BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERs – Warriors of all time

In COVID-19 crisis, the real warriors were the Biomedical Engineers. They played an important role in medical technology in patient care. They involved themselves in making ventilators and PPE (personal protection equipment) kits to help the COVID patients. Biomedical engineers focus on inventing new devices and develop modern technologies which help in improving human health care system. With the help of the doctors and researchers, Biomedical Engineers are developing equipments to solve clinical problems. 

Electing biomedical engineering as métier is extremely rewarding. Biomedical Engineers has the ability to save lives through innovation and modern technology. That’s why experts from Human Resource Department’s planning team suggest that every doctor along with medical studies should be accustomed with biomedical engineering studies. 

Biomedical engineering, also known as medical engineering, is a form of engineering associated with the study in the fields of biology and health care system.  

The following qualities are required for Biomedical Engineers: 

  • Analytical skills 
  • Communication skills  
  • Listening skills 
  • Math skills 

Apart from these skills, they should have idea of all disciplines ranging from material science to electronics, life science to biomechanics and mathematics to computation. Because of these, Biomedical Engineering is completely interdisciplinary in nature and the Biomedical Engineers possess vast knowledge across of all domains.  

Create your future in Augmented Reality, Virtual reality and Mixed Reality

Augmented and virtual reality add a new dimension to technology-enabled teaching and learning. 

Through the use of augmented reality, we have the opportunity to see fragments of virtually inserted visuals, video, music, or GPS data and information superimposed over a view of the real environment. The GPS location on your smartphone is probably the most well-known example of augmented reality. In addition, you can have an experience of augmented reality by using other apps such as: 

  • Froggipedia
  • Augment
  • Jigspace
  • View
  • Quiver

A complete submersion into the world of computer-generated reality is what is meant by the term “virtual reality.” Although it is not always attainable at the moment, the ideal form of virtual reality will comprise the simultaneous stimulation of all five senses, namely sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. However, this is not always the case at the moment. The utilisation of virtual reality simulations can be beneficial to industries such as tourism, shopping, education, healthcare, and Industry 4.0. There are a plethora of virtual reality (VR) products currently available, including: 

  • Oculus Go
  • HTC Vive
  • Virtual Reality for the PlayStation®
  • The Hololens from Microsoft
  • Google Cardboard/daydream view

A combination of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality is known as Mixed Reality (MR). Virtual reality (MR) is a technology that combines your vision of the real world with computer-generated or digitally-created images. In addition to this, it makes it easier to anchor and interact with things that have been virtually inserted into the area that you are in. Because MR and AR are now located in such close proximity to one another, this proximity may lead to some confusion. A form of augmented reality that is both more engaging and more interactive is called mixed reality (MR). The items found in Hybrid Reality are more accurate representations of their respective real-world applications. Take for example the Hololens app, which is considered a hybrid or mixed reality. 

Microsoft has designed the Hololens HMD (Head Mounted Display) with advanced sensors that detect your interaction within a mixed environment. It analyses how you interact with the digital data present in your actual view environment. The Hololens is an example of a holographic device used for mixed reality. Other Immersive devices include the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset and the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition. 

Figure: AR image
Figure: AR image

The Hololens is also considered as holographic device. Other Immersive devices include the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset and the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition. These HMDs are opaque and completely block out the outside world. In addition, they use a camera for tracking and surveillance purposes.

Hybrid Reality can be utilized for educational purposes, such as in the fields of mechanics, medicine, Biotechnology etc. It aids in worker assistance by providing clear instructions.

Figure: Mixed reality in Microsoft hololens
Figure: Mixed reality in Microsoft hololens

It interacts appropriately with the real-world scenario and generates superior solutions and practises.

AI and Metaverse: An Important Integration of Technology!

AI and Metaverse have the intention of driving and integrating various virtual transformation technologies. In addition, the future of the Metaverse is a hot issue of discussion among specialists in the field of technology. The Metaverse is a universe of virtual reality that enables user interactions by making use of a wide range of technologies, such as AI, augmented reality, virtual reality, and so on.

In addition, users are able to interact with three-dimensional digital items as well as virtual avatars by making use of a variety of technologies and solutions. AI and the Metaverse collaborate to bring out breakthroughs and advancements that herald the beginning of a new era of reality. Bloomberg predicts that the market for the Metaverse will reach $783.30 billion by the year 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.10 percent. According to the findings obtained by McKinsey, fifty percent of respondents stated that their organisations had already incorporated AI in at least one aspect of company operations. According to a study conducted by Deloitte, forty percent of employees report that their companies have a comprehensive AI strategy. Artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), fifth-generation wireless (5G) networks, and blockchain are all expected to work together to create a virtual reality within the Metaverse, which is a primary component of Industry 5.0.

The term “Metaverse” is derived from the combination of two words: “Meta,” which refers to transcendence or virtuality, and “verse,” which is a contraction of the word “Universe.” To put it another way, the Metaverse is a digital reality that, by employing a wide range of technological methods, recreates the conditions of the physical world. In addition to this, it creates a virtual space for users by utilising various technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and so on. In addition to this, it brings together the digital and real worlds in order to provide users with the ability to purchase and sell solutions, produce things, engage with people and locations, and so on. As a consequence, the following is a list of the primary Metaverse levels:

  • Infrastructure: The data centres, central processing units, graphics processing units, cloud computing, and other technologies are used to build the infrastructure and environment of the metaverse.
  • Human Interface: Human Interface also encourages people to interact with the virtual world by utilising cutting-edge technologies in their experience. The experience can be improved, for example, by using mobile phones, smartwatches, smart glasses, and other types of wearable technology.
  • Decentralization: In addition, the Metaverse manages massive data collections, which necessitates the use of a decentralised approach to problem solving. Edge computing, blockchain, microservices, and other similar technologies all offer options for the processing and examination of data.
  • Computing in Three Dimensions: Three-dimensional computing makes it easier to digitalize Metaverse products, services, and solutions. In addition to this, it makes Metaverse interactions and activities much simpler and more effective.
  • The Creator Economy: As the popularity of the Metaverse continues to rise, it drives creators, developers, and service providers to provide improved virtual solutions.
  • Experience: Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and extended reality, as well as other technologies, are used to design the functionalities of the Metaverse in order to offer its users a one-of-a-kind experience.

What role does AI play in the Metaverse?

The purpose of artificial intelligence is to facilitate a wide range of Metaverse functions. In addition to this, it makes it easier for users to access a variety of virtual world environments. In addition to this, it helps users create content and promotes human engagement with other users while also providing support virtually.

Integrations of many types of reality, including augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality, are what AI and the Metaverse are all about. AI also broadens the possibilities of the Metaverse by enabling users and businesses to produce, purchase, and sell a wide variety of products, services, and solutions. This, in turn, creates new opportunities. In addition to this, it would encourage users to work together with both other users and businesses in order to broaden their scope of available prospects.

AI not only enables the virtual world to deploy a variety of services but also enables the Metaverse to do so by combining the virtual world with NLP, computer vision, and neural interface. Because of this, artificial intelligence plays a significant part in the Metaverse, which provides dependability and enhances performance for a more satisfying experience.

In addition to this, the building of translation systems for new AI models and virtual assistants is a necessary step in the process of developing AI for the Metaverse. In order for the Metaverse to be realized, it is necessary for AI to reach its full potential and become reliable in people’s everyday lives. In addition to this, it claims to give pictures, sounds, and sensations that are extremely lifelike.

AI and ML for a better future

Have you ever considered about what motivates artificial intelligence programmes like Tony Stark’s JARVIS or the common man’s Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri? These programmes can answer your calls and help you make decisions, but have you ever wondered what motivates them? In what ways does their brain operate? The application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning is the straightforward response to each and every one of your questions (ML). The mechanical brains are controlled by artificial intelligence, which attempts to simulate human intellect so that they can perform like a human brain. With more and more research being done on AI and ML, there is the potential for AI and ML to assist in training computers to make decisions on their own, which will eventually make our lives easier by reducing the amount of work we have to perform. 

This article, which was meticulously researched and penned with the intention of depicting the future reach of AI and ML in India, was created with the goal of assisting students in understanding how this subject will be advantageous to them if they decide to pursue it. 

The potential applications of artificial intelligence in India are still in the process of being adopted, but the technology is gradually being put to use to find intelligent solutions to modern problems in almost all of the country’s most important industries, including agriculture, healthcare, education and infrastructure, transportation, cyber security, banking, manufacturing, business, hospitality, and entertainment. Readers who are interested in pursuing a course in artificial intelligence can find helpful information in this article. Candidates will gain some insight into the potential of artificial intelligence in India if they read this article and consider its contents. 

Scope of AI in India 

Both artificial intelligence and machine learning have a promising future in India and an immense potential to alter every area of the economy for the benefit of society. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have a bright future in India. AI is an umbrella term that incorporates a variety of helpful technologies, such as self-improving algorithms, machine learning, pattern recognition, and large amounts of data. Soon, there will not be a single business or market segment in India that is immune to the effects of this powerful instrument. This is one of the reasons why there is a growing demand for online courses in artificial intelligence in India. 

Scope of AI and ML in Education Sector 

By utilizing a variety of AI applications such as text translation systems, real-time message to speech, automating mundane and also repeated tasks such as taking presence, automating grading, and also customizing the learning journey based on ability, comprehension, and also experience, artificial intelligence can help our instructors be more effective. Within the purview of Artificial Intelligence education and learning is the consideration of the prospect of utilizing AI-powered rating machines that are able to evaluate solutions in an objective manner. This is being carried out in college and university settings in a step-by-step fashion. Real-time text-to-speech synthesis and text translation are two further AI-based applications in the educational sector. 

The Role of AI and ML in the Development of Chatbots 

The combination of chatbots in the digital framework or availability via the IVRS system education domain can be transformative in a country as diverse as India. They can be educated on the subject matter, and a large percentage of the students’ doubts can be answered quickly. This reduces the current workload of educators, allowing them to focus on more creative tasks. 

The Integration of AI and ML into the Automated Grading System 

On a more global scale, methods of machine learning such as Natural Language Processing could be used for automated grading of assessments on systems such as E-PATHSHALA, SWAYAM (Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds), and DIKSHA. This would apply not only to inquiries that are subjective but also to those that are objective. This is because of the National Education Policy 2019, which places an emphasis on computer and internet literacy. 

The Role of AI and ML in the Healthcare Industry 

The healthcare industry in India is one of the most rapidly developing and competitive markets in the world. There is a dearth of doctors and services, including competent nurses and technicians, as well as infrastructure. This is one of the primary issues, but there are many others as well, including affordability and accessibility. As a result of the majority of high-quality medical facilities in India being situated in close proximity to tier 1 and tier 2 cities, access to healthcare in India is not uniformly distributed across the country physically. Aside from that, as Artificial Intelligence develops, there will be an increase in efficiency, which will lead to a reduction in the overall cost of medical treatment. 

Because AI is able to process vast volumes of data in a short amount of time, it can be of assistance in the creation of medical equipment, as well as in design and innovation. Having a system that is enabled with AI helps to eliminate medical errors and increases overall productivity. Artificial intelligence has the potential to both circumvent access barriers and provide a solution to the accessibility problem by applying early detection followed by suitable diagnostic conclusions. 

AI and ML in the Agriculture Sector 

In India, agriculture is a major source of income for many people. Traditional farming methods pose a slight challenge for Indian farmers. Thermal imaging cameras can be used to continuously monitor agricultural land to ensure that plants receive adequate water. When it comes to selecting the right crop and the optimum method of sowing, this tool can help you get the most out of your land and save money. 

As a result, improved insect control preparation can benefit from the application of artificial intelligence to predict behaviour and investigate parasites. Artificial intelligence-assisted anticipating modelling can be effective for delivering more detailed demand-supply details and for predicting the needs of farmers in terms of agricultural produce. 

Automated Vehicles Using AI and ML 

In the transportation industry, artificial intelligence offers a lot of potential. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to be useful in a few specific contexts. Since its invention in 1922, autopilot has been used to keep ships, planes, and spacecraft on course. Self-driving cars are another field of research. Self-driving automobiles are being researched by companies around the world, including India. The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning has been prevalent in the design of these automobiles from the beginning. Self-driving cars, according to experts, will have various advantages, such as reducing pollution and eliminating human error from driving. 

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for a Smart Home 

We are surrounded by artificial intelligence. Most of the time, we don’t even realize we’re interacting with devices powered by artificial intelligence. As an example, we routinely use OK GOOGLE, ALEXA, or CORTANA to execute a variety of chores by simply speaking to them. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are used by these intelligent assistants for voice recognition. Learning from the user’s commands improves their productivity. You may ask a question, play a song, and buy anything online all with the help of this clever assistant. 

Applied Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Cybersecurity 

Cybersecurity is another area where AI is being applied. Many companies have to deal with a lot of data. A security system is required, for example, in the banking industry or government entities that maintain vast databases containing the personal information of citizens. An good example of this topic is Cognitive Artificial Intelligence (CAI). Additionally, it helps analysts make better judgments by detecting, analysing, and reporting on hazards. 

Machine Learning formulae and Deep Learning networks are used to improve and strengthen the AI over time. As a framework and central point of control for safety and security responses, IBM Resilient is an open and agnostic platform. 

In the Manufacturing Industry, AI and ML 

The industrial sector is a popular target market for AI-based firms from India. In order to assist the manufacturing industry flourish, these companies are developing AI-based solutions. Various types of robots are controlled by artificial intelligence in the workplace. The ability to examine data and forecast the future is a unique AI technology. 

Using this AI capabilities, companies may estimate future supply and demand based on data from prior years’ sales or market surveys, allowing them to make faster decisions and better use of existing products. Artificial intelligence (AI) will be widely used in manufacturing in the future years. 

How is Biotechnology impacting millions of lives?

Are you an avid lover of biology? Are you naturally inclined to apply the principles of biology to create an impact on people’s lives? Well, then the Biotechnology sector is where you may find your dream job.

With the world still reeking of over 520 million deaths due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is undeniable that the figure could have been in billions or even more had it not been for the Biotechnology sector. Almost everything starting from the diagnosis and immediate treatment to the development of vaccines brought to light the promise that Biotechnology holds as a leading technology in the modern world. To know more about the potential of Biotechnology and the facets of human lives that it is able to impact upon, read further down.

What is Biotechnology?

Biotechnology is an industrial sector that deals with the manipulation of living organisms to create commercial products. For instance, the wealth of knowledge accumulated by cell biologists, botanists, zoologists, molecular biologists, and geneticists have been implemented by genetic engineers to manipulate information carried by the DNA in order to create transgenic animals and plants of commercial importance. Quite undoubtedly, the deepest penetrations of the biotechnology sector has been in the healthcare and agricultural markets. However, there are several other important areas where Biotechnology is making inroads with sustainable solutions. This blog highlights some fields wherein Biotechnological interventions are working wonders.

Vaccine development

Within a few months of the detection of coronavirus, scientists mapped the entire genome of the virus and it helped to understand how the virus operates. Genome mapping being an important technique in Biotechnology, the Biotechnology sector can boast of its towering presence in global markets across the map. Also, the highly effective mRNA-based vaccine for COVID-19 was first tested in cells inside the laboratory which entails practising some basic techniques of Biotechnology. Weighing the outcomes, government organizations and pharmaceutical giants have entered into strong public-private partnerships to pool resources and fund research in the domain of vaccine development.

Next-generation computing-aided drug discovery

Advanced computing technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have enabled Biotech companies to automate their processes and scale up operations. This handholding of technologies have enabled to reduce the cost and time required to take new drugs from bench to bedside. The ability to analyze large data sets helps medicine manufacturers to identify treatments based on the root cause of a disease. This holds immense potential to reduce the usual 90 percent failure rate for developing new drugs.  Data mining from current clinical trials can also help to predict the effectiveness of treatments down to a molecular level and even predict new or different uses for an existing drug thereby reducing cost and effort of establishing new drugs.

Genome editing

Techniques for manipulating the information present in the DNA, known as gene editing in technical jargon, has come a long way since they were first used to make edits such as addition, deletion, silencing, or replacement of a specific gene. Precise gene editing has been made possible by the advancement of technologies such as the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 systems. Engineered nucleases called CRISPRs acting as molecular scissors have unfurled a plethora of applications in gene therapy for the treatment of many conditions including rare genetic disorders and even fatal cancers. Furthermore, gene editing has also allowed the development of improved transgenic plants and animals capable of synthesizing a variety of medically important recombinant human proteins such as Insulin.

Precision medicine

Sequencing the entire human genome, an initiative known as the Human Genome Project, began in 1990 and was completed by 2003. This was another hallmarking achievement of Biotechnology that now allows extensive screening of patients and targeting of interventions. Improvisation of sequencing technologies have reduced the cost of genetic sequencing drastically ever since thereby making personalized gene sequencing affordable. This, in turn, has enabled the development of personalized treatment plans and targeted therapies, which are more effective than less-specific therapies because they focus on a patient’s genetic constitution. Furthermore, the falling cost of sequencing technologies has fostered the development of rapid and inexpensive methods to detect pathogens from clinical samples as well as soil samples.

Boosting agricultural yields

The global population is set to increase by 25% from 7.9 billion in 2022 to 9.7 billion in 2050. The basic need for a growing population is food, and hence its demand for feeding both people and livestock is about to increase proportionately. This automatically necessitates the use of increasing hectares of land for farming while practically cultivable land will keep on reducing as the expanding population of humans keep encroaching onto such lands. Biotechnology offers a solution to this alarming problem through the approach of gene editing. For example, crops such as wheat or corn may be engineered through the transgenic technology to grow in harsher conditions or produce more grain in a smaller area than other crop varieties while providing the same nutritional value. From another perspective, the development of biopesticides can enable protection of crops without the use of harmful chemicals thereby averting environmental damage. 

Bioprinting and tissue engineering

Another promising futuristic application of Biotechnology in the medical field is 3D bioprinting, wherein bioprinters are used to develop cell-based scaffolds using a ‘bio-ink’ comprising cells and biomaterials. This empowers one to develop skin, bone, and vascular grafts from the patient’s own cells for personalized medicine. The bioprinting technology has added a major thrust to the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine by enabling the creation of autologous tissue grafts for wound healing and organ transplantation.

Conclusion

These trends clearly show that the demand for biotechnology is on the rise. The fact that this particular sector is being able to solve real-life problems related to human health and nutrition has catapulted it to fame. It is also quite evident that biotechnologists need more than just a background in biology, chemistry, or pharmaceutical science to build their careers upon. With innovative solutions rooted to the genetic level, biotechnology is here to stay and offer myriad career opportunities to the brightest minds!

Search for Exact Rabbit Hole: What is the prospect for interdisciplinary

The challenge the current academic space faces are the fact that our post-millennials are virtually wanderers. The access to unlimited information, both visual and textual, has made this generation well equipped with knowledge. Because of the globalization, social media, and urbanization the exposure for a student has widened unimaginably. But studies show this also has created a very self-involved generation. In 2012 Wellesley High School Graduation speech “You are not Special” David McCullough said “Do not get the idea you are anything special because you are not…. even if you are one in a million on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are seven thousand people just like you.”

How can a student inculcate this realization of one being part of a larger world, the need for empathy towards others and understanding other’s perspectives etc. How much our educational system can contribute to creating this awareness in a student. As Maya Angelou pointed out, “any individual is free only when one realizes that one “belongs to every place, not a place at all.” The education system has reached an exhausting level that the compartmentalization or the specializations have created this vacuum for being unaware of any other forms of knowledge. I guess this tendency also has contributed to the creation of a self-involved generation. In this context remembering C. P. Snow’s iconic lecture of 1959 “Two Cultures” would be helpful. He deliberated on the ‘dangerous cultural dichotomy;’ means the knowledge system’s divergence as science and humanities. He said,

A good many times I have been presented at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice, I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: ‘Have you ever read a work of Shakespeare’s?

But interestingly the Pandemic created space for thoughts like we might lose everything we have held on to. The emergency raised to create a capable society who has the energy to love and transform oneself and others without fear. The time asked for more socially committed scientists and doctors. The question on ethics, justice and democratic involvements became the point of discussions. The need to inculcate the courage to post-millennials to live with fundamental ideas like fear of loss became a challenge for even a primary teacher.

The urgency has arrived to channelize this endless information into a multitude of subject knowledge to a student. For this it is necessary to reimagine the stubborn walls of knowledge culture. The proposal for ‘fourth culture of knowledge’ as Jonah Lehrer puts it, can create more individuals who are comfortable in being part of social collective. The latter says “We now know enough to know that we will never know everything. Therefore, we need art: it teaches us how to live with mystery.” Unlike on the internet, the young generation should be able to freely embrace the ability to remain uncertain, doubtful, and put their actual experience in historical, political, and social context. These are the skills that can transcend the traditional outlook of a subject. Are we all equipped to adjust with this shape shifting? Shouldn’t we be trained to face contradictions and diverse individual and collective understandings?

This also brought a larger discussion on the need for bridging the sciences and humanities. I am reminded of the powerful passage in Frankenstein, where Victor meets Waldman the scientist. The latter advices “If your wish is to become really a man of science, and not merely a petty experimentalist, I should advice you to apply to every branch of natural sciences.” There is this need to become an interdisciplinarian and understand the extraordinary scope of this “cross-pollination” of the disciplines.

In a classroom when a student asks the question; ‘Is this text going to be important for the examination? Or regarding the texts we are reading now can you tell me a few areas from where the questions come? Or the ultimate question of why should we read if it is not covered in examination? The educators must not be afraid to reform these thought patterns. Both of us need to be comfortable being uncomfortable to reimagining the definition of skill to be acquired.

Mathematics in Operations Research and its Career Prospects

Operations research is an experimental and applied science devoted to observing, understanding, and predicting the behaviour of purposeful man-machine systems; and operations-research workers are actively engaged in applying this knowledge to practical problems in business, government, and society. – OR Society of America

Source of figure: https://images.app.goo.gl/gGkCaRsLc99RXPD98

Most of the students in our education system might wonder whether they will ever use the mathematics which they learn from the studied courses. Students frequently asked a core question, such as, is any of the analysis, algebra, calculus, combinatorics, math programming, etc. really going to be of value in our daily life?

One exciting area of applied mathematics called Operations Research (OR) may give the answer of the above question. OR integrates the knowledge of numerous disciplines, like mathematics, statistics, computer science, engineering, economics, and social sciences to solve real-world problems. The notion of OR is applied from inventory to manufacturing; finance to marketing; routing to queuing; distribution to scheduling; data storage management to service measurement and reliability to artificial intelligence; agriculture to defence and among others using innovative and mathematical theories (analysis, algebra, calculus, probability, etc).

OR can be defined as the decision-making science. It is also known as Operational Research or Management Science or Industrial Engineering. There is no general process in OR to solve all the mathematical models related to real-world problems. One of the most prominent methods is linear programming which is useful to design a model with linear objective function and constraints. The techniques for solving linear programming problem (LPP) was developed by George Dantzig in the early 1950s and this is led to increasing interest of OR applications in business.

More than Mathematics:

Since the OR models are mathematical nature, people think that an OR study is always rooted in mathematical observations. But an OR technique should not be biased to start with a specific mathematical model before its proper justification of use (H.A.Taha, Operations research; an introduction, Pearson Education).  For an example, since linear programming is a successful process, people tend to use it as the tool of choice for modelling any kind of situations. Such an approach leads to mathematical model which may be take away from real situation. Thus, it is imperative that we first analyse the available data using simple processes whenever possible (e.g., aggregation, histograms, charts, etc.). Actually, most of the cases solutions are rooted in people but not in technology. Consequently, any solution that does not consider human behaviour may not be an appropriate solution.

OR with software library: There are numerous commercial software packages to solve the OR models. A few examples of such software are LINGO, AMPL, CPLEX Optimization Studio, MPL Modeling System, Gurobi. NEOS, COIN-OR, Matlab, R, Mathematica and Python, etc.

Scope of OR: OR has wide range applications in industry, government sectors, business hubs and many other organisations. Some important fields are:

  • In industry-manufacturing (production planning, assembly line, inventory control, quality control), production management (location and size of warehouse, retails outlet, logistics, transportation problem), airline industry, health-care systems, telecommunications, etc.
  • In Agriculture– Farm economics (optimal allocations of crop production, efficient production pattern), farm management (allocations of limited resources like as labour, water supply, working capital, seeds, etc).
  • In Defence-Selection of weapon system against enemy, ensuring minimum use of aviation gasoline, optimal strategy to win the battle.
  • In Marketing-Selection of product-mix, export planning, advertising and media selection, travelling salesman, sales effort allocation and assignment.
  • In Finance and accounting– Investment and portfolio management, public accounting, capital budgeting, financial planning
  • In personnel management– allocation of optimal manpower, determination of equitable salaries, skill development and retention.
  • In Government-Urban and housing problems, military, energy, economic planning, utilization of natural resources.

Job prospects: There are plenty of jobs after completion of specific programme with OR. Few of them are

  • Operations Research Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Research Assistant
  • Consultant
  • Software Engineer
  • Security Review Operations Analyst
  • Production manager
  • Optimal designer
  • Controller of network routing, transportation

Covid-19 impact:

 From the last two years, Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted all our lives, causing havoc to our health-care systems, education sectors, industries and especially economical systems. As with the early days of OR, presently multi-disciplinary and multi-locational teams of OR scientists have responded to the challenge, developing new models and methods for forecasting and tracing the spread of the epidemic, for vaccine allocation and distribution, etc. as part of the global effort to control the pandemic. (Janny Leung, IFORS News, Vol 17, No. 1, 2022).

      Recently, Bueno et al. (Luís Felipe Bueno, Antonio Augusto Chaves , Luiz Leduino Salles-Neto, Francisco Nogueira Calmon Sobral, Horacio Hideki Yanasse, IFORS News, Vol 17, No. 1, 2022) developed a web app for helping managements to plan classrooms considering social distancing by using  mixed-integer and nonlinear optimization approaches.

Why should be in course curriculum:

OR successfully provides a systematic and scientific approach to all kinds of service operations, defence, manufacturing, government. It is a splendid area for under graduate and post graduate students of mathematics to use their knowledge and skills to solve complex real-world problems in creative ways.  It has an impact on them to take critical decisions. Numerous companies in industry require OR analysts to apply mathematical techniques to a wide range of challenging questions in the said domain.

Why should we learn Nanoscience? Impact to our Society

In 1959, Professor Richard Feynman in a public lecturer at California Institute of Technology shared his thought about the strange behaviour of small particles. His lecturer was entitles as: “There’s plenty of room at the bottom”. Professor Feynman actually gave us the idea to enter into a new field of Physics, today it is known as Nanoscience. Professor Feynman in his lecture also talked about “How do we write small”, “Information on a small scale” and the importance of developing better electron microscope. All his novel ideas have created breakthroughs in the field of nanoscience.  

Nanoscience enables us to study the properties of system at nanoscale and Nanotecgnology enables us to organize and manipulate the properties and behaviour of a system in atomic or molecular level. Nanoscience has wide prospect and finds application in various different fields. Here I describes application of nanoscience and the scope and prospect in this field.   

What is nanoparticle?  

A particle has dimension of nanometer size. The question is how small one nonometer is. The 1 nm (1 nm = 10-9 meter) is one billionth of a meter or equivalent to 10 Å (1 Å = 10-8 cm). Nanosized particles of a substance exhibit different properties and behaviours than larger particles of the same substance. Carbon is very common also very abundant material in nature. We are aware of its two different forms; graphite and diamond. During 1985 to 2004, scientists have discovered three new allotropes of carbon. They are known as fullerene (known as Buckminsterfullerene: C60), carbon nanotube and graphene.     

Fullerene: In 1985 a group of scientists lead by Prof. Harry Kroto had discovered a small structure in which 60 Carbon atoms are joined together in one unit. The structure is quite similar like a football. In this fullerene structure we could see hexagon + pentagon pattern. Prof. Kroto and his collaborators were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. With the advancement of technology various different structures like fullerenes with larger number of carbon atoms (C70, C76, C80, etc.) were synthesized.   

Graphene: Graphene is 2-dimensional nano-structure. It is a 2D sheet of single layered carbon atoms arranged in hexagonal lattice. Graphite is actually made of millions of layers of graphene. In 2004 at the University of Manchester, Andre Geim and K. Novoselov produce graphene from graphite using a scotch tape in laboratory. Professor Geim and his co-workers were awarded Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010. Graphene is the most useful and thinnest 2D nanomaterial due to its extremely high electrical conductivity, transparency and tensile strength.     

Carbon nanotube (CNT): CNTs are cylindrical nanostructure consists of one or more layer of graphene sheet. Diameter of single-wall CNT (SWCNT) and multi-wall CNTs (MWCNT) may vary from 0.8 to 2 nm and 5 to 20 nm respectively. A single-wall CNTs can be realize as cut-outs from a 2D hexagonal graphene sheet rolled up along one of the Bravais lattice vectors and thereby form a hollow cylinder. CNTs exhibit remarkable electrical conductivity. Single-wall CNTs are metallic but multi-wall CNTs are having small band-gap. CNTs exhibit exceptionally high tensile strength and thermal conductivity. These properties of CNT make them valuable and are used in electronics, optics, biological and biomedical research. 

Exciting Properties of Nanoparticles

Super surface activity: Nanoparticles exhibit strong reactivity due to much higher surface to volume ratio. With decrease of particle size the number of particles at the surface increases. This leads to a significant energy contribution to the system from the unsatisfied bonds of the surface atoms. Hence, the surface becomes extremely ‘active’ due to the high available surface energy. This effect finds applications in: adsorption of toxic gases, catalysis, etc.

Superparamagnetism: A ferromagnetic particle behaves like a paramagnet when particle size is made very small. Ferromagnetic solid consists of small magnetic domains and spins are aligned inside the domain. If particle size is reduced to very small size (typically < 20 nm) the entire particle becomes a single domain. With further reduction in particle size (< 5 nm) ferromagnetic property is lost. Therefore in the absence of external field the particle behaves like a paramagnet and in the presence of a field spins are getting aligned leading to a large magnetization, also known as super-paramagnetic behavior.

Super-hydrophobicity: If surfaces are highly hydrophobic (super-hydrophobic) then they are difficult to wet. The contact angle of water droplet may exceed 150o on a super-hydrophobic surface. Surface roughness is increased at nano-scale therefore actual contact area of the surface decreases and hence the surface becomes non-wetting. The super-hydrophobic coating is used in vehicle windshields and maritime industry.

Why nano-scale become so Important?

Nanoparticles exhibits some unique mechanical, optical, magnetic, and electrical properties that are distinctly different from that of bulk materials. It was found that nanoparticles exhibits enhanced activity when subjected to similar applications. A few are discussed below.

  • Nano-crystals have lower melting point and has reduced lattice constant (difference can be as large as 1000oC).
  • Due to high surface to volume ratio nano-crystals are used for catalysis, drug delivery and energy storage.
  • Semiconductor nanocrystals have larger band gap than that of bulk semiconductors.
  • Ferroelectric and ferromagnetic materials lost their ferroelectricity and ferromagnetic property at the nano scale.
  • A system composed of nano-particles can conducts electricity better.

Applications:

Use of nanotechnology includes sports equipment, vehicle parts, storage of power in batteries, cosmetics, drug delivery and many more. Scientists are working with nonomaterials with a hoped that nanoscience will control our health-care system in future. We all use sunscreens; it contains ZnO or TiO2 nano powder to avert sunburns. Nano-science is combined with bio-science naturally because in general the bio-molecules that we are dealing with (e.g; DNA, RNA, proteins, enzymes) are all within the nanoscale range from 1-100 nm. In November 2012, Scientists at NIST (American National Institute of Standard and Technology) demonstrate that SW-CNTs can protect DNA molecules from oxidation.  Here I illustrate some more applications of CNTs in bio-medical research.

  • CNTs are bio-compatible and having low-level of toxicity.
  • CNTs are elastic cylindrical tubes with both ends open and therefore can be used in intracellular delivery.
  • Due to high tensile strength, CNTs filled with calcium and grouped in the structure of bone can act as a bone substitute.
  • For biomedical application, functionalization is required and it is possible for CNTs. Functionalization may improve biocompatibility and also reduce the toxicity level.

CNTs can enter into cells by binding their tips to the cell membrane receptors. This actually helps in drug delivery. 

Bureaucracy: Fascination for Power

“Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible.”- Javier Pascual Salcedo 

Bureaucracy in modern India started its journey with the handholding of the British. Since, it’s initial days it is a fascination among Indians both fear and desire. During the British empire used to function through its bureaucratic setup. It connects the metros with the outpost of the empire. After the breakup of the empire, bureaucracy setup has been adopted by the former colonies. 

Bureaucrats are the office holders who serve the executive functions of the government in India. The bureaucrats are responsible for implementing the policies of the government. People working as bureaucrats face lots of challenges in their career too. Also, they enjoy various benefits from the government. Combining these pros and cons, millions of aspirants every year try their luck in respective exams with the hope of getting selected as a bureaucrat. 

The following points enlist the reasons behind the craze among the people for being bureaucrats. 

1) Secure life with a decent salary: In this competitive world, money is the most essential instrument for leading a happy and a peaceful life. The job of a bureaucrat offers a handsome starting salary with high increments along with promotions. The office holders can lead a standard life with their families. This makes the job so attractive among the people. 

2) Facilities: The government provides lots of facilities to the bureaucrats including electricity allowance, travelling allowance, telephone, internet, and so on. They get residential apartments too from the government. All these factors add security to their life and make it smooth. 

3) Attracted by the position: The volume of immense authority and power given to the bureaucrats, make the position very demanding. The bureaucrats are in the charge of complete control over an area allotted to them. They are respected and saluted by the entire population of that area. This image about the bureaucrats is created in the minds of the people who aspire for the jobs. This particular image is passed from one person to another which increases the number of aspirants every year. 

4) Willing to control the policies and administration: The society runs as per the government’s policies and interventions. So, in order to control the good and bad happenings in the society, one has to stay in touch with the respective organs of the government. The civil servants can directly stay in touch with the leaders who frame the policies and run the administration. So, they can directly influence the society through their actions and decisions. The bureaucrats can alter any malpractices rife in the society. People who are willing to take that role have craze for being bureaucrats. 

5) Influenced by the social media. The social media these days play a significant role in generating new civil service aspirants each day. The coaching institutes offering courses for preparation for civil service examinations site examples of some successful aspirants who got selected as bureaucrats. 

They add audio and visual effects to the images and videos of those bureaucrats to charge the viewers for being civil service aspirants. Then they advertise about their coaching institutes and enlist the courses offered and facilities given. All these activities generate new craze among the people for becoming bureaucrats. 

These are some of the major factors that makes people desire to become bureaucrats. Not only this field has positive sides, but also it involves many challenges, the initial challenge being the selection as a bureaucrat. So, one must choose their career option wisely and not get influenced by any external lures from friends, relatives or the people involved in the business with the aspirants. 

Comparative approach and Liberal Arts

The tide of liberal arts is now sweeping the differences between various academic disciplines all across the world demolishing the demarcations between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and NON-STEM subjects. As a result it is also trying to break the stereotypes that are tagged with this demarcation of disciplines that are automatically getting responded as just constructed and imposed shadow lines. It also reminds us of the days of polymaths who existed in different civilization across the globe in various time periods.

Today we all live in an application based world, where knowledge has to be applied, and to solve this purpose we are all trying to make paths towards the practice of liberal arts in the field of education and India is not an exception in this regard. When we talk about the application of knowledge we must remember that this appliedness of knowledge is only possible if we can take education outside the boundaries of an educational institute.

In the year 1964 Sturart Hall and Richard Hoggart founded the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) at the University of Birmingham with the objectives of taking education outside the university campus and encouraging the students to have a firsthand experience with the community, so that they can develop a better understanding of their respective community as a whole.

In other words this was an important step to implement the idea of Academic Social Responsibility. This new teaching and learning pedagogy once again may help us to bring science and humanities together to give shape to the academicians with the understanding of their responsibilities towards society. This also opens up the possibilities of collaborative curriculum designing, for outreach activities and also accommodates our eternal ‘quest for relevance’ as per the time and space we belong to. This may remind us of the Kenyan author Ngugi Wa Thoing o ‘, who engaged in a protest against Eurocentricism in the field of education while discussing ‘quest for relevance’. In the process he encouraged the academicians across the world to have this quest while designing the curriculum.

Thus from the above discussion it is clear that the current educational scenario is ready to welcome an interdisciplinary approach towards education. We have to remember that comparative literature has long been accommodating this interdisciplinary approach and thus giving the platform to study literatures from across the world in an interdisciplinary manner and thus may play a key role in the development of liberal arts.

Comparative literature encourages the study of literature using a comparative framework. Students under such a frame work are encouraged to study many literatures together. Thus it creates the room to read and to critically engage with the literatures produced in various languages from different parts of the world.

Boundaries of such comparative approach is absolutely fluid, it can thus make teaching learning pedagogy multimodal in nature, further breaking the barriers between various existing disciplines. According to Susan Basnett comparative approach gives us the scope to study texts in relation to one another. Thus, comparative approach is the key to practice liberal arts.  

Singular perspective focuses on a particular issue, whereas a comparative approach gives a broader spectrum of understanding. Comparative approach in a way reproaches the singular independent existence of disciplines. It sees the existence of all disciplines not in an independent fashion but in an interdependent fashion, thus provides a platform for the practice of liberal arts.

Liberal arts thus with a comparative approach makes all barriers fluid. It makes all geo political boundaries and linguistic boundaries blurred in its attempt to connect with everyone. This reminds us of the German author, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Rabindranath Thakur, who also referred to this idea of connectivity among the people across the world through the exercise of a comparative approach.

Liberal arts and comparative literature both widens our spectrum of reading texts. At this juncture we must remember that texts are not only printed books, every incident that happens around us and among us is a text. Liberal arts focus on training its students in reading these texts of which they themselves are a part. This process serves a twofold objective – firstly the students get the opportunity of a firsthand engagement with the society and secondly they go through a reality check regarding their ability to apply the knowledge that they have acquired in their educational institute.

Both liberal arts and comparative literature together investigates and questions whatever is given. Both jointly vehemently discourage a blind belief in anything given. Liberal arts is probably the only sect of knowledge that dares to question the formulation of knowledge itself. Being a part of an institution liberal arts tries to question the process of institutionalization.

Comparative approach helps liberal arts to get a wholesome, inclusive and comprehensive understanding of our society. Connection is the key component of liberal arts.  This connection that we are referring to is the connection of our work and knowledge with the humanity and human concerns.

It is not just the imagination of certain authors but different historical eras have witnessed that whenever knowledge has lost its contact with humanity and human concerns, hell was let loose on mankind, be it the violent process of colonization or be it the transformation of nuclear power into a destructive bomb.

In today’s world we are all connected at different levels, sometimes we realize and sometime we do not. We cannot exist independently anymore. Thus the academic disciplines designed by us too cannot exist and have never existed independently.

The mission of liberal arts is to break science and humanities stereotyped binaries, that are imposed on both, by showcasing the connectivity that has existed between the two since the time immoral, at the same time liberal arts has the objective to connect both the dimension of knowledge systems with the human concerns. Liberal arts with a comparative approach reminds us that human beings with their knowledge need to serve human concerns. 

 

Is Operations Research useful in Data Science?

“Operations research (OR) is defined as the scientific process of transforming data into insights to making better decisions.”

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)

Introduction:

In the twenty-first century, especially in the last decade, the most trending domain of study is may be Data Science and Data Analytics. In this domain of study, people work with data from different fields and they use different tools and techniques from the domain of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science to study and analyze the data. Then make some conclusion from the data and use them to predict the future of the phenomenon under study. Before the rise of data science as a domain of study, Operations Research analyst and Statisticians are used to do the similar kind of job. Due to these facts, the overlap between the domain of Data Science and the domain of OR is misunderstood. Also, there is a common perception that OR is not useful in for Data Science or Data Analytics. Actually, the marketing of OR products and services which are applied to solve the real world problems leads to this kind of misconception, as most of the time the end-users do not have an understanding or background of OR and data science. Another possible reason may be that the availability of machine learning models which are available as packages of several platforms like Python and do not really contain specific any OR models. In practical, OR tools and techniques are applicable to data science. In fact, a lot of ideas which are used in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science problem solving, have cross-pollinated from OR due to the large overlap in the techniques and methods used. In this blog, I try to explore these relations of OR with Data Science and Data Analytics.

Data
Image Source: https://www.humancenteredor.com/2015/03/

Operations Research and Data Science:

Before going to the discussion on the role and relation between Data Science and OR, let us try to understand another very important term called Analytics. According to INFORMS, Analytics is the application of scientific & mathematical methods to the study & analysis of problems involving complex systems. There are three distinct types of analytics:

i) Descriptive Analytics gives insight into past events, using historical data;

ii) Predictive Analytics provides insight on what will happen in the future; and

iii) Prescriptive Analytics helps with decision making by providing actionable advice [https://www.informs.org/Explore/Operations-Research-Analytics]. In an INFORMS podcast, depending on organizational backgrounds, Glenn Wegryn divides Analytics into two distinct camps: Data Centric Analytics where data is used to find interesting insights and information to predict or anticipate what might happen; and Decision Centric or Problem Centric Analytics which is used to understand the problem, then determine the specific methodologies and information needed to solve the specific problem. This data centric analytics are done by using Data Science whereas problem centric analytics are done by Operations Research. The above mention figure clearly give an idea about this. From the figure, it is very clear that there is a common point of interest from both the domain. Hence OR plays a very important role in Data Science domain.

Operations Research and Machine Learning:

Machine learning is the area of data science where most of the OR tools and techniques are used. Linear programming and Optimization techniques are fundamental part of the overall machine learning lifecycle. Some of the examples of OR are:

  • Enabling smart human resource management by forecasting human resource requirements and optimizing daily schedule for resource persons (linear programming model)
  • Increasing TV program viewership by optimal scheduling of programs’ promotion (linear programming model)
  • Enabling supply chain transformation by providing AI/machine learning-based recommendations for optimized product utilization
  • AI-enabled forecasting for retail and eCommerce applications to optimize funnel and customer traffic
  • Data-driven optimization models for automated inventory management where we need to do warehouse management, inspection and quality control

Operations Research and Artificial Intelligence:

Another important area of data science is Artificial Intelligence where we can observe the use of OR algorithm. AI is used to build an automated system. Now, any real-life system have many decision variables and parameters, so if we want to build an automated system then we have to deal with a lot of decision variables. That’s why operations research algorithm must be a core engine in the system.

An Artificial Intelligence development lifecycle consists of the following steps: (Link)

Descriptive and Predictive steps:

  • In the first step, we need to define the problem to be solved
  • In the next step, we need to understand the current state of the problem and accordingly we have to define the work scope
  • Next we need to develop a Machine Learning model, where the machine learning solution is developed and tested.

Prescriptive steps:

  • Machine learning outputs or the predictions obtained using machine learning are given as OR inputs. Here, the OR techniques are used to make recommendations based on the outputs from the ML model. This is a critical step for the entire life cycle.
  • Finally, the solution output is delivered to the client.

Covid-19 impact:  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, data science has become a powerful weapon in combating an infectious disease epidemic and arguably any future infectious disease epidemic. Computer scientists, data scientists, physicists and mathematicians have joined public health professionals and virologists to confront the largest pandemic in the century by capitalizing on the large-scale ‘big data’ generated and harnessed for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. (Zhang, Qingpeng, et al. “Data science approaches to confronting the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 380, No. 2214 (2022)). Covid-19 has a big impact on supply chain strategies also. People from data science community are analyzing “lessons learned” from the pandemic to better prepare and more efficiently and effectively respond to the next disaster, interested people can visit the following for a discussion on it (Link1).

Conclusion:

From the above discussion, it is very much clear that Data Science and Operations Research have some overlapping objectives with clear line of difference between these two domains of study. Also, we observe that there are several OR techniques and algorithms which have important role to play in different topics of data science. In my opinion, operations research together with data science and analytics is going to play a very important role to build the future of us.