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One of the faculty members who will be part of all the three initiatives is Prof. Balaraman Ravindran of the Computer Science department. “Competence that you develop in one domain can be used in other domains,” says Prof. Ravindran, underscoring the interdisciplinary nature of the research to be carried out. “Almost all my undergraduate students right now, who are starting their dual-degree projects coming summer, are on data sciences projects.”

But at IIT Madras, interdisciplinary activities aren’t confined to formal coursework and academics. The newly-formed Analytics Club at the student-run Centre for Innovation, or CFI, through projects and workshops, helps students acquire the skills required to extract meaning from data, which can be put to use doing live projects with real-world data in partnership with companies in the field of analytics.

CFI comes alive at night, buzzing with activity as student teams work hard on different projects till the wee hours of the morning. Funded by the 1981 batch, CFI was envisioned as a forum for the creative output of engineers-in-the-making at IIT-M, along the lines of the Edgerton Center at M.I.T. The numerous clubs that make up CFI are a medium for the exchange of knowledge and ideas among students. The Astronomy Club, for instance, regularly organizes observation sessions on the rooftops of the department buildings. The IBot Club sends teams to prominent robotics competitions and has won accolades. The Computer Vision Group mentors student projects in the area of image processing and has also successfully completed various industrial consultancy projects. There’s even a 3D Printing Club that captures the enthusiasm the open source nature of 3D printers has generated amongst students.

A great workspace, state-of-the-art inventory, regular workshops and ample guidance from seniors and faculty, and just as importantly, the instilling of the qualities of teamwork and leadership among its members, make CFI a popular organization that is unique to IIT Madras. For more details please visit http://cfi.iitm.ac.in/.