Trip to Surathkal

Surathkal is home. I spent the most important four years of my life there. Situated on India's west coast it is the home a fine engineering school. The National Institute of Technology Karnataka, formerly Karnataka Regional Engineering college, is my alma mater.                Naturally, when my company offered an opportunity to visit KREC, I jumped at it. We went there and talked about some great technology that Sun had to offer. Here are some pictures from there. Sanjay Manwani, manager @ Sun India, wrote a nice article about it [here].             

National Institute of Technology, Surathkal Karnataka(NITK) is one of the premier technical colleges in India and is rated even higher than some of the IITs in some of the surveys.

NITK has 5 streams of Comp. Science - BTech CS(undergrad course) - intake of 60 students for 4 years, M.Tech(postgrad) - Intake of 60 students for 2 years, BTech IT intake of 60 students for 4 years, MCA (postgrad) - intake of 60 students for 3 years, PhD - intake of 10-15 students for 4-5 years.

After a long phone association of almost 6 months with between NIT Surathkal and Sumitha Prashanth from Sun; 3 engineers and me went to NIT Surathkal on 10th and 11th Nov 2006.

The planned agenda was:

  • Sanjay Manwani - Talk to Dr.Shet and HOD about Sun and Universities and work with them to identify Campus ambassadors
  • Sun and Participation Age pitch - Jeevan (an alumnus of NITK 2005)
  • Introduction to OpenSolaris - Moinak Ghosh
  • Introduction to Project Glassfish - Varun Rupela.

The main agenda of the trip was to make the students and teachers of NITK aware of the Sun contribution to opensource and solicit their support. Also to get 3-4 names of students for the Sun ambassador program from NITK.

Though most of the sessions were planned only for 11th Nov. We were able to organize 1 formal and one informal discussion between Sun and NITK.We reached and were received at the University by one of the student volunteers and an active participant of the Open club - Dhaval. Dhaval is a 3rd year student and has done a project at IBM and is scheduled to join IBM at the end of his studies. His interest is in Linux kernels and he is currently involved in a project related to that. The Open club is a group of students and a lecturer (M/s Vani ) who are actively working on open source projects with a lot of them being Linux enthusiasts.Dhaval introduced us to Mr. Annappa who is one of the lecturers at NITK with interest in distributed systems. Mr. Annapa was very enthusiastic about the Sun visit and immediately organized a meeting with the lecturers of the Computer Science (CS) department.

During the meeting which was attended by the Professors including Dr. Vinay (HOD), Dr. Shet, Mr. Annapa, and M/s Vani, some PhD students including Mr. Jose; whose interest is in the area of compilers and some M. Tech students. We went over the canned presentations that we had planned to share with the students.There was interest in the gathering and some decent questions were asked. The Mtech students informed us that this was good learning for them.

After the meeting Dr. Vinay informed that he had already sent 3 names to Sun to choose a student ambassador. He also informed us that the attendance may be less in our session due to the end semester exams in 2 weeks.

Dhaval organized a impromptu session for students to talk about projects. about 7-8 students attended and most were interested in how to get projects. All of us informed about the power of open source and how they could easily contribute.It was a very open session with lots of questions about Sun and open source.

On 11th at 9 AM we began our formal session. there were about 30-35 students and slowly the whole classroom with the capacity of 40-45 students filled up. Dr. Shet introduced the session and mentioned that he had recently become aware of the open sourcing of Solaris. M/s Vani and Mr. Annappa were also in attendance. It was a very interactive session with lots of demos and questions. At least 20 students had worked on Linux and many of the questions related to open source were answered. There was no flagging of interest till the 3.5 hours of the session when we broke for lunch with the promise of D-trace demo after lunch. 30-40 SDN memberships were signed up and more forms distributed for people who could not attend. Lots of Netbeans CDs and Belenix DVDs were distributed, with 5 of each given for the library to be borrowed by students.

Conclusion

It was a very fruitful trip to learn about such an open and enthusiastic community of teachers and students interested in open source not too far from IEC. We have a lot of leads to continue our association thru students and lecturers for the SAI. We need to keep up this engagement to make sure that it bears the results that we want from our academic initiative.

-- Sanjay Manwani

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