The school aims to rise to the top 20 AI-focused schools worldwide, focusing on Responsible AI and advising the Government on policy-making and societal impact
CHENNAI, India, Jan. 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) today announced an endowment of Rs. 110 Crore by Mr. Sunil Wadhwani towards setting up the Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI.
A distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras and the Co-founder of IGATE and Mastech Digital, Mr. Wadhwani’s endowment is one of the largest gifts given by an alumnus to create a School at an educational institution in India.
The MoU was signed today (30th January 2024) between Mr. Sunil Wadhwani and Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, in the presence of faculty, students, alumni, and researchers.
With a vision to be among the top AI-focused schools worldwide, Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI also aims to advise the Government and policymakers on Data Science and AI-related policy areas.
Highlighting the need for such a school, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras said, “With the advent of Industry 4.0, wherein AI and Data Science are the main movers, the need for a school for Data Science and AI is critical. IIT Madras has started this highly interdisciplinary school involving faculty from many departments joining hands to work on niche areas, including Responsible AI. I also express my deep gratitude to Mr. Sunil Wadhwani and his family for sponsoring this School with a generous donation through their foundation, which is close to Rs. 110 crore.”
Over the years, Mr. Sunil Wadhwani, through his family foundation, Wadhwani Impact Trust, has been supporting social welfare, affordable healthcare, and scientific research through the Wadhwani Institute of Sustainable Healthcare (WISH Foundation) and Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence (WIAI), respectively.
The WISH Foundation has impacted over 30 million lives across 8 states in India by making quality healthcare accessible to economically challenged people. As an independent non-profit institute, WIAI develops AI-based solutions for underserved communities in developing countries. Mr Wadhwani was named in TIME100 AI list of 2023, a list of the 100 most influential people in Artificial Intelligence across the globe.
Commenting on the occasion, Mr. Sunil Wadhwani said, “AI and social impact are close to my heart, and it’s my honour to be contributing to my alma mater. I see a strong need for a dedicated Data Science and AI school focusing on foundational and applied research in these areas. With the advancements in science and technology, India holds immense potential and can be a world leader in AI and allied sciences. As a proud alumnus, IIT Madras holds a special place in my life, and I am gratified to be associated with them in this manner.”
Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI will offer the following courses:
- B.Tech. programme in AI and Data Analytics
- M.Tech. programme in Data Science and AI
- M.S. & Ph.D. Programmes in Data Science and AI
- Joint M.Sc. in Data Science and AI with the University of Birmingham, UK
- International Interdisciplinary Masters Programme in Data Science
- Interdisciplinary Dual Degree in Data Science
- Web-enabled M.Tech. in Industrial AI
Admissions will commence in July 2024. The school will also run a Joint M.Sc. in Data Science and AI with the University of Birmingham, U.K., admitting 30 students and an International Interdisciplinary Masters Programme.
Thanking Mr. Wadhwani for his generous contribution, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras said, “We are grateful to Mr. Wadhwani who has been a long-time supporter of IIT Madras. Responsible AI deployed in India is ready for use in the world at large. As a result, this School will make its mark on the world stage soon.”
Laying out the vision, Prof. B. Ravindran, Founding Head, Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI, IIT Madras said, “Data Science and AI are inherently interdisciplinary fields. The Wadhwani School will enable close collaboration between domain experts and AI researchers to develop solutions that integrate AI with existing approaches. Our various degree programs will train students in core AI techniques, data-driven problem solving, and interdisciplinary design adhering to principles of responsible AI. There will be programs that cater to industry professionals and an international student body.”
Highlighting the importance of a strong working relationship between premier institutions and their alumni and corporate partners, Mr. Kaviraj Nair, CEO, Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras said, “Alumni giving to research endowments is like planting seeds of knowledge that bear fruit for the entire world. Through such support, our alumni not only honour our past but also invest in our future. Their contributions fuel the pursuit of excellence, transforming our IIT Madras into a beacon of innovation and a catalyst for positive change.”
Extensive interdisciplinary research efforts will place IIT Madras at the forefront of Data Science and AI. This new School will integrate core and fundamental research with application research.
The Applied Research Areas of this School will be:
- Smart cities and transportation
- Financial analytics
- Energy and Environment
- Systems Biology
About Mr. Sunil Wadhwani:
Mr. Sunil Wadhwani is an entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of IGATE and Mastech Digital. Born in Delhi, India, Mr. Sunil Wadhwani obtained his B.Tech. Degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1974 and a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University at Pittsburgh in 1976. IIT Madras proudly honoured this engineering entrepreneur in 1999 with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Sunil is presently the Managing Partner at SWAT Capital. Through his family foundation, Wadhwani Impact Trust, he is focused on several philanthropic initiatives, two of which are the Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare (WISH) and the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence (WIAI). For more information, visit:
Sunil Wadhwani on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunil_Wadhwani
WISH Foundation: https://wishfoundationindia.org/about-wish/
About IIT Madras:
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) was established in 1959 by the Government of India as an ‘Institute of National Importance’. The activities of the Institute in various fields of Science and Technology are carried out in 17 academic departments and several advanced interdisciplinary research academic centres. The Institute offers undergraduate and postgraduate programmes leading to B.Tech., M.Sc., M.B.A., M.Tech., M.S., and Ph.D., degrees in a variety of specialisations. IITM is a residential institute with more than 600 faculty and 9,500 students. Students from 18 countries are enrolled here. IITM fosters an active entrepreneurial culture with strong curricular support and through the IITM Incubation Cell.
Recognized as an Institution of Eminence (IoE) in 2019, IITM has been ranked No.1 in the ‘Overall’ Category for the fifth consecutive year in India Ranking 2023 released by National Institutional Ranking Framework, Ministry of Education, Govt. of India. The Institute has also been ranked No.1 in the ‘Engineering Institutions’ category in the same Rankings for eight consecutive years – from 2016 to 2023. It was also adjudged as the ‘Top innovative Institution’ in the country in Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) in 2019, 2020 and 2021. ARIIA Ranking was launched by the Innovation Cell of Ministry of Education.
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