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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My 2011 List of Recommended CS/IT Programs Outside the IIT System

For last many years, I have been coming out with a small list of CS/IT Departments, which are in my opinion provide a decent quality of education, or have something interesting about them. I have formed my opinion about these departments, mostly through a visit, but sometimes by talking to alumni, other academicians, and reading information provided on their website.

This year, I thought I will put it on blog to have some amount of public discussion on this list. But "limited" is the operative word here. Please do not mind if I reject your comment, as I do not intend to make this a free-for-all forum.

I have primarily looked at CS or IT departments. In India, many Institutes (particularly NITs) built their reputation based on traditional engineering disciplines. When Computer Science was introduced to most of these institutes a couple of decades ago, they just could not find enough faculty, and most of the NITs (and many old government institutions) continue to have serious shortage of faculty. But the way things happen in India, if some institute is good in one discipline, we assume, without question, that that institute is good in every discipline. I have tried not to get influenced by the presence of good traditional departments on the same campus, and therefore, you would notice that some of the high ranking institutes are not on this page, because I believe that their high ranking is based on departments other than CS and IT.

I have also resisted the temptation of looking at the placement scenarios. I strongly believe that the placement is a function of current perception (which is no indicator of quality). One should be interested in long term career, and not in placement. Long term career is a function of quality of education (besides your own personality, hard work, life skills, and a good bit of luck). In my view (and I have talked to thousands of people on this), initial placement has no causal relationship or even a strong correlation with a good career. And hence I only look at parameters which ensure quality, primarily the quality of faculty.

But I also look at something interesting that the Institute is doing. So the list below does not just represent a set of Institutes with good CS faculty, but those who are unique in some ways.

Disclaimer: Do Not take this as my ranking of CS/IT Departments. These are good departments that I know of. I do not claim to know about all the Institutes in the country. And as I said above, I am also including some departments for their innovation, rather than an overall quality.

If I have not listed a department here, it can be for a variety of reasons. I may not have been able to visit the Institute in the last few years, and could not get enough information from the website. I may not have even tried to get information about the Institute, since it may not have been on my radar. And, of course, I may not have found anything exciting on my visit there, and I do not believe that they are doing a good enough job of education.

Other minimum requirements for listing here:
  • I only list institutes which are autonomous in academic processes (that is, they are either university themselves or a constituent college of a university). ( I am not listing colleges affiliated to any university.

  • I only list colleges which have an under-graduate program in Computer Science or IT. (So, great places like IISc, Bangalore, are not on this list.)
First of all, I would like to list four IIITs, that is, Institutes focusing on Information Technology, which in my opinion are providing excellent quality of education in IT related disciplines in India. You can jump to a brief note of each Institute by clicking on the name.
  1. International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-H), Hyderabad
  2. Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-D), Delhi
  3. Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT), Gandhinagar
  4. LN Mittal Institute of Information Technology (LNMIIT), Jaipur
Of course, there are many others who have impressed me for something or the other. The list is as follows.
  1. BITS, Pilani
  2. NIT, Calicut
  3. Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  4. NIT, Hamirpur
  5. Institute of Technology, BHU, Varanasi
  6. College of Engineering, Anna University, Chennai

I consider IIIT, Hyderabad as the best alternative to IITs (from amongst the institutes I know or I have been told of). This Institute is already competing with IITs on attracting faculty, and every year it does attract some students who have got a good enough rank in JEE to get admission to IITs. They also get top students from AIEEE, and I believe that these students are as good as those in IITs. Basically, if you made a small mistake on the day of JEE, and did not do that mistake in AIEEE, you join IIIT Hyderabad. They have tremendous focus on research and human values. I have visited IIIT Hyderabad umpteen number of times, and I come back more impressed every time I go there.

IIIT Delhi is the newest amongst the IIITs. Though it has been in the existence for only 3 years, it has already started making waves. It has been able to attract excellent faculty, start strong research programs, have a great curriculum, and everything else that you would want from a good institution. It is supported by Delhi Government, though it is managed largely through a board which has very little representation from Delhi Government. Its Director, Prof. Pankaj Jalote, is a well known academician who has been writing a great deal about technical education for the last many years. He has a great vision and his presence as the founding director is really giving this Institute a great shape.

Another Institute, which is making an impact in IT education is DA-IICT at Gandhinagar. I am very impressed with the number of faculty members with PhD degrees from various IITs and decent US universities. And let me admit, being a faculty member myself, I think that an Institute which has so many of PhDs in their faculty, has to be on the right track. Of course, having "Dhirubhai Ambani" in the name of the Institute will ensure that the ADA (Anil Dhirubhai Ambani) group would never let it become a second-rate institution. Further, in their curriculum, there is a unique mix of Information Technology (CS) and Communication Technology, and depending on one's interest, one can go into the depth in either direction. And they seem to truly believe that under-graduate education is about broadening the horizons, and not become an expert. So not only do they have humanities courses in their curriculum, but they also have a six-week stay in a rural setting as part of curriculum.

LNMIIT is the fourth of the IT-focused institute which has potential to compete with the best in the future. The Institute has excellent infrastructure, beautiful architecture, and some of the best teachers in the country, who have retired from IIT system. Many of the young faculty members too have PhDs from IITs, IISc, and other fine institutions. Another great thing about LNMIIT is that they let you chose and change the discipline any time you want, with very liberal limits. You decide the discipline at the end of first year, and if after doing a few courses in that discipline, you think you like something else, just change it. They believe that a single exam on a single day should not determine the career of a young boy or girl. So they offer admissions through both AIEEE and IIT JEE. The curriculum is modern, and has only 40 odd courses. (Elsewhere, I have argued that a BTech curriculum should have no more than about 40 courses.) LNMIIT is a unique experiment of education in the joint sector. It is not a private college. It is a public private partnership between the Rajasthan Government and Lakshmi and Usha Mittal Foundation. And of course, Jaipur is arguably the best city to live in North India.

I admire BITS, Pilani for a lot of innovation that they have been doing in the engineering education. Whether it is the one semester training (Practice School) in the industry, or their online entrance exam, they always seem to be a step ahead of others in the new ways of doing education. They have an excellent dual-degree program, more flexible than any IIT can boast of. They have the best admission process, which takes some amount of language abilities into account. Of course, one concern that I have is whether BITS is spreading itself too thin by growing so fast. They have opened campuses in Dubai, Goa, and Hyderabad. Also, their focus on research seems less than other top class institutes in the country. (And, by the way, my strong recommendation is only for the Pilani campus.)

In September 2006, I had a chance to visit NIT Calicut, and I must say that I was very impressed. As you can see from the short list of institutes on this page, I do not get impressed easily. And let me tell you why. The first thing I noticed was that pretty much every faculty member in the department had a degree from either an IIT or IISc. They do hire people who have a BTech degree, but then ask them to do graduate education from outside. Most colleges run graduate programs (MTech or PhD) primarily to ensure that their own faculty members can get part-time graduate degrees. Even in NITs, most faculty members do MTech or PhD internally. But this in-breeding is dangerous for the quality of a department, and NIT Calicut has avoided the path of convenience to ensure quality. The maintenance of the campus is another thing that struck me as something great. The infrastructure is very good. The faculty is very cohesive. They have resisted the temptation of starting a program on IT. (Why shouldn't CSE and IT departments be merged in all NITs? There is hardly any difference in the programs, and these differences can be handled by offering electives.)

As one of the oldest engineering college in the country, Jadavpur University has made great contributions to the country. It was one of the early universities to start programs in computer science. It has a faculty, which includes 20 PhDs, which is rare, and almost impossible to find outside the IIT system. They have put out the number of their papers and other output on the website, which is good, though I would have liked to see the list of those papers, preferably with links to download them. The number of specializations is more than the number of faculty members. A large number of those PhDs are from Jadavpur University itself, and as I said above, I think there is something wrong with a department that encourages so many of the internal PhDs. This is particularly strange in their case, when fine institutions like IIT Kharagpur and ISI Kolkata are nearby. And the website is very poorly designed.

If there was an award for the most improved Institute in the country, it had to be given to NIT Hamirpur. Besides being the most beautiful campus that I have visited (and I have visited more than 100 colleges in the country), the improvements in the last five years are everywhere to see. You talk to anyone and they have a story to tell, a story of change, a change for the positive. The infrastructure improvement (computers, Internet bandwidth, buildings, and everything else) have taken place at a very rapid pace. It is no longer a sleepy NIT, with no link to the outside world. Now they welcome visitors from other NITs, IITs, and everywhere else. And once you go there, you are bound to fall in love with the campus. The curriculum has seen major changes (for the good). There is focus on hiring more faculty. They have started new MTech programs. They are starting to build relationships with their alumni. Everything that a college can and should do is being done at NIT Hamirpur, and it is no surprise to me that they have started appearing in some of the surveys of top engineering colleges. It also shows that while institutions are built through team-work, leadership makes a huge difference. Prof. I K Bhat, ex-Director of NIT Hamirpur, is one such visionary, who has made a huge difference. But the question being asked now is: Who after Prof. Bhat? The Institute has been without a Director for the past six months.

Institute of Technology, BHU, Varanasi has many strengths. It has been participating in the Joint Entrance Examination for several decades and that has really given it a good brand image. It is part of a great university and a great campus. That means that not only the campus has facilities of all sorts, but it also enables some cultural exchange between engineering students and non-engineering students, which is very good for wholesome education. And of course, it is expected that IT BHU will soon be converted into an IIT. The bill has already been passed by Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha is expected to pass it in the next session. And, as this list only contains institutes other than IITs, this is perhaps the last year for IT BHU to be on this list.

Another excellent place that I visited in 2006 is College of Engineering, Anna University, Chennai. The CS department has a fairly large faculty, and lots of them have a PhD degree. There is an active research program, and one can find several publications from that department in literature. It is an active and vibrant department. Also, they have a very interesting part-time under-graduate program. As I said above, whenever I visit a department, I am looking out for something unique, an idea which is worth emulating, and I don't know of any other place which has such a part-time under-graduate program. The curriculum is based on a credit-based system, which is a big positive.

If you have a suggestion for including another institute, please let me know. But back up that suggestion with data. Not placement data. Not India Today ranking, or any other ranking. Not the closing rank of AIEEE. But data about quality of faculty or something innovative about the program there.

35 comments:

Saurabh Nanda said...

I think highly of PICT, Pune as well. IIRC during Techkriti-2007 (my employer, Cleartrip, was a sponsor), all Open Software winners were PICT teams. Their projects were really hardcore with 2-3 on the Linux kernel codebase and one using RoR + Google Maps.

On the other hand, IITK didn't even have decent participation!

I ended up interviewing all the winning teams and the students were aware of various technologies and actually knew how to write code. Pretty rare, in my opinion.

VJ said...

How about VJTI and SPCE (Mumbai University)? I don't have any stats to support their cases -- just anecdotally knew a couple of bright people from these colleges in grad school.

As you mentioned in your post, the placement numbers are most likely useless for assessing education standards. What are your thoughts on using the number of students going for higher studies (domestic and abroad) as a measurable proxy?

Btw, is there a record or repository of publications from IITs? In my field of computer vision and machine learning, barring a few, most of the publications from IITs have been in second- or third-tier conferences and journals.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Saurabh, I had a chance to interact with a few PICT students recently in one of these technical competitions. I was impressed by what PICT students had achieved through sheer hard work, and if you look at the project as a black box, it would be amongst the best in the competition, but when I asked them questions about the underlying OS issues, it was clear that they did not have a good enough mentor. In fact, seeing some of these projects is a very depressing experience, since you can immediately spot the talent, the passion, the hard work, the sincerity, but sadly that talent hasn't been nurtured. I wish IITK had some way of bringing such students to the MTech program (even though their GATE score may not be great).

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Vidit, I think the number of students going for higher education, particularly in the technical field, is a good indicator of quality of the program. (By the way, this is considered quite important in US rankings, unfortunately, not so in Indian rankings, where placement is the king.) This shows that the faculty members were able to create a passion for the subject, and they can do so, only if they not just taught, but also made sure that students learnt.

L said...

You mention Prof Jalote and someone else told me about the director of IIIT H. Perhaps it is a neccessary and sufficient condition for an institution to have a Head who has a vision for it to become good in its field.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@L, You are right that leadership is important for institutional growth and excellence. People like Pankaj Jalote (IIIT Delhi) and Rajeev Sangal (IIIT Hyderabad) would strive for excellence where ever they are, and will have a long lasting legacy, when they leave.

Prashb said...

I think you should give value to the performance of students in coveted (algorithmic) programming challenges like the ACM/Topcoder/Codechef contest . Because it shows that not only are those students have a decent hold on programming languages, but also that their Algorithmic skills are pretty advanced which indicates good mentorship . Also, if someone has good, recognized opensource groups - it reflects something .

I must say that in the past I took it for granted that IIT would be the one and only brand name for eternity . I'm not so sure now. I've interacted with guys from IIIT-Hyd , DA-IICT : not only are they passionate about CS, but they also have good mentorship. I must also add that ( at least in the recent batches , after say , those who entered in 2000 or so ) I have not seen many IITians interested in technology and science . Maybe they are too burnt out . Even contests on TopCoder, those conducted by Google etc - a decade ago the top programmers from India were invariably from IIT - and currently the TopCoder listing of top 50 schools has IIIT-Hyd/DA-IICT ; none of the IITs . This isn't a good harbinger of things to come. Even as far as the much coveted foreign placements for CS are concerned ( in core CS companies ) , IIIT had more of them than any of the IITs last year .

I think there is a problem at IIT and that is the fact that even the JEE top rankers don't know why they enrolled there .Once out of college, there are some entry level management/consulting/finance jobs which you can get without good technical skills ( barring some of the financial analytics / quant software roles ) . But my observation has been that for many IITians , once in such jobs - their mediocre communication skills destroy their chances for a good career within those kind of companies .

I seriously think that :
a) You need to rethink the JEE criteria of standard P/C/M . At the very least something to ensure language skills are needed .

b) Expand the CS and EE departments since many students are genuinely interested in those subjects . Many students from Mech/Chem etc. who move into non technical fields ; wouldn't do so if they were in CS or EE . I know of guys in IIIT-Hyd who had 1500-2000 ranks at JEE . If IIT sticks on to its age old distribution of seats, some good newer colleges might very well eat into its lunch. I am not talking about shutting down other departments - I am just saying that CS and EE should be somewhat proportional to the demand . Even 40-50% of MIT undergrads are in EE/CS .

c) Have some kind of General Engineering sciences option where a student ( who doesn't get the exact Major of his choice ) can do something like 4-5 courses from 3(or so ) different branches ( without unnecessary constraints on his GPA etc. ) . Maybe some students might like a general science and technology degree instead of a specialized one . Allocate extra resources to the CS/EE depts to hold classes for a larger numbers of students who might now opt for their courses.

I think IIT needs to work on a much, much more flexible program. They could do well to pick up some suggestions from your blog . JEE might bring in good students, but someone needs to check their interest levels as well.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@prashb, If the gap between IITs and others is decreasing, it is good for the students/parents/society (less stress), good for private sector education (since government cannot afford to do it all by itself anyway), and good for IITs (I am sure they will transform themselves to face any competition from any corner). I am excited by the emergence of Institutes like IIIT-H, DA=IICT, etc.

Vikram said...

Dr. Sanghi, as a graduate student in the US, I would echo Prashb's concerns. It would be fine if the gap between the IITs and IIITs, DA-IICT etc was decreasing only due to the rapid emergence of those institutions. But it seems to be a combination of their improvement and a weakening of the IITs. The lack of interest among students, especially those not in EE/CS is all too evident.

Prashb said...

@Dr. Sanghi-

Emergence of new institutes is good and something for everyone to be happy about. However you must realize that most administrators within the IIT system do not have the kind of views which you do .

"I am sure they will transform themselves to face any competition from any corner" :

I think it is now unrealistic to expect IITs to fix themselves . Let me cite an example . IIT KGP introduced an extremely flexible curriculum with Minors, optional subjects etc. in the year 2000 .
They significantly reduced the core course load as well .
Many people like myself who didn't do well in JEE ( approx AIR -2000 ) benefited from this . I did approximately 10 CS courses ( took significant credit overload ), got a Minor, a nice CS research internship. Even when it came to placements I got a job at the software giant in Redmond ( left it after a while because I wanted to be an entrepreneur ) . Despite starting off at iit in a terrible way ( low AIR ) I was grateful that KGP provided such an outlet of flexibility .

Many other students went to study further in the fields of their Minor ( or Additional / elective subjects ) .
With the reduced core load - many ppl enrolled in additional subjects willingly, took up projects etc. Of course, those of us who used this flexibility were approx 25-30% . The rest used it to opt for subjects where it was easy to pass with little/no effort .

I think after a couple of years most of this flexibility was revoked on the grounds that "people weren't paying attention to their allotted branch" . Core load was increased once again . While flexibility supposedly exists on paper it seems not too many people can now benefit from the minor system etc.

Academics in the 21st century should not have been averse to a reasonable amount of flexibility . There is a mistaken view amongst IIT and some IIT faculty, that because IIT is a superior brand name ( whatever that means ), everything from the entrance to syllabus and course structure should be of a much "higher standard" ( which is fine ) except that "higher standard" in most of these people's view seems to equate with "rigidity" and "inflexibility" .

Whenever I engaged myself in some kind of constructive stuff like working on my own hobby programming etc. my GPA would take a serious hit . This happens to a lot of IITians .

Another thing is that people might not like to talk about the CS/EE obsession but that is how it is . Look, in the current scenario - most of the Non-CS/EE guys decide to use their IIT degree to get into some mgmt/finance kind of role - the moment they join IIT . This creates an environment where the majority of students have embarked on a new agenda from the start itself . And given their situation this might be the practical thing to do ( even Mech Engg toppers going to the US have a hard time finding good jobs in their fields after their MS or PhD ) . But because of this general attitude in the air even CS/EE guys are prone to getting carried away and lose interest in their branches.

Check out the reasons why IITB is so popular nowadays. It is because of the volume of pseudo-management placements available there . AFAIK, hardly anyone applies for MS/PhD from there.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Prashb, I am not disagreeing with you, but I still believe that IITs as a system will respond to the competition. Some IITs will and some IITs won't. For example, currently, IIT Bombay and IIT Gandhinagar have amazing flexibility in their systems (and it is not co-incidental that the two IITs are led by two of the most visionary Directors). IIT Kharagpur has been on the downward path for quite some time now, but the slope has become steeper since 2006. So examples from Kharagpur (or for that matter, Kanpur) do not count. The two campuses (Kanpur and Kharagopur) believe that their decline is primarily due to geography and not due to something being done right at other IITs. With this attitude, there is no hope. With 16 IITs (or soon going to be), I do not expect each and every IIT to compete well with outside competition, but there will always be some IITs which will show the way, and remain on top, even if good foreign universities set up campuses in India.

I do disagree with you about IIT Bombay. I am going to soon write about my reasons for believing why IIT Bombay is the best IIT today, and I don't even want to look at placement statistics to come to that conclusion.

Prashb said...

Just to be clear, I wasn't disputing the fact that IITB is the best ( very modern,flexible curriculum ) . It's just that the reason why top rankers go there is something else ( placements - the MS/PhD culture is least over there . Know this from my colleagues who studied there . Even tech jobs are considered uncool . Its one thing to provide flexibility and another thing for students to use it . ) . Yes, the director matters a lot . KGP had someone decent till 2002 or so - but politically connected, corrupt people running the show after that . And perpetually gets its name in the press for all the wrong reasons .

vivek singh aka vfix said...

To all who mentioned about Topcoder or ACM.Yes IIIT-H hold the top school rank in india in tc algorithm rank list but IITs are doing good there too .If you observe the number of students(which is very less) from IITs and their ratings you'll get that they are doing well even with such a small participation Also they have a red Coder too. According to a veteran tc member

"India has simply "great" top coders. I don't think a lot of them spend so much time on TC. In particular, the best institutes of India, like the IITs, by themselves are very interesting, intellectually satisfying, and demanding. They are more mathematically inclined, rigorous and do not enjoy writing a lot of code. Also much more opportunities lie on the academic side, when compared to other regions of the world, in my humble opinion....

....Naturally men in CMI, IIT, etc, tend to be less involved as they should be. This is the current stand, but anyways i think they can (as they do) make an impact even with little participation over a period of four years. And any extra bit of practice by them can add a lot to our country ranking :)."

Talking about IIIT-H ,DA-IICT i would like to say that these institutes have reach their own level academic excellence and it is a good news that few institutes apart from IITs are doing equally good as this provides more options to consider for a better technical education.Specially IIIT-H they have created an excellent environment for CSE students.

As far as IITs are concerned they are contributing a lot by doing excellent research and educating the students in an excellent manner.I think they have lot of highly educated people who ensures the quality of education and curriculum there.Though there could be some loopholes but every system have some and every system have people to work those loopholes out.

I am not an educationist but somehow i feel that soon IIIT D would also emerge as the one of the elite institutes considering their faculty profile and inclination towards research.

Overall a nice post

sukraat said...

sir,what do you think of the BSC computer science programme of the chennai mathematical institute,many of their faculty have Btech from IIT's and PHD's from abroad.

Vishnu Rajamanickam said...

sir,
I believe u have primarily considered the quality of the faculty in a college to rate it. And by the "quality of the faculty" u indirectly mean the number of PhD's in them. From my experience sir, i would say that a "PhD tag" would never properly determine the effectiveness of the faculty, since that only ensures that they are "well qualified" and "well educated" but not a good teacher. I have seen for myself that someone who has an MTech in IIT can teach and inspire much better than someone who has done a post doctorate in some fancy US university. So u cant determine the quality of the faculty unless u sit in a classroom and observe the way they teach or else your data might prove to be erronous. If u have done that already and then given the suggestions then cheers!!!

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@Vishnu,

1. I am not ranking programs.
2. I am not claiming to know about all programs.
3. I disagree that the only way to rank effectiveness is to sit in classes of all teachers of all courses of all colleges.
4. I am not looking at just one parameter (number of PhDs), but I do believe that there is a strong correlation between number of PhDs (from good institutes) and higher quality of education.

Existence of counter examples can negate a theory suggesting something happens 100 percent of times. But existence of counter examples does not negate a theory which states that there is a correlation between two parameters.

If you tell me an example of an educational institute which as a policy does not prefer PhDs for faculty, and is still considered a good teaching institute, you would have a good argument.

Saurabh Nanda said...

Sir, I think what Vishnu is trying to say is that a good researcher is not necessarily a good teacher.

Research = Finding new knowledge
Teaching = Imparting existing knowledge in an interesting manner

Earning a PhD means you have the necessary skills to research. It does not have anything to do with teaching.

I'm assuming the teaching skills in a professor are important for B.Tech students who need to be motivated and nurtured towards specific topics/subjects. However, the research skills in a professor become important for M.Techs & PhD's because, ideally, they should be self-motivated and need a skilled & experienced guide more than a motivator.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Saurabh, I understand that a good researcher is not necessarily a good teacher, and in fact, a PhD is not necessarily a good researcher either. But we are talking about probabilities and correlations here.

In general, even colleges who want to focus on teaching have found that PhDs do a better job. This is not to say that all of them do a better job, or no MTech does a good job. But I don't see good teaching institutions (and I am only talking about engineering colleges) saying that we will not hire more costly PhDs but will only recruit MTechs since they provide better teaching at lower cost.

anandkarthik said...

how does having an innovative way of conducting an entrance exam or being flexible warrant an institute to be considered good with respect to having a good CS/IT department ... ( Ofcourse this is about BITS-Pilani ) ... I'm not saying anything about the department ... just inspecting the validity of the parameters considered... But the analysis was good though...

tzrajni said...

sir what is the difference between CSE and IT programs? why do students mostly prefer CSE? can i go for higher education in IT and does it have ample job oppurtunies? also please help me choose between CSE at BESU-shibpur, IT at Jadavpur, CSE at NIT Jamshedpur and CSE and IT at BIT MESRA.

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

@tzrajni, There is a history to this CS versus IT and that has affected the perception and quality of programs. Historically, most colleges started with CS programs. We had this tyranny of AICTE, which at that time was very strict about not allowing more than 60 seats in any program. The colleges were financially not viable with just 60 seats in the most popular branch. So someone came with the bright idea of creating a new program called IT. The programs in CS and IT were identical to begin with. It was just a way to get approval for another 60 seats.

AICTE would insist that the maximum class size cannot be more than 60. Hence CS and IT students had to have separate classes. Since the CS faculty was already fully loaded, and larger classes were not allowed, fresh faculty had to be hired for IT program. So department of IT was created in parallel to department of CS in all such colleges. Typically, CS departments preceded IT departments by a few years. So when IT departments were created, CS was already "established."

When they tried to hire a faculty, s/he would want to be part of an "established" department and not a new department created just for satisfying regulatory bodies. In case the faculty member had good credentials, the management would consent to his/her demand and give an appointment in CS, but if s/he had average credentials, the management would force the appointment in IT department. So typically, CS departments got better faculty and IT departments got worse faculty. And even though the curriculum was almost identical, the quality of education was not the same.

Over a period of time, AICTE started demanding that the difference be not just for namesake, but there should be real difference. So, slowly, they started introducing difference in the two curriculum. IT could now include more of communication, or more of software engineering, or more of applied stuff, while CS would have more maths, theoretical computer science, etc. But in most institutions, the IT department remain a distant second cousin to CS department.

NASSCOM and others in industry also realized that the only way to increase the number of graduates is to legitimize IT as a new discipline. So they lobbied with state governments and central government to start IT programs, create Institutes of IT, and so on.

I am sure there are places where both CS and IT departments are of similar quality, but in most places they are not. Of course, there are places which only offer a degree in IT. Since there is no strong versus weak issue, they have put in all the faculty hired in one department, and those departments are good.

So, in general, if the Institute has both an IT department and a CS department, do check the credentials of both the departments before deciding which one to join.

Prof.Vyas said...

As i am working at IIIT-A , AND KNOW THAT PROF.SANGHI VISITED US NUMBER OF TIMES, I WAS WONDERING WHETHER HE STUDIED OUR COURSE-MODEL( We had some difference like mini-projects being done by each and every student from 5th sem. )and would be curious to know his opinion and views about IIIT-A.
Prof.O.P.Vyas

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

Prof. Vyas, Like many other good institutions, IIIT-A has both its strengths and weaknesses. I would not just look at the curriculum and say, oh, they are so different, they have mini projects which most others don't. I also have to see the actual implementation of that component and be convinced that the quality of those mini-projects is such that this difference in curriculum is making a difference to the quality of education as a whole. I would like to be convinced that these mini-projects are significantly different from typical projects that students in good institutions do in Operating Systems, Compilers, Networks, Databases, Software Engineering and other courses.

As you know most of my visits to IIIT-A have been just for 3-4 hours at most, and I haven't had time to really talk to a lot of people, and I have had pretty much no interaction with students in those short visits.

I would not like to add any institute in this list without really knowing about them well, and I don't think I can confidently say that I know enough about IIIT-A.

abraham said...

Sir, your views on Motilal nehru NIT Allahabad??. It is the first college in India to award B.Tech degrees in computer science and engineering

Gurushree said...

I read the comments with some interest. What I would like to know is what are the options other than those considered here. Does it mean that if you can't get into these institutions you can't succeed in your chosen field like CS/IT? What about private universities?

sandipan said...

Sir,Do u also suggest m.tech degrees from the above mentioned institutes?

surya pratap desai said...

sir, what about IIIT Bangalore??, im interested to join in it...

Plz do say about it, it will be useful to many.

abhishek mallik said...

sir, u have included IIIT-H as well as IIIT-D, but any comments on IIIT Bangalore...

Dheeraj Sanghi said...

I get maximum number of emails and comments on this blog about exclusion of IIIT Bangalore. I have clearly mentioned in the blog that I am restricting the list to those institutes which had an under-graduate program in CS or IT at the time of writing this blog, which was in 2011.

abhishek mallik said...

sir,
from 2012 IIIT Bangalore is also going to enter in this arena with their 5 year integrated Mtech programme in IT.

any comments on where this program will stand...

thanks !!

utoniumharsha said...

SIR..if you had to choose between NIT Calicut CSE and IIIT Hyderabad CSE, which one would you recommend...

Atul Negi said...

Just in case somebody came hear looking for Computer Science Research Rankings: http://www.scribd.com/doc/76047917/Ranking-of-Indian-Institutions-Contributing-to-Computer-Science-Research

Kammy said...

Sir , i don't think that only number of PHD's or MTECH from IIT or IISC ensure the quality of Education , first of all teacher should be able to convey himself among students and do not show that he/she is way superior ,they should have a proper way of communicating with students , they are there to help not scare them to such extent that student scare even to ask them for help

Rajendra said...

Sir,
Your opinion on MNIT Jaipur? I came to know that MNIT is now headed by I K Bhat. Does that take institute (with old baggage) in forward direction?

SUBHADIP SADHUKHAN said...

Sir I am happy that you have mentioned jadavpur in your preffered list of studying computer cience You have raised the quality of research papers of this institute.For your knowledge IT would like to inform you that there are some of the worldclass instiute in sorrounding student reffer to do their research in this institute itself because the intense academic collaboration it has got with foreign as well as all other iits iisc iits.Also one thing I have realised that the people here prefers this institute because of its low tution fees .Here students belive that to do reseach one needs a peace of mind that can only be achived being in vicinity of home that's why I have seen a lot of students to do research in ju leaving the opportunity to do research in iits.And about the quality of research there are lot of faculty members in so called good institutes as mentioned in your article who only mebers outside iit systems or not having foreign degree.So it shows the quality of the research in ju.And iiit hyd has gained some highlight it is simply because of its geographycal position bcoz hyd is having most well seattled it companies.If ju would have in south india it only could have been compared with iisc bangalore.The another burden it finds is it is a state govt university so it can not total indepndent at time time of admission particularly in research field.
I have an opportunity to interact with some of the best faculty members through the coutry and I am very happy the amount of reputation and admire the research scolar from jadavpur university is having among the research scolar.It is only the geographycal position which is laging jadavpur university to be comparable as per iisc blore.what do you think sir pls reply .