Amrita Professor Examines Shifting Agriculture in Dissertation

Mar 23rd, 2011
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March 23, 2011
School of Business, Bangalore

Shifting cultivation was one of the first forms of agriculture practiced by humans.

agricultureAn agricultural practice used in the forested and hilly tracts of the tropics where the cropped area is rotated periodically, shifting agriculture allows soil regeneration under natural conditions.

Shifting cultivators have been blamed for the destruction of much of the world’s tropical forests, land degradation, atmospheric pollution and global climatic change.

This perception can be traced back to colonial times, when indigenous shifting agricultural practices in Asia and South America were characterized by colonizers as primitive.

This stereotype still persists in the contemporary world, revealing competition between different interest groups like migrant settlers, international investors and land-occupying farmers.

In his dissertation, Ecological, Economic and Institutional Aspects of Shifting Agriculture: A Study in Orissa, Amalendu Jyotishi, Assistant Professor at the Amrita School of Business, Bengaluru, analyzed the legitimacy of shifting cultivation.

For this research he received the prestigious V. K. R. V. Rao Memorial Prize for the best doctoral dissertation in the last five years.

EcologiIn order to examine the sustainability of shifting agriculture, five villages in Orissa were selected with different typology including agro-climate, physiographical features, socio-economic features, shifting cycle, communities and other associated forms of land use.

“Findings suggest that shifting cultivation is not a destructive form of agriculture,” Dr. Jyotishi concluded. “It measures high in terms of efficiency when compared to other forms of agriculture and is definitely not a stagnated form of agricultural practice.”

“In the thesis, an attempt has been made to examine deforestation, considering different forms of land use over a long period of time to identify if shifting cultivation plays any major role in deforestation.”

“The biodiversity aspect was studied in terms of land use pattern at the village level.”

“Soil maintenance cost is used as a proxy for soil erosion and is measured in terms of opportunity cost for shifting cultivation and actual costs for other forms of land use.”

Amalendu-j“We examined the efficiency in terms of technical efficiency using the stochastic production function approach at the household level.”

“In order to analyze the institutional aspects of shifting agriculture at village level we examined customary rules and norms, property right structures, integration with the market and forms of integration and technological changes i.e. kind of tools vis-à-vis make of tools.”

Amalendu Jyotishi completed his Ph.D in Economics at the prestigious Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru, under the supervision of Dr. R. S. Deshpande.

Dr. Jyotishi has worked on research projects supported by organizations such as Swedish International Development Agency, World Bank, International Water Management Institute, Oxfam (GB) Trust and Aga Khan Rural Support Program in India.


Dr. Kumari Indira Appointed Editor of Pulmon

Mar 22nd, 2011
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March 21, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

indira kDr. Kumari Indira K. S., Professor and Head of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine was recently appointed as the Editor of PULMON – The Journal of Respiratory Sciences.

Published by the Academy of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine in India, the journal covers a broad spectrum of topics related to the prevention, diagnosis and management of pulmonary and other associated disorders.

Published three times a year, the journal includes original papers, case reports, clinical reviews, clinical problem series and proceedings of clinicopathological conferences.

“The journal seeks to promote original studies carried out by research scholars that generate creative suggestions for policy implications supportive of improving lung health,” stated Dr. Indira

Elaborating on the significance of the pulmonary medicine specialty, Dr. Indira said that the discipline of pulmonary medicine has now grown huge and is beginning to branch out into subspecialties.

“The introduction of semi-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic technologies has paved the way for the growth of the discipline,” she noted. “We can say that this specialty is now-a-days one of the most sought after by postgraduate students.”

iPulmonReiterating that lung diseases contribute to more than 4 million deaths each year, Dr. Indira said that majority of these deaths caused due to lung cancer, respiratory infections, COPD and asthma are preventable. Half of the world’s tuberculosis deaths occur in India.

Explaining further, she mentioned that lung diseases lead to significant loss of productivity for adults and lost opportunities for the young. “It is high time that pulmonary clinicians and their professional organizations come together to disseminate information and convince the public about the importance of lung health,” she emphasized.

“As editor of PULMON, my work will be to make every issue of journal the very best it can be, with the support of all members of the Academy of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine,” she added.

Dr. Kumari Indira joined Amrita eight years ago. Since then, she has led the Department of Pulmonary Medicine.

The department offers specialized treatment of diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, sleep-disordered breathing, interstitial lung diseases, cystic fibrosis, occupational lung diseases, pulmonary rehabilitation, tuberculosis and lung cancers.


About Lean Systems

Mar 19th, 2011
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March 23, 2011
School of Business, Bangalore

Students at the Amrita School of Business have the opportunity to regularly interact with industry experts who are invited to campus as part of the colloquia series.

Below is a report by Vishakh V., first-year student of MBA-MS, on a recent colloquium at the Bengaluru campus.


In an era where everyone seems to be mesmerised by size zero and we always hear that thin is in, it seems normal enough for organizations to try and incorporate such concepts into their rulebooks. A concept that was initially used in the manufacturing industry by pioneers such as Toyota, still carries a lot of apprehensions though.

Mr. Vishwanathan HariharanTo address some of these apprehensions, a colloquium was organized at our campus. Mr. Vishwanathan Hariharan, who spoke, ensured that students participate so as to make the session interactive.

“Lean is the process by which organizations add more value to customers and at the same time reduce waste,” he stated.

Explaining how the introduction of a lean system could benefit an organization, he pointed out that lean as a concept had now graduated to the services industry from the manufacturing industry.

Quoting multiple examples of lean systems, he emphasized that lean is an organization-wide concept that required a holistic view and needed to be integrative in nature, wherein lower level employees and managers needed to work together to achieve results.

Why did most organizations fail at implementing the lean concept?

Audience“One prominent reason could be the lack of alignment with strategic thinking of the organization,” he explained. “Another reason could be a non-integrated approach for implementation.”

Quoting the specific example of a ticket reporting system wherein tickets are raised by customers to flag problems, he tried to illustrate the concept of lean in IT. “Lean can help in adhering to SLAs or Service Level Agreements by incorporating quality at source,” he stated.

“It is generally tough for implementing lean in IT because of the intangible nature of IT output,” he conceded.

“Lean can be implemented using Deming’s Plan Do Check Act model,” he added.

Overall it was a great session for us students. The enthusiasm of the speaker was supplemented with equal inspiration from the student community.


National Mathematics Workshop at Bengaluru Campus

Mar 18th, 2011
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March 26, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru

A two-day national workshop Analytical and Numerical Solutions of Nonlinear Differential Equations was conducted at the Bengaluru campus on March 18 and 19.

maths Workshop

The event was inaugurated with a ceremony presided over by invited speakers Prof P. G. Siddheshwar, Department of Mathematics, Bangalore University and Dr. P. S. Datti, School of Mathematics, TIFR, Bengaluru.

mathsworkshopFrom the Amrita campus, Correspondent, Br. Dhanraji, Chair of ECE Department, Prof. C. G. S. Sharma and Chair of Mathematics Department, Dr. K. V. Nagaraja, were present.

After Dr. K. V. Nagaraja welcomed the gathering of about 80 participants, nearly half of whom had traveled from other states to attend, Prof P. G. Siddheshwar’s keynote address followed.

Next Dr. P. S. Datti spoke on solving Linear and Nonlinear PDE using different transformation methods such as Backlund, Point and Hodograph Transformation, Porous Medium Equation and Burger Equation.

The next talk was delivered by Prof. Pradeep G. Siddheshwar of Bangalore University. In his presentation, he emphasized the importance of mathematical modeling, and its role in non-mathematical disciplines.

He also discussed the problems which arise in nonlinear equations such as slipper bearing, flow due to a stretching film and non-Darcy flow through porous media.

Maths workshop

Presenting the differential transform and homotopy based methods in detail, he stressed the importance of the computational software programs Mathematica and Matlab.

These programs, which serve as a numerical computing environment and programming language, allow matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data and implementation of algorithms, among other operations.

“Be tech-savvy and keep yourselves abreast of the latest developments,” said Prof. Pradeep, to the researchers present.

The second day offered participants hands-on-training in Matlab.

Maths Workshop

Participants were provided familiarity with Matlab commands, starting with the basics to solving differential equations, analytically and numerically by writing small programs.

After the lab sessions, a quiz was conducted. The three winners were honored during the valedictory function on March 19.

“The workshop was highly informative and very well organized,” stated a participant. “I look forward to more opportunities to associating with Amrita.”


What’s a Good Life?

Mar 17th, 2011
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March 17, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru

Dr. Amrita Thakur and Mr. Anil KumarDr. Amrita Thakur and Mr. Anil Kumar of the Department of Chemistry at the Amrita School of Engineering, Bengaluru recently attended a conference that offered students, teachers and life-long learners a forum to discuss sustainable lifestyles.

The conference What’s a Good Life? was organized by Bhoomi Network, a non-profit organization that promotes education and ideas in sustainable living.

“It was good to meet people genuinely concerned about the environment,” said Dr. Amrita. “I feel that our students should also be given exposure to such events.”

The participants share their perspectives on the conference below.


As citizens of modern society, we are faced with a head-spinning multitude of choices about the kind of person we want to become, the products we should consume and how to live our lives.

Our daily decisions are undoubtedly influenced by numerous entities like the media, celebrities, as well as our personal role models. So how do we know who or what to consider a reliable source in helping us make healthy choices?

Modern LifeThe conference focused on methods people can use to assume control of their decisions to create sustainable lives marked with happiness and fulfillment. It covered citizens’ potential to act as change agents to influence the world.

Day 1 of the convention carried the theme Seeing the Whole Picture and showcased speakers Dr. Nandita Shah, homeopath doctor of the Quiet Healing Centre in Auroville, Dr. V.S. Sreedhara, an English professor at Vijaya College in Bangalore and award winning journalist Shri. Devinder Sharma.

Dr. Nandita Shah spoke about nutrition and common misconceptions of good nutrition. She proclaimed that adult humans can live without milk, and that cow’s milk actually contains nutrients suitable for calves.

Furthermore, the milk produced in modern dairy farms contains harmful chemicals such as hormones, antibiotics and pesticides. In addition, the milking process damages the udder of the cow. Milk also contains pus.

Dr. Nandita emphasized that a fit lifestyle can be achieved through healthy eating habits. After she informed the audience of the importance of avoiding milk and going vegan, many attendees opted for herbal tea during the tea break.

Shri Devinder Sharma discussed the linkages that trade and economics have with agriculture. He was of the opinion that we should actively involve ourselves in the process of policy making, and must raise our voice against any decision made by the government which is not for the benefit of people.

NatureDay 2 of the convention, themed A Sustainable Good Life presented the speakers Dr. Vandana Shiva, recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and Founder Director of Navdanya, Shri Gopinath Menon, UNICEF Chief for Maharashtra and Dr. Mira Shiva, physician and public health activist.

Dr. Vandana Shiva reviewed common perceptions of a “good life”. She argued that this type of life means maintaining a strong connection with nature. She emphasized the need to invest in land before real estate so that nature can be protected.

According to her, urban dwellers should strive to cultivate a garden of any size so their children can learn the value of Mother Earth.

Shri Gopinath Menon shared his experience working in rural Maharashtra, underlining the importance of understanding the problems that rural citizens face. He asserted that a progressive political climate in India depended significantly on the fortification of local self governance systems in the villages.

Dr. Mira Shiva lectured on the impact that nutrition had on children. She highlighted the ill effects of packaged foods in terms of their excessive preservatives and MSG, which is often misleadingly displayed as flavor enhancers on labels.


Research Conference at ASB

Mar 17th, 2011
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April 6, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore

A conference on Contemporary Issues and Thoughts in Management Research at the Amrita School of Business (ASB), Coimbatore on March 17, 2011, brought ASB faculty and research scholars face-to-face with several leading management thinkers from around the world.

Research Conference

Dr. David Ford, Professor of Organizational Studies, Strategy and International Management at the University of Dallas and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, presented his views on effectiveness of a leader across various organizational roles.

Dr. David’s presentation was peppered with his experiences from Eurasia.

Dr. Devanath Tirupati, Chairperson, Center for Supply Chain Management at IIM-Bangalore discussed Product/Service Positioning and Portfolios for Supply Chain Management.

Research Conference

This presentation was followed by a presentation on historiographic meta-analysis of performance measures by Dr. Paul Davis, a doctorate from Deakin University, Melbourne.

“The conference served as a platform to share scholarly views on several important issues facing progressive organizations today,” stated Dr. Priyaadarshini R.G., who helped organize this research conference.

“International scholars as well as accomplished faculty from our own Amrita campuses presented research perspectives that embraced a multi-disciplinary theoretical paradigm.”

Research Conference

“A wide range of research methodologies including literature reviews, case studies, paired comparisons and empirical studies were discussed.”

Foremost among the Amrita faculty who presented was Dean Gurumurthy Kalyanaram, a doctorate from MIT, who spoke about asymmetric market reactions to product announcements.

TQM implementation issues among Small and Medium Enterprises was discussed by Dr. R. G. Priyadarshini and potential research areas in Cloud Computing were presented by Dr. Vivek Menon.

Research Conference

There was also a presentation on Supply Chain Maturity by Dr. N. Vivek, PSG College of Technology.

“The conference attracted academicians and researchers from various functions of management,” stated Dr. Priyadarshini. “We are happy to note that participants said that they greatly benefitted from the scholarly discussions and presentations.”

Added Dean Gurumurthy Kalyanaram, “The Research Conference was global in reach, informative in content and contemporary in managerial insights. I thank all the participants and the contributors.”


Studying Evidence Based Medicine

Mar 16th, 2011
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March 16, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

Nine doctors at the Amrita School of Medicine recently completed a three-month course in Evidence-Based Medicine from Weill Cornell University, New York, one of America’s best medical colleges.

The course was conducted through a telemedicine link between Weill Cornell University and Amrita’s Health Sciences Campus, Kochi.

Evidence Based MedicineThe nine doctors including Drs. Kumar Menon, Sreehari K. Pillai, Jacob Ninan, Zachariah Paul, Karthik Ganesh, Sandeep Sreedhar, Sujith Sasidharan Nair, Priya Nair and V. Chaitanya said that the course improved their ability to analyze clinical scenarios from an individual patient or population perspective.

“We studied how to implement useful findings from medical literature and research into clinical practice,” they stated.

Evidence Based Medicine is the process of systematically asking, acquiring, appraising and applying research findings as the basis for clinical decisions. The three-month classes included didactic lectures, critical analysis of scientific journals and clinical journal presentations.

“Throughout the course, we were guided by eminent faculty members from Weill Cornell Medical College,” stated Dr. Kumar Menon.

These faculty members included Dr. Madelon Finkel, Epidemiologist and Professor of Clinical Public Health at the Department of Public Health and Helen-Ann Brown Epstein, Head of Education and Outreach.

Dr. Madelon Finkel visited Amrita’s Health Sciences campus in March 2010.

Evidence Based MedicineElaborating on the course, Dr. Menon said, “Although we had lectures, emphasis was given to problem solving. Clinical case scenarios were presented at each session for the learner to assess, appraise and answer.”

“The faculties presented cases related to a treatment issue or a diagnosis, prognosis or etiology scenario. We were instructed to find out the “best evidence” to address the clinical issues outlined in the case.”

“This three-month course helped us learn how to integrate medical evidence with clinical practice.”

The course was conducted as a part of the collaboration in medical education and research between Amrita University and Weill Cornell University, New York.

In future years, this collaboration between Amrita and Cornell will benefit many more scholars from both universities.


New Device to Generate Electricity

Mar 16th, 2011
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March 16, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru

At Amrita University, there are many budding engineers with inventive minds who have much to offer.

remeshFor example, Ramesh Pakalapati, final-year student of B.Tech. (Electronics and Communication Engineering) at Bengaluru, recently crafted a device that uses the force of water to produce electricity in homes.

Working with his class-mates A. Bhargav Anand, Akhilesh G. and Anudeep Dasa, Ramesh was able to complete the project in less than one month.

The students’ inspiration for the project was the need to generate electricity from a renewable energy source.

“I always believe that an idea unimplemented is a waste,” said Ramesh. “Having great knowledge is not a great thing, applying it in a real-time scenario is the most important thing.”

The students developed a system to create electricity using the force of water flowing through pipes connected to an overhead tank.

The device, similar to a power generator, was attached to the pipes to capture the small amount of energy that is produced as water moves through pipes from the tank. This energy was converted into electricity.

teamThe effectiveness of the device was tested with a 2.5V, 25mA LED (light emitting diode) that lit up when electricity flowed through it.

“The force from ordinary water tap was enough to light up the LED,” reported Ramesh. “This indicated that our device functioned adequately.”

The device was made of several components including a dynamo, a shaft, two ball bearings, two GA pipes and a manufactured or hand-crafted metal box. The contraption could be conveniently used during power outages, as current could be effectively generated for a small duration of time.

The device has various advantages starting with its low assembly price. Ramesh has no desire to obtain a patent for the device. Instead, the goal is to make its idea available to the public, so that anyone with a modest knowledge of a dynamo and shaft arrangement can construct their own.

“Inspired by Chancellor Amma, we are planning to make this a complete open-source project and are not expecting any commercial profits,” shared Ramesh.

“It can be useful on farms where power supply is very inconsistent,” he added.

team2The team plans to use high quality hardware to construct models suitable for large-scale operations. The team has also conducted educational workshops for teaching the process of building individual devices.

The first workshop was conducted in West Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, with the assistance of West Godavari District Collector Mrs. Vanisri Prasad. Ramesh’s work was also applauded by Sri M. Ravichandra, District Collector of East Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh.

In addition to his invention, Ramesh has also written a book for the benefit of rural students. The book Science Data Bank is to be published for government school students in the West Godavari district.


National Symposium on Shock Waves

Mar 15th, 2011
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March 30, 2011
School of Engineering, Bengaluru

This month of March saw distinguished research scientists from institutions such as IISc Bengaluru, IIT Madras, IIT Guwhati, BARC and DRDL come together at the Amrita School of Engineering (ASE) in Bengaluru for the National Symposium on Shock Waves.


Organized by the Department of Mechanical Engineering, in association with the Society for Shock Wave Research (India) and the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc, Bengaluru, the symposium attracted over 110 delegates, some from the farthest reaches of the country.

Shock waves have many useful applications; indeed the research of Dr. Rakesh S. G., Associate Dean, ASE, focuses on the use of shock waves to administer therapeutic drugs without the use of hypodermic needles or syringes. However, recently the world witnessed a devastating impact of a massive shock wave, when it resulted in the Japanese tsunami following an earthquake.

Dr. Rakesh Talk

To pay their respects to those deceased in the tsunami, all symposium participants observed a minute of silence after the formal inauguration with the lighting of the lamp.

Welcoming the gathering, Dr. Rakesh introduced Dr. Satish Kumar, Director, Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory, Chandigarh, who delivered the key note address.

Invited talks followed. Scientists shared their perspectives on emerging facets of research in shock waves.

Dr. Satish Talk

Detailed discussions were conducted on topics such as Study of Materials under Intense Shock Dynamic Loading, Heat Transfer and Force Measurement Studies in Hypersonic Flows and Shock Wave Based Therapeutic Devices.

More discussions centered around Unimolecular HF Elimination of Monofluorodimethylether and 1,2-difluorodimethyl- ether in the Temperature Range of 800-1500K and Stress Analysis of Hydrogen Recombiner Test Chamber (HRTC) for Shock Load due to Internal Explosion.

Invited Talk

The final presentation of the day focused on the phenomenon of the tsunami and its impact on civilization.

The symposium concluded with a valedictory function wherein speakers and session chairs were felicitated. An evening cultural program presented by a troupe invited by the campus Spicmacay chapter enthralled delegates.


Most delegates chose to stay back on the following day for a visit to the Laboratory for Hypersonics and Shock Wave Research at the Indian Institute of Sciences. Amrita faculty from the Department of Mechanical Engineering accompanied the delegates.


Ashtangaratna Award for Dr. Mattakkara Ramachandran Nair

Mar 15th, 2011
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March 15, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

Amrita’s Dr. Mattakkara Ramachandran Nair was recently chosen as Ashtangaratna of the year by the State Government and the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM).

Dr. MattakkaraThe title was conferred to honor Dr. Mattakkara’s lifetime contributions to the field of Ayurveda.

Currently Dr. Mattakkara serves as Chief Consultant at the Centre for Holistic Medicine at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.

In 1954, Dr. Mattakkara graduated from the Thiruvananthapuram Government Ayurveda College with a Diploma in Integrated Medicine, which was then a combined study of ayurveda and modern medicine.

In a short while, he became famous for his expertise in treatment. In 1960, he joined government service.

Throughout his career, Dr. Mattakkara was recognized for his excellence in treating and healing many complicated illnesses. He won the admiration of patients and families alike for his skills.

Dr. Mattakkara’s chief areas of interest were rheumatology and gastroenterology.

Having contributed immensely to the discipline of Ayurveda, he succeeded in conveying the scientific truth about Ayurveda to the world.

With over one thousand national and international paper publications in several journals, Dr. Mattakkara became known for his vast knowledge in the subject.

AyurvedaIn 1983, Dr. Mattakkara first met Sri Mata Amritanandamayi, Amma. “It was a turning point for me,” he states.

After his retirement from government services, Dr. Mattakkara joined the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. He pioneered the Amrita Medical Mission of Ayurveda in the ashram.

Subsequently he served as Chief Consultant and Professor at the School of Ayurveda in the Amritapuri campus.

He was also the chief editor of the ayurvedic magazine Physician for many years.

He regularly receives invitations from various ayurvedic colleges around the country to conduct courses as guest faculty.

In spite of his hectic schedule, he has completed a soon-to-be-published treatise titled Sri Lalitha Sahasranamavum Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Deviyum from his notes and commentaries for Lalitha Sahasranamam.


New Cyber Security Book Published

Mar 15th, 2011
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March 15, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore

A new book, Cyber Security, Cyber Crime and Cyber Forensics: Applications and Perspectives intended to serve as a textbook and comprehensive reference guide was recently published.

Cyber Security BookVarious chapters of the book derive from research and position papers that were presented at the Indo-US conference and workshop on cyber-security, cyber-crime and cyber-forensics that was organized at Amrita’s Kochi campus in August 2009.

This event showcased more than 100 papers on various topics associated with the aforementioned cyber issues. All papers underwent peer reviews at the convention. A selection of authors was asked to extend their papers for publication in the book.

“Overall, the selection of chapters demonstrates the kind of multi-disciplinary research effort needed to address the wide range of challenges facing us today in the Information Age,” state the authors in the book’s preface.

“This edited volume strives to address a wide range of perspectives in cyber security, cyber crime and cyber forensics,” they add.

“We have assembled insights from a representative sample of academicians and practitioners and addressed this topic from a variety of perspectives ranging from technologies, economics and social studies, organizational and group behavior and policy-making.”

The book’s three sections Cyber Crime: Policies and Implications, Cyber Security: Technology Review, and Cyber Security: Methods and Algorithms, each deal with various issues of cyber safety.

The book is intended for graduate and advanced undergraduate level students in information sciences, information systems, computer science, systems engineering, social studies and public policy.

Targeted also are research scholars who study cyber security from perspectives like informatics, decision sciences, organizational behavior, social studies and public administration.

SethumadhavanTopics covered in the book include biometrics, data security, digital watermarking, e-discovery, cyber forensics, fraud detection, intellectual property and piracy, intrusion detection and prevention, social and behavioral aspects of cyber security, threat modeling and wireless security.

Raghu Santanam from Arizona State University, USA and Mohit Virendra from Brocade Communications Systems, USA worked with Amrita’s Dr. M. Sethumadhavan to complete the book.

Dr. M. Sethumadhavan, Head of the Centre for Cyber Security at Coimbatore received his PhD in Number Theory from Calicut Regional Engineering College, presently known as the National Institute of Technology Calicut. He is a professor of mathematics and computer science at Amrita, and his area of interest is cryptography.


Executive Development Program at ASB

Mar 15th, 2011
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March 31, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore

This month, the Amrita School of Business conducted an Executive Development Program (EDP) at its Coimbatore and Bengaluru campuses.


In collaboration with the Madras Management Association, the EDP was also organized in Chennai.

Based on the theme, Cross-Cultural Change Management and Leadership Transition, the EDP explored the complex challenges and issues international businesses face as they implement change.

International experts including Paul Davis from Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia; David L. Ford, University of Texas at Dallas and Dr. Ella Roininen from University of St. Gallen, Switzerland led the EDP.

Delegates included industry professionals, private consultants, chartered accountants and members of academia.


Industry participants represented middle and senior management from companies such as Sakthi Group of Industries, Larsen & Toubro, Roots Industries, Dhanlakshmi Bank, Payoda and ABT Ltd.

Academia was represented by senior members of management and faculty members of educational institutions P.S.G. School of Business, D. J. Academy, P. A. College of Engineering and Technology, Sri Venkateswara Educational Institute and Trust and G.R.G. School of Management Studies.

“Focal points of the EDP were those competencies required of leaders who spearhead and implement change initiatives, and seek organizational development in a multicultural business environment,” stated Dr. Rajeev Prasad, who coordinated at the Coimbatore campus.

“Change management was examined from the perspective of inclusive participation and how leaders achieve organizational transition with employees as partners in the process,” he added.


In addition, employee involvement in diagnosis and dialogue was showcased, and a range of models were provided to participants that could be adapted to organizations.

Delegates discussed ways in which they could harness opportunities for business growth, utilizing the well of untapped capabilities inherent in multicultural business environments.

“The seminar explored critical issues of cultural inclusion, cultural sensitivity and diversity management,” stated Dr. S. Usha Nandhini, who coordinated at the Bengaluru campus.

“Delegates appreciated the program, with many expressing their desire to attend similar events organized by Amrita School of Business in the future also,” added Dr. Pooja Sharma, who helped with the coordination.


Perinatology Clinic Commences at Amrita

Mar 14th, 2011
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March 14, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

A new division for Perinatology was recently initiated at the Amrita School of Medicine, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences.

PerinatologyPart of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the division will offer a comprehensive, state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for conditions affecting expectant mothers.

Perinatology, also known as maternal-fetal medicine, is concerned with the care of the mother and the fetus in complicated, high-risk pregnancies. The new division at Amrita comprises of highly skilled obstetricians who have expertise in managing high-risk pregnancies.

Dr. Laxmi Padmanabhan, an eminent obstetrician specially trained in fetal medicine at Mediscan Chennai, speaks about the new division.

“Pregnancy is truly a blissful process. But, sometimes, there may be complications arising during pregnancy that may put the baby’s health at risk. Therefore, every expectant mother should visit this clinic to ensure the well being of her baby. A perinatologist is involved in the entire aspect of pregnancy care.”

Baby“The baby, as it is formed in the mother’s womb, is at the risk of having chromosomal abnormalities and congenital anomalies which may either be structural or functional. Now, in this era of ‘Master Health Checkups’, we have various modalities to ensure the well being of the baby.”

“At Amrita, our division provides both first trimester and second trimester screening tests to screen for abnormalities and identify high-risk pregnancies which can become complicated.”

“First trimester screening tests provide information about a pregnant woman’s risk of having a baby with certain birth defects or genetic conditions such as Down syndrome, trisomy 18, etc. These tests include blood tests and an ultrasound exam. Performed between 11-14 weeks of pregnancy, they include screening for pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Ultrasound exam includes nuchal translucency screening for Down syndrome.”

“Second trimester screening tests include triple screen test that measures the level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), estriol and human chorionic gonadotropin. These blood tests usually are done around 15–20 weeks of pregnancy.”

Baby“If these screening tests raise concerns about pregnancy, further diagnostic tests can be done that include chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.”

“In liaison with the allied specialties, the division also offers therapies for conditions like anaemia of the baby, certain congenital heart diseases and renal abnormalities.”

Before joining Amrita, Dr. Laxmi worked at JIPMER Pondicherry and St. Johns Medical College, Bangalore. A member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, UK, she is also the recipient of young author award for the year 2002 by the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India.


Amrita Faculty on International Editorial Board

Mar 14th, 2011
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March 14, 2011
School of Business, Amritapuri

Imagine a journal that carries pointers to research that could be undertaken for the benefit of society. Next Society: An International Journal, which will soon be launched, promises to be such a journal. It describes itself as both a self-definition of the present computer society and an icon far transcending it.

Dr. Hardik VachhrajaniPublished by the Foreschungskollg ‘Gesellschaft und Kontingenz’, a Berlin based society of young scholars active in promoting Niklas Luhmann’s Social Systems Theory and by Department of Sociology, Yerevan State University, the journal’s inaugural issue will soon be available online.

Dr. Hardik Vachhrajani of the Amrita School of Business is a member of the journal’s International Advisory Panel and Editorial Board.

Currently serving as Erasmus Post Doc Fellow at the Department of Management, Alma Mater Studiorum Universita di Bologna, Italy, Dr. Hardik is based at the Amritapuri campus.

An empanelled reviewer for IBSU Scientific Journal published by International Black Sea University, Tbilisi, Georgia, Dr. Hardik is also the recipient of research grants from Swiss National Science Foundation (2008) and European Commission (2010).

IBSU Scientific Journal“It is a matter of great honor and privilege to be on the international advisory board of the journal,” he said. “I look forward to all possible contributions I can make.”

“The journal will focus on structures and semantics of past and future forms of society, and the tension zones between these. We intend to cover a number of possible dimensions. We will begin with social systems research and then take it forward to diverse aspects.”

“As we are in the constitutional phase of the journal, we are very conscious about the quality of the papers we publish. All papers will be double blind reviewed by international reviewers. To reach a wider audience, the journal will be open access.”

“As a group of young scholars of sociology, we are very keen to publish work by younger researchers.”

Talking about the review criteria for papers, he mentioned, “We would want papers to be based on original research. These should add to the body of knowledge in the areas mentioned in the journal’s scope. Most research featured in the journal will be empirical.”

Elaborating on his specific role, Dr. Hardik added, “I will work to expand the scope of the journal both geographically and conceptually. My efforts will be focused on bringing diverse contributions to the journal from the South East Asian sub-continent. I also plan to lead a special issue for the journal in the coming months.”


New Tracking Framework Makes Big News

Mar 13th, 2011
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March 13, 2011
Amrita School of Business, Kochi

Smart Tracking SystemComputer Scientists Develop Smart, Less Obtrusive Tracking System, read the headline on the State University of Buffalo’s website on March 3, 2011.

The news article featured research that was jointly carried out by scientists from the US University and India’s Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

That this new framework represented a major breakthrough became apparent when the next day, ACM listed this very news item prominently in its TechNews.

ACM TechNews reaches an audience of nearly 1,00,000; over the next few days as details of the new framework became known, it generated wide spread interest.

Dr. Vivek Menon“Our novel framework for smart indoor environments can unobtrusively identify and track occupants and answer queries about their whereabouts,” explained Dr. Vivek Menon of Amrita, who spent nearly two years as Visiting Research Scientist at the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS) at the State University of New York, working on this system.

“The new tracking method has the potential to improve the safety and security in indoor environments such as nursing homes, hospitals and other critical spaces, while providing occupants with freedom from continuous surveillance and other wearable technologies like radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that are considered obtrusive,” he added.

Dr. Vivek Menon collaborated with Dr. Bharat Jayaraman and Dr. Venu Govindaraju, both Professors at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the State University of New York, Buffalo to bring the work to fruition.

The elegant tracking framework devised by the three scientists integrates recognition, reasoning and information retrieval — three highly researched but usually separately studied areas of computer science, within one unified state-transition system framework.

Cyber-Physical SpacesBefore the work made big news all over the world, it was already beginning to attract attention in the scientific press. A peer-reviewed research paper titled Three R‟s of Cyber-Physical Spaces appears online in IEEE Computer, the flagship publication of IEEE Computer Society and will be published in a future issue of this journal’s print edition.

Last year, ACM/Springer Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing’s special issue on Multimodal Systems, Services and Interfaces for Ubiquitous Computing featured this system as a paper titled Multimodal Identification and Tracking in Smart Environments.

Recently, Dr. Menon was invited to present his work at the Indo-U.S. Workshop on Developing a Research Agenda in Pervasive Communications and Computing Collaboration , co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation, USA and Department of Information Technology (DIT), Govt. of India.

The workshop was conducted at IIT Delhi during March 9 – 11, 2011.


APLAST 2011 at Amrita

Mar 11th, 2011
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March 18, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

APLAST 2011, a three-day teaching program in plastic and reconstructive surgery was conducted at Amrita’s Health Sciences campus during March 11-13, 2011. Organized by Amrita’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in association with Kerala Plastic Surgery Association, the conference attracted around 200 delegates from all over the country.

Aplast inauguration

As a comprehensive, evidence-based teaching program, APLAST provided an overview of current concepts.

The three-day program covered key topics in plastic and reconstructive surgery including head and neck cancers; reconstruction of the ear, nose, lip, eyelid, breast, trunk; hair transplantation; rhinoplasty; management of burns; brachial plexus injuries; genital reconstruction and extensor tendon injuries.

“This program was the first of its kind in the country,” stated Dr. U. Nandakumar, Professor at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. “This instructional course was designed to provide an update to postgraduate trainees and junior plastic surgeons.”

Dr. Nandakumar

Dr. Rajasabhapathy, President of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India inaugurated the tutorials. “Amrita’s unit of plastic and reconstructive surgery is undoubtedly one of the finest units in the country,” he stated. The unit recently began offering MCh in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Dr. Subramania Iyer, Professor and HoD at the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery also spoke.

“We began our department as a comprehensive unit of plastic, reconstructive, head and neck, and cleft and craniofacial surgery in 2003. Since then we have grown in all respects. Whatever we have achieved and will achieve is all due to excellent team work in the Department.”

Dr. Rajasabhapathy inaugurated the tutorials

Dr. Surajit Bhattacharya, Editor of the Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery spoke about the importance of documentation.

“As the editor of Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, it is my duty to tell you how important it is to document work. A plastic surgery specialist needs to do three kinds of documentation – academic, research and clinical. Documentation is very vital and it is from there that we generate the idea of writing papers. Let the younger generation understand the value of research and the value of documentation.”

Dr. Subramania Iyer talkIn addition to Amrita faculty, distinguished speakers and faculty from all over the country elaborated on topics such as cheek reconstruction, pediatric mandibular reconstruction, dental rehabilitation, facial palsy, cleft lip nose correction, breast augmentation, reconstruction in radiated breast, hair restoration surgery and body contouring surgery.

These faculty included Dr. Gautam Biswas from Post Graduate Institute, Chandigarh, Dr. Mukund Jagannathan from LTMG Hospital, Mumbai, Dr. Jyotsna Murthy from Sree Ramachandra University, Chennai, Dr. Karoon Agarwal from Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, Dr. Mukund Thatte from Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, Dr. D. Mukunda Reddy from Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Dr. K. Sridhar from Apollo Hospitals, Chennai and Dr. P. M. Saffia from Govt. Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram.


Future Engineers Author Research Papers

Mar 11th, 2011
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March 11, 2011
School of Engineering, Amritapuri

M.Tech. and Ph.D. students undertake original research and publish papers. The fact that in Amrita, B.Tech. students are also encouraged to do the same, speaks volumes about the research culture that is beginning to pervade the entire university.

Ramesh BhakthavatchaluRecently B.Tech. students at Amritapuri campus guided by Ramesh Bhakthavatchalu, Assistant Professor, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, published and presented several research papers based on final-year projects.

The January issue of International Journal of Computer Science published the Amrita student paper co-authored and edited by Ramesh, Implementation of Reduced Power Open Core Protocol Compliant Memory System using VHDL.

Other papers coauthored and edited by the Assistant Professor were presented or will be presented at different conferences around the country and the world.

In January, students Arun K.S., Nithin K.R. and Rahul Remanan presented a paper titled A VLSI Implementation of High Resolution, Direct Digital Synthesizer in FPGA at the 2011 3rd International Conference on Computer Modeling and Simulation, in Mumbai.

Paper PresentationIn February, students Sreenivasa Mallia S, HariKrishnan R, ArunKrishnan, and Sruthi. B presented two papers at the 2011 International Conference on Digital Convergence in Hyderabad.

The papers were titled A Design and Implementation of an Intelligent Performance Optimized Low Power Scheduled Alarm System Using Embedded Microcontroller and A Mobile Phone Controlled Remote Robot.

The same students will present a paper titled Low Power Scheduled Alarm System Using Embedded Microcontroller with USB Interface at the International Conference on Emerging Trends in Electrical and Computer Technology on March 23 and 24 in Kanyakumari.

In addition, Deepthy G. R., Vidhya S., and Nisha V. will also present a paper titled Design and Analysis of Low Power Open Core Protocol Compliant Interface Using VHDL.

Paper PresentationFinally, Parvathi Nair’s study Low Power Design Techniques Applied to Pipelined Parallel and Iterative CORDIC will be presented at the International Conference on Network and Computer Science in Kanyakumari.

Two papers will be presented at international conferences in Malaysia. These include A Comparison of TB and TR Architectures for SoC Testing by Arathy Nair and Meera Thamby, and VLSI Implementation and Analysis of CIC Decimator and Interpolator with Improved Attenuation by Sai Dinesh.

“All paper presentations have received extremely positive feedback,” shared Ramesh. “Amrita students are building a solid reputation with their work at international conferences, where they are often the only undergraduates to share the stage with professionals.”

Meanwhile Ramesh continues to serve, not only with his support of the Amrita students but also his contributions to the scientific peer community. He will serve as as Designated Paper Reviewer for several IEEE Conferences in Malaysia including IEEE Symposium on Industrial Electronics and Applications (25 – 28 Sept, 2011), IEEE Conference on Open Systems (25 -28 Sept, 2011), IEEE International Conference on Electronic Devices, Systems & Applications (25 -27 April, 2011) and IEEE Symposium on Computers and Informatics (20-22 March, 2011).

Last year he played the same role at the IEEE International Conference on Industrial and Information Systems, at NIT, Surathkal.


Institution Day Celebrations at ASE, Coimbatore

Mar 11th, 2011
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March 14, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri inaugurating institution dayOn March 11, 2011, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham welcomed a special guest – Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. In 2007, IPCC and Al Gore were joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Pachauri, who is also the Director General of The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) was in our Coimbatore campus to speak to students on the occasion of the 16th Institution Day Celebrations of the Amrita School of Engineering.

“Unless we live in harmony with nature, unless we are able to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and adopt renewable energy sources and unless we drastically change our life styles, the world will increasingly become unfit for human habitation,” he warned. “Our ancestors, particularly in India, placed emphasis on ethics and social morality; they perhaps had less comforts but certainly had more fresh air and water.”

“Human actions are interfering with the delicate balance of nature,” he added. “Floods, heat waves, water scarcity, tsunamis will become frequent in the future. The impact on agriculture and healthcare will be enormous. The world will be forced to take care of more and more climate refugees in the very near future.”
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Dr. Rajendra PachauriLauding the efforts of the administration of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham for the extensive green cover now part of the Coimbatore campus, he said that Amrita students were really fortunate to be living in a place where they could breath fresh air, away from the pollutants that dirty the atmosphere in most cities today.

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri endorsed the Amala Bharatham Campaign initiated by Chancellor Amma. “Amala Bharatham represents a noble mission taken up and championed by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math … it deserves all support and encouragement … I wholeheartedly endorse this great mission and wish it great success.”

Dr. M.P. Chandrasekharan, Dean-Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham presented the annual institution day report.

In addition to highlighting the various achievements and activities of the staff and students over the course of the previous year, he also focused on the green initiatives of the campus.

“I would like to place on record that we have three plants for waste water treatment and re-use,” he said. “The entire waste water after treatment is used for irrigation. We also separate plastics, metals and paper waste at the source itself and prepare it for recycling. Food waste is composted.”
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prize-distributionPrize distribution followed. Over 400 students were honored with prizes for academic and cultural proficiency. SAE club achievers, college magazine editors, cultural and joint secretaries of various clubs were among those honored. Chinmayi team won the overall championship with 161 points, while Anandamayi team emerged as runners-up with 134 points.

The Institution Day was actually the culmination of Amritotsavam – the annual intra-mural competitions in literary and cultural activities. Prize-winning individual and team items in song and dance were showcased; this brought the evening to a close.


Paper on Electrocardiogram Signal Accepted for Publication

Mar 10th, 2011
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March 10, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore

A paper from Amrita University’s School of Engineering at Coimbatore was recently accepted for publication in Elsevier’s Journal of Biomedical Signal Processing and Control.

Dr. K. P Soman, Professor and Head of the Center for Computational Engineering and Networking (CEN) and Dr. Sabarimalai Manikandan, Assistant Professor at CEN, jointly authored this soon-to-be published research paper titled A Novel Method for Detecting R-peaks in Electrocardiogram (ECG) Signal.

Dr. K. P Soman & Dr. Sabarimalai Manikandan

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most life-threatening disease, and is responsible for half of all deaths in developed and developing countries. Many of these deaths could easily be prevented with early detection and continuous monitoring of cardiac information relating to heart health conditions.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a primary diagnostic tool that is used to analyze heart’s electrical activity. A typical ECG signal consists of the P-wave, QRS complexes and T-wave. The features such as amplitudes, durations and shapes of the P-QRS-T-waves and the intervals provide much valuable information for the diagnosis of cardiac diseases.

Automatic detection of the R-peaks in a long-term electrocardiogram (ECG) signal is the most important first step for ECG wave delineation, heart-rate variability (HRV) analysis, heart sound segmentation, medical biometric and ECG coding systems.

The following is an outline of the professors’ new paper.

ecg2Discovery of the R-Peak is pivotal in a large variety of electrocardiogram applications. But almost all existing R-peak detectors suffer from the non-stationarity of both QRS morphology and noise.

To solve this problem, the professors put forth a new R-peak detector which is grounded in the new system of preprocessing and an automated peak-finding chain of reasoning.

The paper presents an unprecedented four-stage methodology for the automated ascertainment of R-peaks in an ECG signal. The preprocessor introduced is based on a bandpass filter, first-order forward derivative, amplitude normalization, Shannon energy estimation, and zero-phase filtering with rectangular impulse response that provides a smooth envelogram of the ECG signal.

The professors first illustrate that the suggested preprocessor containing a Shannon energy envelope estimator is more capable of identifying R-peaks when the following factors are involved: wider- and smaller-QRS complexes, negative QRS polarities and abrupt alterations in QRS amplitudes.

After this illustration, they use the Hilbert-transform and moving average filter to defend the reasonableness of the simplicity and strength of the suggested peak-finding logic.

The effectiveness of the R-peak detector is confirmed by means of the first-channel of the 48 ECG records of the MIT-BITH arrhythmia database. The R-peak has a detection accuracy of 99.80%, sensitivity of 99.93% and positive predictivity of 99.86%. The results of different experiments indicate that the proposed R-peak detection method is considerably more effective than other recognized methods in dealing with noisy or pathological signals. The proposed peak finding task can be used for identifying locations of P/T wave peaks.

R-pekThe proposed approach does not require additional decision rules with sets of thresholds based on the running estimates of the signal peaks and noise peaks, the average RR interval and rate limits, a set of tactics for blanking and T-wave discrimination and training phase.

Reviewers appreciated that the paper was excellent, very well written and interesting to read. It also provides a good review of the topic. One reviewer commented, “First of all, I wish to congratulate the authors for this paper. I have reviewed a lot of papers and it is very rare to read at a first review step a paper so well written and well organized.”

“It has great potential within the field of PCG signal processing for the development of robust, accurate, automated computer-aided diagnostic systems, biometric systems with high recognition accuracy and efficient sound enhancement and coding systems,” explained the article The Heart of the Matter which was published in August 2010 in the biweekly scientific journal Electronics Letters. “The reliable and accurate detection of endpoints of all heart sounds has remained as a very challenging problem,” read the article.


No Small Matter

Mar 10th, 2011
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April 6, 2011
School of Business, Coimbatore

In the last three years, car manufacturing in India skyrocketed from 7,23,330 cars to 13,08,913.

And why wouldn’t it?

India’s economy is booming and so is its spending power. That extra boost in financial freedom is making India look very attractive to automotive giants like Toyota.

Cars in India

Even as the demand for cars in developed countries continues to crash, India is becoming one of the fastest growing automobile markets in the world.

If the rate of growth persists, by 2050 every sixth car in the world will be produced for the Indian market.

But will this growth come with a cost?

More cars on the road, means more pollution.

Right now, the Government of India and the auto industry are battling over carbon emission limits. Probably a good idea to push for stricter limits, if we consider research from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

Prof S. Achath with his students “If developing countries adopt stricter vehicle emissions standards, like the “Euro 6”, health, agriculture and the climate will be improved world-wide,” stated a new study from NASA’s GISS.

“At least 100,000 premature air-pollution-related deaths can be prevented; millions of tons of ozone-related crops losses can be avoided and climate change can be mitigated.”

That’s why when second-year MBA students at the Coimbatore campus, studying Logistics & Supply Chain Management went to visit Pricol Ltd., a car parts manufacturing plant, it was no small matter.

Pricol, whose logo is Better Ideas for a Better Planet is a dominant force in India’s auto parts industry.

While at Pricol’s factory in Coimbatore, the students observed manufacturing and supply chain methods in real time. Sivaprasad L. shared, “The visit was an eye opener. I thought textbook concepts like MRP and BOM weren’t used in the real world. Now I understand these time-tested concepts explain the theoretical underpinnings of a company’s work flow.”

Students also learned that constant performance evaluations keep a successful business competitive.

“Benchmarking the highest industry standards helps Pricol identify what improvements are needed in order to increase its efficiency,” said Azeem Hafeez.

Finally, students discovered there are many unseen factors that contribute to making a finished product.

Second year MBA students at Coimbatore Amrita

“I was surprised to find small automobile parts, like the speedometer, are made with a lot of even smaller components that go through a long assembly line,” explained Anand R.E.

And where do all of these small parts come from? “It was interesting to discover that many materials, such as plastics, are imported from countries like Korea,” said Mridula K.

When they put all the pieces together, students discovered just how complex the supply chain of the auto parts industry can be.

When we put all of the pieces together, India’s economic growth is definitely good for the people and the country … but shouldn’t we make sure it’s good for the environment too?


Virtual Labs Workshops Continue

Mar 10th, 2011
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March 10, 2011
Amritapuri Campus

Workshops on virtual labs continue. After the highly successful introductory workshops at Amritapuri and Coimbatore campuses, these workshops are now being organized not only in other Amrita campuses but also at several other college campuses around the nation.

Virtual Labs WorkshopsOn February 18, the Amrita School of Engineering at Bengaluru organized a one-day workshop on virtual labs in physics and chemistry. Senior teachers from various engineering, degree and PU colleges in the city and surrounding areas attended.

“Participants appreciated the software features, and found them to be student-friendly,” stated Kannan Surendran, project coordinator. “Many were of the opinion that the virtual labs would serve as a valuable teaching aid for theory classes and for pre-lab sessions.”

Ten days later, on February 28, during National Science Day celebrations at the School of Biotechnology in the Amritapuri campus, virtual labs featured prominently. Dr. Shyam Diwakar, explained the concepts of virtual labs to biotech students.

On March 5, a workshop was organized at the Amritapuri campus, for biotechnology teachers interested in using virtual labs in their curriculum.

Virtual Labs WorkshopsMeanwhile, similar workshops got underway at other college campuses also. Colleges identified as nodal centers during the workshops already conducted came forward to help disseminate information about these valuable tools to the student-teacher community.

On February 11, the first of these nodal centers, CMS College, Kottayam organized a workshop for physics and chemistry virtual labs at their campus. Principal of the college, Prof. M. M. Khora noted the many benefits of virtual labs in his inaugural address.

“These labs have the potential to change the educational reality of developing countries marked by scarcity of resources,” he said. “Besides helping teach basic and advanced concepts through remote web enabled experimentation, virtual labs can also enhance the curiosity and potential to innovate for students.”

Just as in all other workshops, participants attended a live demo session followed with an opportunity to themselves test the system during a hands-on session.

Virtual Labs Workshops“The event was a wonderful fusion of one of India’s oldest colleges embracing state-of-the-art educational e-learning technology,” proudly noted Kannan.

Similar workshops will follow at the Mar Thoma College, Thiruvalla; D.B. Pamba College, Parumala and St. Berchmans College, Changanacherry as they also begin to implement virtual labs in their curriculum of physics and chemistry.

“Nodal centers for virtual labs will help move the MHRD National Mission on Education into the digital age,” added Kannan. “We hope to remove the digital divide and IT illiteracy throughout India.”


Amrita Scholar Honored at Oncology Conference

Mar 9th, 2011
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March 9, 2011
School of Medicine, Kochi

Dr. Mayuri M. RajapurkarIn the recently concluded fourth annual conference of the Gujarat Society of Head and Neck Oncology (G-SHNO), Dr. Mayuri M. Rajapurkar of the Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Oncology at the Amrita School of Medicine won several honors.

She won the awards for the best paper and the best poster; the former was conferred for her paper titled Orbital Floor Reconstruction in Maxillectomy and the latter for a poster titled The Preserved Eye in Malignant Sinonasal Tumors.

Dr. Mayuri’s award-winning paper evaluated functional and aesthetic outcomes of orbital floor reconstruction after maxillectomy.

Maxillectomy, the surgical removal of the upper jaw bone, becomes more complex when critical structures such as orbit, globe and cranial base are resected. In such cases reconstruction with distant tissues is essential.

Dr. Mayuri M. Rajapurkar PosterThe paper analyzed the cases of 65 patients who underwent maxillectomy with orbital floor removal for malignant lesions involving maxilla. The morbidity profiles, functional and aesthetic outcomes of orbit were studied.

“My sincere thanks are due to Dr. L. M. Chandrasekhara Rao, a colleague at the department who worked hard to analyze the data presented in this paper,” acknowledged Dr. Mayuri.

Dr. Mayuri’s award-winning poster poster studied the oncologic and functional outcomes of the preserved eye in malignant sinonasal tumours with orbital involvement.

It presented the results of a study conducted on forty-three patients who underwent maxillectomy with or without craniofacial resection for malignant sinonasal tumours with orbital involvement. Twelve of the forty-three patients had orbital exenteration at surgery.

In patients where the orbital contents were preserved, there was good local control of the tumor with recommended adjuvant treatment. Only 3 cases had a recurrence in the orbit. In the remaining 16 cases, the functional outcome was excellent in terms of preserving binocular vision with minimal postoperative morbidity and good cosmesis.

Dr. Mayuri M. RajapurkarNone of our patients had a painful non-functional red-eye, as is commonly believed to result after such a surgery and adjuvant radiation. The absence of diplopia and maintenance of globe position with full range of motion in the series was due to adequate immediate reconstruction of the orbital wall defect.

Dr. Mayuri joined Amrita in 2008. After obtaining her MS in ENT from Medical College, Baroda in 2005, she served as Assistant Professor of ENT at P. S. Medical College, Karamsad, Gujarat. Subsequently she worked as Clinical Research Fellow at the Head and Neck Services of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai.

Currently, Dr. Mayuri is pursuing her MCh in Head and Neck Oncology at Amrita. We congratulate her on her double achievement.


SPECTRA ’11 – Student Nurses Sports Meet

Mar 8th, 2011
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March 25, 2011
School & College of Nursing, Kochi

The Annual Sports Meet of the Amrita School and College of Nursing, got underway during March 8 – 9, 2011 at the Health Sciences campus.


Spectra 11 – The Vibrant Energy on Tracks organized by the Student Nurses Association was inaugurated when Prof. K.T. Moly, Principal, Amrita College of Nursing lit the ceremonial lamp.

Previous year’s sports champions carried the torch to the sports fest ground led by a cycle rally. The torch set ablaze a huge conflagration at the venue, while the oath was administered to participants by 2010 individual sports champion, Mansoor Ali.


Chief guest, Mr. Raju Paul, winner of the best physical education teacher at the national and state levels stood in salute as student nurses marched past.

“I am so delighted to see the efforts of the nursing students,” he said. “Despite their time constraints, they are participating in this event in such big numbers.”


Following the march-past, first-year students of B.Sc. (Nursing) came forth with a colourful saree display; also on display were various cartoon characters.

As multicoloured balloons soared high to the ultimate reaches of the blue sky, they seemed to remind participants that there was no limit to the glories they could aim for.


Cricket, volleyball and football tournaments followed. Athletic field events included relay, 100 m dash, shot-put, long jump, javelin throw for both boys and girls.

“Spectra ’11 was the most awaited event of the year,” gushed Clare Maria, final-year student of B.Sc. (Nursing). “The competitions were extremely thrilling.”


The overall championship was won by final-year students of B.Sc. (Nursing). Mansoor Ali from this batch was honoured yet again as the individual champion among the boys, while Ashna Joy, first-year student emerged as champion among the girls.

The closing ceremony was followed by the prize distribution.


Amrita Paper Published in International Journal

Mar 8th, 2011
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March 8, 2011
School of Dentistry, Kochi

Dr. Rakesh S.A paper authored by Dr. Rakesh S., Associate Professor of Oral Pathology and Microbiology at the Amrita School of Dentistry was recently published in the international journal Head and Neck Pathology.

An official publication of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and the International Academy of Oral Pathology, the journal publishes research and review papers covering the entire spectrum of human surgical pathology within the anatomic zones of the oral cavity, sinonasal tract, larynx, hypopharynx and salivary gland.

Dr. Rakesh’s paper titled A Rare Case of Dentigerous Cyst in a One-Year-Old Child – The Earliest Case of Known and Reported Occurrence presented the settings and mode of treatment adopted for an unusual disease.

Odontogenic cysts are those that commonly occur in the oral cavity. Nearly 20% of these are dentigerous cysts, comprising the second most common type of the cyst of the jaws.

“A majority of the odontogenic cysts are associated with impacted or unerupted mandibular third molars followed by maxillary canines and maxillary third molars,” explained Dr. Rakesh. “Very few of these cysts were reported in children younger than 10 years of age.”

Head-and-Neck-PathologyUsually occurring in children above 10 years of age during the development of permanent teeth, these cysts can grow to very large sizes, thereby disturbing the eruption pattern and destroying the jaw bone.

“This is the youngest patient till date in whom dentigerous cysts were reported in dental literature,” he stated.

Dr. Rakesh’s paper emphasized that it was extremely important to diagnose the cysts at an early stage so that they could be surgically removed without further disturbance in the growth and development of teeth and jaws.

Explaining further, he said, that the child, an 11-month-old boy at the time of diagnosis, was brought in to the Head and Neck Surgery Unit with a swelling in the affected area. Timely intervention by doctors of Head and Neck and Oral Pathology departments led to an early diagnosis and the cyst was successfully removed surgically.

Following the treatment, the patient showed normal eruption pattern and jaw development.

The co-authors of the paper include Dr. Mahija Janardhanan, Associate Professor, Department of Oral Pathology; Dr. Vinod Kumar R. B., Professor, Department of Oral Pathology and Dr. Sherry Peter, Professor, Department of Head and Neck Surgery at Amrita.


ASE Receives Edgecam Best New User Award

Mar 8th, 2011
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March 8, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore

EdgecamProf. M. Elangovan of the Department of Mechanical Engineering received the Edgecam Best New User Award on behalf of the Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore, for the year 2010.

The award was given to him in Bangalore by the Managing Director of Euskron, Spain at an industry event.

The company makes the Edgecam software for computer aided manufacturing (CAM) systems. Designed to cope with programming the simplest to the most complex manufacturing instructions, it provides support for CAD, machine tool and tooling technologies.

This award is given to select institutions that have implemented and started using the Edgecam software. In Amrita’s case, students learn Computer Aided Manufacturing using this software.

“The software is quite user-friendly, and helps students learn the concepts better,” said Prof. Elangovan.

EdgecamMeant primarily for the departments of mechanical and aerospace engineering, the software is used by both undergraduate and graduate students.

Saravananan, first-year student of M.Tech. underwent 40 hours of training on the software.

“The knowledge I obtained lends me confidence in my technical area,” he said. “I feel I have gained a broader insight into manufacturing techniques.”

“I feel I will be more technically competitive with this training.”

Instructional animations enabled Saravananan to better understand the software, and help him correct mistakes made while machining a product. The wide range of data provided helped him work better with various CAD files and drawings.

“I applaud the efforts of the faculty and staff who deployed this software in our campus. Special thanks to those who helped me in learning it.”

CampusB.Tech. students echoed Saravananan’s sentiments..

Naveen Vishnu S., second-year of B.Tech. (Mechanical Engineering) said, “Edgecam helped me to learn more about the manufacturing field. The training was very useful.”

Finally, Prof. Elangovan expressed gratitude for the award and to the Amrita team of educators who worked to familiarize students with the software.

“We feel very honored upon receiving such an award,” he stated. “We owe our thanks to faculty and staff associated with the implementation of the software and providing training to our students during the year 2010.”