By Anonya Chatterjee, Batch of 2015
A dynamic and nonchalant person who has epitomized how one may achieve excellence and authority, who advocates and has abided by the motto that “there is no shortcut to success”. His gleeful persona makes seemingly obscure lectures extremely overwhelming and keeps students engrossed in class. His famous book has become “Bible” for the third semester students. Surely, one would grasp a fair idea that we are talking about our very own “TKR Sir”. Catch a glimpse of the informative yet jovial rendezvous where he shares his thoughts with us.
Q. Firstly we would like to know when did you enter the teaching arena and since how long have you been associated with the NSIT family?
A. I had commenced my profession as a pedagogue from the Maharaja Agrasen Institute of Technology, Rohini. I joined NSIT in 2001 for pursuing my post- graduation (M.Tech). My association with NSIT has been since 2005 when I took up full-time PhD here. I have been teaching here as an Assistant Professor since 2008.
Q. What are the various domains of research that you have delved into?
A. My key area of research includes Digital Signal Processing, which broadly pertains to the study of deterministic signals and Statistical Signal Processing which is linked with the analysis of random signals.
Q. Please enlighten us about the projects for which you have provided your guidance to the students?
A. At the undergraduate level, I undertake student projects in the fields of Communication, Signal Processing and Image Processing.
Q. ….And the ones you are presently mentoring?
A. Presently, I am mentoring students of 8 th and 6 th semesters for projects in the aforesaid areas. Also a bunch of students from 4 th semester are currently doing a project on Signal Processing.
Q. Most of us are eager to know what are the parameters based upon which you select amongst the students who approach you to seek your assistance and mentorship. Is any pre-requisite knowledge essential? Is any preference given to those from ECE branch?
A. It is expected that students keen to pursue projects in Signal Processing and Communication have basic knowledge of Signals and Systems and Communication Systems respectively. Students have ample scope of enriching their know-how in these subjects since these are taught in 3 rd and 5 th semesters. However, students inquisitive about Image Processing are required to invest additional endeavour and explore beyond textbooks if they are zealous to take up a project in the field.
Q. How would you opine on the current syllabi being followed and taught at NSIT? Do you feel that the curriculum would suffice the rapidly changing industrial demands? How can this change be incorporated? How can the pedagogy be modified in accordance?
A. Undoubtedly the syllabus needs revision at regular intervals. But the curriculum cannot be termed as entirely obsolete since the flexibility to manoeuvre the course content, as has been the case of some subjects like Circuits & Systems and Communication Systems, does lie in the hands of faculty. Thus the course title remains unaltered, since only the University of Delhi could leverage it, while the content may be modified in accordance with the changing trends.
Q. Over the past few years, the sanctioned intake of students into the Institute has increased. Do you think the present student-faculty ratio is affecting the education being imparted in any way?
A. The current student- faculty ratio has obviously impacted the education in terms of quality teaching- taking a toll on both theory lectures as well as laboratory classes. Consequently it becomes imperative to appoint guest faculties to compensate for the deteriorating student-faculty ratio. The approval of such appointments by the Government is a time-consuming procedure. Moreover the quality of the guest faculty may not be “up to the mark” and they may not be vying enough.
Q. A question that frequently pops up in the minds of ECE students (in particular) is the limited number of core companies visiting the college. Many as a result are swept towards non-technical fields. So what are the other equally interesting opportunities one could explore?
A. Besides working in technical fields in core companies, one could ponder of being a Data Analyst. The job prospects for Data Analysts are witnessing a mushrooming demand and gaining immense popularity. Data Analysts can explore work in myriads of fields- for instance; Biomedical Data Analysts are engaged with the medical sector. Moreover, preconceived notions of such jobs being non-technical are erroneous. These also employ extensive use of statistics, communications and random variables to name a few. So, students desirous of continuing with their technical line can look up for this option too.
Q. The very idea of “research” might sound arduous, boring and unrewarding to a lot of students. How would you convince students here to pursue a career in research?
A. It would be a daunting task to persuade students here in this regard. It is difficult to figure out why students are unwilling to go for postgraduate studies, particularly in technical education. Very few students have interest in pursuing research in their respective core fields and only a small fraction go for further studies like MS. But it is relatively easier to convince postgraduate students to take up research as a career and they don’t perceive research as mundane. Students have full freedom to identify the subject that they find intriguing and once they initiate with research in that sphere, they would realise that research is not at all boring.
Q. …And even in research most of us prefer to go abroad, rather than staying in India. What is your take in this regard?
A. India has failed to absorb people into the research and development sector due to reasons well known to all. Even premier institutions such as IITs have seen a fiasco as far as garnering undergraduate students for M.Tech programmes is concerned. Meagre financial assistance and incentives are bottlenecks for those who envision development in research, whereas in foreign countries there is sufficient financial aid is granted and state-of-the art infrastructure is available.
Q. Which are the societies in college/ outside you are associated with?
A. I am associated with Institution of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers (IETE). It is a technical professional society, having centers all over India.
Q. Your research papers have been published in highly coveted international publications like the IEEE, Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, Thamnasat International Journal etc. Also your book on “Signals and Systems” is well known to all. Please take us through your journey.
A. While doing my PhD, I was free from the preoccupations and prior to the submission of my thesis; I had three to four months’ time as it is a rule that one can submit the thesis only after two years from the date of registration. I always had the idea of writing a book on Signals and Systems at the back of my mind. Meanwhile, I was approached by Oxford University Press and I agreed to write the book. There are many good books available such as Oppenheim & Willsky and Simon & Haykins. But students usually find the language of these books challenging. I also found it difficult to comprehend. On the contrary, there are books by some Indian authors that are too easy. I consider my book between these two categories. The purpose is to provide an exhaustive, simplified and student-friendly book.
Q. A lot of 3 rd semester students are absolutely terrified of the subject “Signals and Systems”. What do you think is the reason behind it?
A. The prime reason is that it is something entirely different from what students have studied till that time. The subject is mainly about application of mathematics into engineering problems. For instance, they study about functions and convolution in mathematics but they are not aware of the practical applications of such manipulations. It deals with a lot of terms that students are not acquainted with. All this makes this subject little tricky.
Q. A few words of advice for NSITians…
A. My motto in life is that there is no shortcut to success. I would advise every NSITian to persevere and work hard.