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Indian university acquires more technological resources for AI research and development

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between the Indian Institute of Technology – Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU) and Amazon Internet Services Private Limited (AISPL) to improve cloud-ready job skills by giving students and faculty access to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Educate program, and to help establish an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Cloud Research Lab. The Minister of Human Resources Development, Mr Prakash Javadekar was present when the MoU was signed.

According to an official press released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Cloud Research Lab will give students the opportunity to use AWS cloud technology to create and implement projects that focus mainly on AI and ML research and development, for the country.

Under the MoU agreement, the IIT-BHU will be provided with access to the resources in AWS Educate program and with a curriculum designed for higher education institutions to include in their courses; the partnership is likely to help increase student’s cloud-related technical expertise.

Amazon is providing free services in cloud computing, data-sets and a number of new technologies, which will enable the candidates and the faculty to carry out more thorough and focused research. Mr Prakash Javadekar said that the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi has been encouraging new research and digital development initiatives; he added that the Prime Minister believes that unless the country is innovative, it will not attain sustainable prosperity.

The Prime Minister has launched several digital programmes in India in order to increase the use and development of new technologies throughout India; such as, “Digital India”, “Smart City”, “Make In India”, and the setting up of Common Service Centres (CSCs), which are access points to deliver electronic services to people in remote areas. 

With the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) and finance from other resources, the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship project and programs like the IMPRINT scheme, Higher Invention Plan (Uchchtar Aviskar Yojana), the quality of research and development in India will improve.

The Ministry said that the AWS Educate program is a global initiative that provides a large range of learning content, resources, and AWS Promotional Credits for students and educators to gain hands-on experience with AWS Cloud services.  Students and faculty will be able to have access to instructor-led classes, on-demand training, self-paced labs, as well as ongoing technical assistance and support.

The project marks a new AI revolution in the country and is a big step in direction of more technological innovation and research. The AWS program offers over 125 services for computing, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), media, and application development, implementation, and management; and these features are available for use by the IIT-BHU faculty, researchers and students to help develop new projects and come up with solutions for the country.

The press release noted that AI will be able to add around US $1 trillion to India’s economy, by 2035. India has a significant stake in the AI revolution being the fastest growing economy and having the second largest population in the world. The use of AI needs to be promoted in the areas of health, education, environment, infrastructure, cybersecurity and other sectors.

Mr Prakash Javadekar said that this collaboration is economical, efficient and is likely to have far-reaching effects as research by the students has the potential to also benefit all sections of the society including farmers and entrepreneurs in villages, and not just in urban and technologically advanced areas.

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