9th February, 2018 was marked off as a historic day in the academic lifespan of IIIT Allahabad. Having proved our grit as a top research institute and a campus boastful of shrewd but smart coders, the institute, since its inception, was eagerly waiting for its opportunity to showcase its brilliance globally. And on this very day, IIIT A, announced itself on a global academic community, by becoming a part of the prestiged ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) community. The event, like all other events of IIIT A, was a grand one with immense efforts coming in from the student members as well as faculty in charge. Finally, the institute had its own ACM_IIITA Student Chapter which was launched in the presence of Dr. P. Nagabhushan (Director of IIIT Allahabad) and our chief guest Prof. Sandeep Shukla (ACM distinguished speaker and HOD Dept. of CS, IIT Kanpur).
Prof. Shukla, in his calm and composed demeanor, marked the launch of ACM_IIITA Student Chapter website (https://acm.iiita.ac.in/), guiding every student in their quest to understand the research challenges typically faced by computer professionals and how ACM as a community tries to bridge the gap between academics and industry standards. Today, Prof. Shukla is identified as the Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions of Embedded Computer Systems (TECS) and also as an ACM distinguished scientist. His numerous honors include receiving the Ramanujan Fellowship from the Science and Engineering Research Board, Government of India, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the US White House.
Having someone of Prof. Shukla’s caliber at the inaugural event was not only satisfying but naturally the excitement was at it’s peak. And we couldn’t let go of this wonderful opportunity to have him deliver a lecture on Cyber Security and his current research work. I remember very vividly, the way he started off with his lecture by boastfully announcing, “If you are NOT a paranoid, I am about to make you one!”. For the next 40 minutes, he delivered one of the most interesting cyber security talk, that touched Government policies, industrial infrastructure, research complications, famous ransomware attacks, and cyber security’s importance in the lives of common men. Prof. Shukla, very openly respected the abilities of “hackers” and described the ever lasting game of topping one another, that exists between Cyber Security Professionals and the “hackers”. All this was also accompanied by quirky smart jokes that he used as his punchlines. After the talk was done, Prof. Shukla answered all the questions, the audience had for him, very often going beyond the conceptual framework and getting more technical. As far as I was concerned, I could definitely see a sense of paranoia (for the good), very elegantly introduced amongst the audience.
As we moved on to present Prof. Shukla, our token of gratitude, for his presence and sharing his expertise with us, we definitely could see proud and happy faces of students and faculties alike. Not only had IIIT Allahabad earned it’s own ACM Student Chapter, but also had been blessed with one of the most inspiring technical talk from a global academic expert. And guess what? This was just the start. With the success of the inaugural occasion, the Student Chapter and its members are already working onto their next event with invigorated zeal and enthusiasm. It is surely going to be an exciting journey ahead, to see this simple and modest seed getting transformed into a gracious, lush, fruit bearing tree.
- Swapnil Chavan