Total prize money for contests around Rs 17 lakh
The annual tech festival of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, has gone online this year. Shaastra 2021 will be held from February 25 to 28.
One of the unique features of Shaastra 2021 will be the creation of a virtual rendering of the important sites of the IIT Madras campus. This will enable a viewer to virtually walk through a location at IIT Madras and provide as close to a real-life experience as possible. All the events will be available to the public free of cost. The total prize money for the contests will be worth around Rs 17 lakh.
Several dignitaries are scheduled to address the Spotlight Lecture series, which brings in some of the most influential people from diverse fields across the world ranging from business magnates and successful entrepreneurs to Nobel Laureates.
WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, Grameem Bank founder, American experimental physicist Barry Barish and ISRO former chairman K. Radhakrishnan are among those scheduled to address the students this year.
Lauding the initiatives of the students in coming up with innovative events, Nilesh J. Vasa, dean (students), IIT Madras, said, “The novel edition of Shaastra will certainly be an important step forward towards realizsng student participation from anywhere in India.”
Shaastra, which was among the first-of-its-kind festivals to be awarded the ISO 9001:2015 certification, usually attracts more than 50,000 people every year from diverse backgrounds.
Shaastra Summit focuses on a unique and relevant theme every year to integrate technology into that sphere. With this year’s theme being Archi-Tech, which brings together the fields of architecture and technology, the students aim to highlight the growing opportunities that technology possesses in the field of architecture and design.
Elaborating on the unique aspects of Shaastra 2021, Shaikh Faruque Ali., faculty adviser, Shaastra 2021, IIT Madras, said, “The pandemic has hit the plans of the team but certainly not their efforts, energy and enthusiasm. With the team’s unique efforts to recreate the overall IITM for an overall immersive experience, I’m really certain that this first virtual edition is definitely going to be a benchmark with lots of opportunities and enriching initiatives. Shaastra 2021 will not be any less attractive, educational and entertaining than its previous years. The team has mapped everything we had on ground to online space. I would like to invite everyone to participate and experience Shaastra in a unique environment from the comfort of your homes.”
Exhibitions are the heart and soul of Shaastra and this year is no exception. A virtual exhibition will be held this year, in which participants from across the country will get to showcase innovative and resourceful ideas from technologically feasible perspectives. The audience gets to witness first-hand the futuristic, creative and ingenious applications of science and technology in real life and proudly stand as a window into what the future holds.
With the overall theme for Shaastra 2021 being Schrödinger’s Realms, the IIT Madras students plan to host events that showcase infinite possibilities through their fascinating set of workshops, hackathons, competitions and Spotlight lectures.
The Shaastra workshops are a unique series of online workshops conducted by technically skilled people from the industry and the IIT Madras community on a range of topics from technology to development to design.
“This first-of-its-kind edition of virtual Shaastra will provide a customised experience and a curated opportunity to them to learn, interact, grow and enter higher leagues,” said Mukund Khandelwal, student co-curricular affairs secretary, Shaastra 2021, IIT Madras.
Workshops are being held on topics such as 3D modelling with hands-on implementation in Fusion 360 software, Reinforcement Learning (RL).
Every year, Shaastra rolls out unique, impactful and lasting social campaigns to better the lives of common people. This year the students launched the SHE CAN campaign, aimed at empowering women with an elevated platform for their education, upskilling, awareness about opportunities, and financial literacy.
Shaastra 2021 also features various competitions such as the Boeing National Aeromodelling Competition, Drone Applications Hackathon 2021, exclusive All-Women's Hackathon called She Hacks and HackOlympics.
Shaastra will host an open house that will showcase research laboratories, department infrastructure and projects. Virtual interactions will highlight the research projects and expertise available in the departments.
Student projects will be on display as part of the Centre for Innovation Open House, where student innovators will present their recent works and achievements.
The flagship event, Shaastra Nights, will provide a platform for performers to display artistic prowess while providing the audience with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a confluence of technology and culture. Stand-up comedian Kenny Sebastian will perform on February 27.
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