In a first, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) is setting up a Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research in collaboration with software as a service (SaaS) provider Capillary Technologies. Apart from providing a one-year certificate program for students and working executives, the centre will conduct research and engage in projects, incubation and entrepreneurship in AI and related domains. With a seed fund of Rs 56.4 million by Capillary Technologies Limited, the centre will consist of computing infrastructure, hardware simulation platforms, software and designing the coursework. "We are breaking this centre into four quadrants, including education & training, research, projects and incubation & entrepreneurship. This will bring convergence in these four areas. We are opening up a mechanism where people can run courses from multiple locations. We are looking at one year certificate program spread across four quarters for working professionals or have just graduated," P P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur told Business Standard. Commenting on IIT Kharagpur's existing work in AI, Chakrabarti said, "We have been applying the research in AI for solving industrial, scientific and social problems such as retail, industry 4.0 or manufacturing." To be provided from the centre as well as other locations, the one-year certificate program in AI will see a limited batch size of 70 at each location. Apart from regular IIT-KGP faculty, the program will see training by industry experts. "Other than the faculty from IIT-KGP, a large number of experts working in the field of AI and having deep experience are available for the centre.
We will start the program from Kharagpur and Bangalore and gradually expand to other cities. We do not want to overstretch and want to be a high quality. hence the batch has been limited to a size of 70," said Chakrabarti. Capillary specialist and deep-learning industry experts would work together to prepare the curricula. The curriculum will include short-term credit courses and certificate program for internal and external students and industrial training programs. The institute has already taken initiative to create infrastructural facilities and programs for the center. "The way we look at AI, it is the future not just in our industry but in every aspect of life. We wish to support the envisaged programs of the AI Center in various ways. Over the last few years, we have invested over Rs 40 lakh annually in various research projects that hold the promise of shaping the future of our industry. We wish to continue our association with IIT KGP by investing a similar amount over a period of time to make this AI Center a truly industry-leading one," said Aneesh Reddy, Co-Founder and CEO, Capillary Technologies. Capillary, which already services its clients in retail and e-commerce in use of AI for data analytics, is also involved in funding other joint projects at IIT-KGP. "We do about one million transactions per day where we use AI to help our clients to better analyse and enhance consumer experience," said Reddy.