Published: 19th January 2019
These IIT Madras profs launch start-up to train students on Artificial Intelligence at nominal costs
PadhAI will work with small scale enterprises and the industry to provide AI-driven apps, products and services and generate value for the Indian economy
Indian Institute of Technology Madras faculty have launched a start-up to prepare the Indian workforce for the advent of Artificial Intelligence age by training students at nominal costs.
Their start-up One Fourth Labs has an online school ‘PadhAI’ that offers affordable India-specific courses on AI. Every year, the top performing students from courses on PadhAI will be invited to a ‘summer garage,’ an AI residency program at IIT Madras Research Park where they can work on research, tackle problems of societal impact, or find solutions to commercial value.
Further, the start-up will also create AI-driven apps by collaborating with Small and Medium Enterprises and the industry and generate value for the Indian economy. The start-up has been founded by Dr Mitesh M Khapra and Dr Pratyush Kumar, Assistant Professors in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras, and incubated by the IIT Madras Incubation Cell.
Speaking about the importance of AI to India's growth and development, Dr. Mitesh Khapra said, “The Indian IT industry has gone through several waves of technology and survived by upskilling. The current wave of AI is very different. It requires both mathematical insight and hands-on experience. We need courses that strike the right balance between these two. Only then, will India be able to produce visible products and services in the AI age.”
The PadhAI course is a hands-on course on ‘Deep Learning’ which is the most successful sub-field of AI. To make it widely accessible, minimal prerequisites are expected and the fees are significantly lower than other offerings from universities and private organisations. The four-month course comprises 80 hours of lecture content and requires equivalent time in solving assignments. It will begin on 1st February 2019. Registrations for the course are open until 24th January 2019 at https://padhai.
The course is open to all students, faculty, and professionals with a basic background in mathematics and Python. The fee for students and faculty is Rs 1,000/- and for working professionals, Rs 5,000/-. The course will involve monthly contests and a capstone challenge that trains participants to build an app that works like Google Lens for a few Indian languages.
The mathematical and programming know-how for solving the complex capstone challenge will be sequentially built up with simplified explanations and interactive tools. Participants will receive scores based on their performance on these contents and certificates on successfully completing the course.
Speaking of the philosophy of One Fourth Labs, Dr Pratyush Kumar said, “It is well accepted that to continue to generate employment and value, the Indian IT sector must up-skill to AI. There are several courses on AI available online and through universities. Most of these courses are not designed keeping Indian students in mind in terms of technical background. Amongst those that do, several are highly priced, with fees running from few tens of thousands to lakhs of rupees. One-Fourth Labs was founded to specifically address these challenges through its course offerings and residency programs.”