In 2011, I had received a teaching grant from NVIDIA with graphics cards. As a new faculty member at IIIT Bangalore (IIITB) and also being new to Indian academia and academia, in general, I was still getting my bearings around setting up my research group. Hence, I didn't have a lab setup already to use the graphics cards that I had gotten. Prof. P. G. Poonacha, who had just received the CEEMS grant from the Government of Karnataka, wholeheartedly helped me with the funds to set up the lab. Without any further discussion on the matter, to my pleasant surprise, he told me that I could now run the freshly conceptualized "Graphics Computing Lab," metaphorically handing over the keys to the lab. While I had marked "high-performance computing" as a possible area to develop at IIITB then, and had considered possibilities of building a lab centered around GPUs, the lab name did not reflect my primary research interest, which is data visualization. Hence, I renamed the lab to what it is today.
These events sparked my efforts towards applying for research grants. In 2012, I had received a research project grant from NRDMS program, under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Now, this program is called the National Geospatial Program (NGP). The sparsely populated (one-person) lab remained dormant throughout, with the uncertainties of its growth. But, this was to change in late 2013. With faith and unconditional support from my then-Masters student Beena Kumari, we decided to revive the lab. We began to organize activities in the lab, and using the identity of the lab in all our research activities.
The IIITB fraternity has forever supported the research lab. I will not be able to thank one person enough in this regard - that is Prof. S. Sadagopan, the founding director of IIITB.
There was no looking back since its rebirth in 2013-14. Through the lab, we have been able to foster talent of several young students and professionals, and get several grants, as any other functioning research labs. Some of the lab members have helped in running the lab organization, beyond their own research and/or academic requirements, and that list includes Beena Kumari, Amit Tomar, Shivam Agarwal, Reddy Rani Vangimalla, Komal Dadhich, Satendra Singh, Harshitha Ravindra.
At this juncture, I have been able to give back to NGP in the form of service in its expert committee. The project in 2012 also spurned my work in geospatial data, which later on helped me to participate in the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (GRSS), actively and in leadership positions. Through GRSS and his association with the International Association for Mathematical Geosciences (IAMG), Prof. B. S. Daya Sagar, from ISI Bangalore, has helped in providing me opportunities to continue both community participation and intellectual work in geospatial/geoscientific data. I have been co-teaching graphics courses with Prof. T. K. Srikanth, IIITB, since 2014, which also led way to our collaboration in setting up the E-Health Research Center (EHRC) at IIITB, in 2015. My involvement with EHRC formation and administration has been instrumental in diversifying my work to population data analytics.
-Jaya Sreevalsan Nair
(written on 2021-01-24, edited on 2022-01-28)
This page is also for thanking the funding agencies and outfits, whose generous grants, have helped in building the lab. To name a few, our benefactors include the following in chronological order of oldest to newest.
- NVIDIA, 2011
- Center for Electronics and Embedded Systems (CEEMS) grant, from Government of Karnataka to IIIT Bangalore, 2011
- NRDMS, Government of India, 2012
- EMC2-RSA Center of Excellence, 2013
- INCOIS, 2014
- FRHS Bangalore, 2015
- SERB, through the Early Career Research Award, 2017
- IBM Shared University Grant, 2018
- E-Health Research Center grant, from Government of
- Machine Intelligence and Robotics (MINRO) Center grant, from Government of Karnataka to IIIT Bangalore, 2018
- Intel India Research Fellowship, 2019
- SERB, through the MATRICS scheme, 2019
- Ignitarium, 2021
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