Published: 10th July 2019
This IIT Madras community is using AI to offer solutions to India's everyday problems
Titled AI4Bharat, the platform developed by two computer science faculty was launched on July 10
Ever thought that Artificial Intelligence could be the solution to Chennai's water crisis? This could soon be possible, thanks to a platform developed by two IIT Madras faculty. Named AI4Bharat, the community consists of AI experts, domain pundits, academics, students and policymakers who come together to solve real-world challenges.
AI4Bharat is founded by Dr Mitesh M. Khapra and Dr Pratyush Kumar, Assistant Professors in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. It was officially launched on July 10. "The idea here is to bring all the stakeholders together and provide AI solutions to solve real world problems. A lot of people have the additional capacity and interest to do something for the company, apart from doing their job. We're banking on that interest and channelising it to solve problems," says Kumar. "As researchers, we are usually motivated to solve 'cool' problems. But here, we are solving real problems," he adds.
In case you wish to be a part of this platform, all you have to do is go to their website www.ai4bharat.org and click on apply. Upon this, you'll have to fill up a questionnaire. 50 of the applicants will be selected, making sure that there is an equal representation from all categories. What sets this platform apart is that, there is no money involved. Everybody offers solutions and services for free.
"We are identifying the best practices and collecting resources from the cloud to solve problems here. People from different companies teach this community to use available tools. Here, we are expecting students to take up problems and companies and government to back it up," says Kumar. He adds that the developers are constantly working to make the community as innovative as possible. He says, "We have webinars scheduled. Tonight, we in fact have a discussion about the India- New Zealand match." (That will be a rather emotional conversation).
Currently, the team has identified 10 projects to work on. "We are trying to do something on identifying diseases among crops, by just looking at their images. We are also working to build tools for translating Indian languages," says Kumar. While he says that the community is keen on solving the Chennai water crisis, the biggest hurdle before them is the lack of adequate data. "We need to work with civil bodies to collect the data," he says.