IIT-Madras gets Rs 110 crore endowment from Sunil Wadhwani

Bengaluru: Indian Institute of Madras has received an endowment of Rs 110 crore from Mastech Digital and IGate founder Sunil Wadhwani towards setting up a data science and artificial intelligence school.
The donation from Wadhwani is one of the largest from an alumnus to his or her alma mater in India for setting up a new academic unit.
Wadhwani and IIT-Madras director V Kamakoti signed on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding on the sponsorship for the Wadhwani School.
With a vision to be among the top AI-focused schools worldwide, the Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI will also seek to advise the government and policymakers on data science and AI-related policy areas, a news release from IIT-Madras said.

“With the advent of Industry 4.0, wherein AI and data science are the main movers, the need for a school for data science and AI is critical. IIT-Madras has started this highly interdisciplinary school involving faculty from many departments joining hands to work on niche areas, including Responsible AI,” the news release quoted Kamakoti as saying.

Over the years, Wadhwani, through his family foundation, Wadhwani Impact Trust, has been supporting social welfare, affordable healthcare and scientific research through the Wadhwani Institute of Sustainable Healthcare (WISH Foundation) and Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence (WIAI), respectively, the news release said. As an independent non-profit institute, WIAI develops AI-based solutions for underserved communities in developing countries.“I see a strong need for a dedicated data science and AI school focusing on foundational and applied research in these areas. With the advancements in science and technology, India holds immense potential and can be a world leader in AI and allied sciences,” Wadhwani said.The Wadhwani School will offer courses in AI, data analytics and data science.

Admissions will commence in July 2024. The school will also run a joint MSc in Data Science and AI programme with the University of Birmingham, UK, admitting 30 students, and an International Interdisciplinary Masters programme.

This new school will integrate core and fundamental research with application research. The applied research areas will be healthcare, agriculture, smart cities and transportation, financial analytics, manufacturing, energy and environment, defence, education and systems biology.


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