he says.
However, all this did not happen in one go. "BITS director Dr Venkateswaran visited the US in late summer of 2002 and presented a small gathering of 22 BITSian movers and shakers with his wish-list for Pilani."
"At the top of this list was connectivity. BITS wanted state-of-the-art and nothing else would do. It had some funds but those were not enough," recalls Chawla.
All the BITSians jumped into the bandwagon and got rolling one the most advanced broadband connectivity projects for a university, in fact the first of its kind in India and comparable to global standards, he says.
External Link: BITS, Pilani