Wednesday, September 30, 2009

..cOmputer SciEnce ResEarch...

In creating a research, there are two kinds of it. One is for social research and the other is for technical research. Social research refers to research conducted by social scientists (primarily within sociology and social psychology), but also within other disciplines such as social policy, human geography, political science, social anthropology and education. Sociologists and other social scientists study diverse things: from census data on hundreds of thousands of human beings, through the in-depth analysis of the life of a single important person to monitoring what is happening on a street today - or what was happening a few hundred years ago. While on the other half, technical research is an applied research oriented toward engineering disciplines (but not to a specific product or process) and aimed at developing tools and test equipment and procedures, and at providing solutions to specific technical problems.

The question really is about what the state of computer science research is and what the varieties are of technical topics. From the first question, I have read an article titled Computer Science in India. And on how the researches have been a big help in India's technological and economic progress. Computer Science (CS) research in India started in earnest only in the mid-80 triggered by the establishment of post-graduate programs in many institutions throughout the country at that time. Today, almost all areas of computer science research are covered by researchers in India, including topics that are "hot" elsewhere such as multi-media, workflow automation, virtual reality, and hardware-software co-design he territory covered by Indian researchers is impressive and most of the research problems tackled are of current interest globally. Some of the research has even attracted international attention including work on neuro-fuzzy systems, machine learning, genetic and neural algorithms, the modeling and control of flexible manufacturing systems, speech synthesis, databases, and complexity theory. One area where solutions unique to Indian conditions have been developed is machine-assisted language processing. With a vast population conversing in a multitude of languages (there are over twenty officially-recognized regional languages!), many with their own scripts, the problem of translation and transliteration from English to these languages and from one Indian language to another is daunting, but one which has the potential for a huge pay-off, -- socially, politically, and economically. It is not surprising that many computer science researchers are grappling with this problem. Some of the solutions are quite mature, and available as commercial software offerings. Many of these permit interactions with the computer in a local language, using keyboards designed explicitly for the language.

The results of the efforts mentioned above demonstrate that it is possible to carry out high-quality research in India, leading to publications in visible international journals; the potential exists and the resources can be garnered. However, most of the rest of the research is found wanting in quality. Incremental solutions -- developed relative to an existing published result, and the lack of in-depth evaluations -- are the norm. A senior faculty member at an IIT summarized the status of computer science research at India's leading basic research institutions thus: "The averages are there, but the peaks are not."

Several explanations can be offered for this gap between potential and reality. They relate to an ill-defined definition of the purpose of research in a developing country like India, absence of incentives as well as recognition, lack of critical mass in most research areas, paucity of resources -- both in quality and quantity, suboptimal utilization of what is available, low funding levels and the missing of accountability.

There are many in Indian computer science who argues that the goals of research and development in India ought to be manpower development, increasing competence, and keeping faculty up-to-date with current techniques. Towards this end, it is said that "reinventing the wheel" is not only necessary but also important. This might be one of the reasons that even though it is said (repeatedly) that India has one of the world's largest technical manpower, the manpower needed to do state-of-the-art research is found to be wanting, both in quality and quantity. According to Prof. Mahabala of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, this is because the "driving forces are not here." Since highly-trained, quality manpower is the key to the founding of new enterprises and for entering novel highly value-added arenas, many policy makers appear concerned with this issue. It is high time, since many echo Prof. Narasimhan, a doyen of Indian computer science, who feels that "there is no systematic effort to break new ground" even though information technology is more available now.

A stumbling block is the prevalent view that it is difficult to do "cutting-edge" research in India. A related view is that "creating new areas is very difficult, but contribution to an existing area is possible". A researcher who recently returned to India from the U.S. said that, because of this, one needs to come equipped with broad-based interests rather than a narrow focus. (As it turns out, whereas for almost twenty years research organizations had a difficult time attracting Indian researchers working abroad, the last few years have begun to see a reversal in this trend.)
Because of the breadth of research coverage, in most areas of computer science research there is a subcritical research force as a result of which most Indian researchers work in isolation. They hence miss the much-needed opportunity to interact with peers and fellow workers in their area of specialization. Even when there are related efforts elsewhere within the country, as a researcher admitted, "Indians don't know what others are doing." With the current availability of e-mail, a few researchers have begun collaborative efforts, mainly with colleagues overseas. Many are of the opinion that cooperation among researchers within India will not pick-up substantially due to the limited monetary resources available and the severe internal competition that it implies. One of the fall-outs of the subcritical research mass has been the inability of the funding agencies to obtain quality peer reviews.
One area that does not suffer from this problem is computer science theory. Most research-oriented academic departments have a substantial theory group, often the only group with critical mass. These researchers do not have to contend with the lack of resources and many with mathematical background find it an easier area to (re)train themselves in.

Besides a few research groups, ones with the required critical mass, very few researchers work with long-term research goals -- needed to have a coherent vision -- and strive to achieve it. This, along with an apparent lack of recognition of "sparks", a problem mentioned by many junior faculty, are cited as two of the many reasons for lower visibility of Indian computer science research. Another reason given is the paucity of research funds and the manner in which it is administered.
This research study in India has been funded along the way in order to create a blastful research. This kind of study is not only for the Indian alone, but as well to the community all over the world. This is one of the bases that the creation of this research is a proof that computer science research is growing. But on the other half, the creation of this article is basically one of the factors that Indian community is more likely coming to full.

These are the Technical Topics in which Computer Science Researches are now focused: 1. other fields of science,0
2. Engineering,
3. Commerce
4. Electronic Teaching
5. Information Retrieval, Databases, and Data Mining
6. Machine Learning
7. Networking, Distributed Systems, and Security
8. Robotics, Computer Vision, and Graphics
9. Software Systems and Architecture


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