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Kolkata Makes Way for TechVista 2012
January 19, 2012 12:01 AM PT

Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta, long has been venerated as a center of intellectual refinement. Once regarded as the Paris of the East, the city, like several others within India, has turned in recent years into a vibrant IT hub. Still, it retains its well-deserved dual reputations as both the cultural capital and the literary heart of the nation.

On Jan. 20, though, the city will add another sobriquet. In hosting TechVista 2012, it will don the mantle of India’s Center of Computer-Science Excellence.

TechVista 2012 logoTechVista 2012, the eighth annual research symposium hosted by Microsoft Research India, gathers together world-class computing researchers, governmental elites, and accomplished academics for a day of stimulating interaction and the exchange of intriguing perspectives on the role computer science has to play in the 21st century—and the directions related research could take.

“Kolkata is a great city with a rich history and culture,” said P. Anandan, Microsoft distinguished scientist and managing director of Microsoft Research India. “It has been one of India’s capitals in art, literature, and science, and it is the home of many great intellectuals.

“It’s really exciting to hold TechVista in Kolkata, a city which has a long tradition of world-renowned thinkers in fields as far flung as science, literature, philosophy, and social reform.”

The event, to be held in the auditorium at Kolkata’s Science City, the largest science center in India, will feature a bevy of computing luminaries, from both Microsoft Research India and the academic community.

The hundreds of attendees will hear from Anandan and Rick Rashid, Microsoft chief research officer. Joining them will be some of computer-science’s most renowned thought leaders, including:

  • Katsushi Ikeuchi, professor at the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo. Winner of the 1990 David Marr Prize in computer vision, Ikeuchi will discuss e-Heritage Projects in Italy, Cambodia, and Japan: Lessons Learned, a presentation that will outline the digital preservation of irreplaceable cultural treasures for access by future generations.
  • Narendra Ahuja, Donald Biggar Willet Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Ahuja, also coordinator of the Program Steering and Implementation Group at the Information Technology Research Academy, will give a talk entitled A Government of India Department of Information Program to Enhance the Quality of IT and Related Advance Education.
  • Ravi Kannan, principal researcher at Microsoft Research India. Kannan, honored last year with the Knuth Prize by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Algorithms and Computation Theory, will speak on Geometry and Massive Data, a broad study of mathematics and algorithms focused on the analysis of data numbering into the millions as a technique to enhance geometric understanding.
  • Frans Kaashoek, Charles Piper Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of that institution’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Kaashoek, who in 2001 was named inaugural recipient of the ACM Special Interest Group on Operating Systems’ Mark Weiser Award, will discuss The Multicore Evolution and Operating Systems, about how operating systems can achieve sufficient scalability to cope with a near-term computing future featuring multicore chips with hundreds of cores.

Also featured during TechVista 2012 will be a poster session in which 17 Ph.D. candidates from Indian universities will exhibit their research before a high-profile audience that will include the keynote speakers and fellow students.

And sure to generate intense excitement is a contest in which 10 contestants attending the event will win an Xbox 360 bundle that will include the Kinect gaming console.

The symposium falls squarely in the tradition established by past versions of TechVista, which over the years has featured keynote addresses from A.M. Turing Award winners John Hopcroft, Butler Lampson, Raj Reddy, Barbara Liskov, and Tony Hoare; Academy Award winners Michael Kass and Ken Perlin; and world-renowned scientists Eric Grimson, Manuela Veloso, Maria Klawe, Takeo Kanade, Ashok Jhunjhunwala, and Krithi Ramamritham.

TechVista 2012 promises to be just as stimulating, bringing yet more intellectual sustenance to burnish further Kolkata’s long-established reputation of smart people doing discussing absorbing topics.