Yesterday’s Distinguished Lecture by Ashok Venkitaraman was exciting in more ways than one. First thing- it was a superb lecture. Great material, excellent presentation, very thought provoking and truly inspiring. And the best part was that you can see it again, here. And again. And tell your friends they can see it via the National Knowledge Network (NKN) all over the campus, and all across the nation.
The NKN is a state-of-the-art multi-gigabit pan-India network for providing a unified high speed network backbone for all knowledge related institutions in the country. The purpose of such a knowledge network goes to the very core of the country’s quest for building quality institutions with requisite research facilities and creating a pool of highly trained professionals. The NKN will enable scientists, researchers and students from different backgrounds and diverse geographies to work closely for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas.
This is just the beginning, I hope. We should have all our Distinguished Lectures made available to all Universities on the NKN, and as you can see from the map on the right, that network is pretty extensive. In some ways this would be better than just putting them on UoHTube, but since it is in addition to that, it only widens our range.
Our Campus Knowledge Network needs strengthening, though. Too often our ivory tower is actually more like a set of ivory minarets, each housing a School, Department or Centre, isolated even from each other. To that end, starting this Valentine’s Day, the University begins its Inaugural Lecture Series, an ongoing set of colloquia that will be delivered by newly appointed Professors. These lectures are to be very general and accessible to colleagues from all disciplines, and are open to students and faculty from all across the University. The first of these will be given by Professor Siba Udgata of the School of Computer and Information Sciences: February 14, 2014 at 3:00 pm in the Raman Auditorium.
Siba works on Wireless Sensor Networks, crucial to many aspects of the ubiquitous computing environment that we inhabit. A great opportunity for us all to learn about the work that he and his group are doing in the area of green computing among other things.
We do need to cross the many divides that separate the two or more cultures that inhabit our academic landscape, and it requires not just the effort of the lecturer to reach out to a diverse audience, but also the effort of the audience to listen and learn. I hope that our community on the campus can learn to engage with ourselves and the variety of scholarly work that is going on here at home, namely our very own campus knowledge network!