Editorial Team

IIT Madras Students are developing a virtual, futuristic rendering of IIT Madras campus and showcasing the Institute landmarks through 3D navigation for users to explore the platform. This novel initiative is part of the 22nd Edition of Shaastra, one of India’s biggest annual student-run technical festival.

This edition is being held completely virtually between 13th and 16th January 2022. Many of the events are free to access for the public. A total of around 50 events will be organized, featuring a total of 30,000 participants this year, a steep rise compared to a total of 20,000 participants last year.

A promo for the event can be downloaded from this link – https://fromsmash.com/IIT-M-Shaastra-2022-Promo-video

With the COVID-19 pandemic putting humanity on a completely different trajectory, Shaastra 2022’s theme – ‘Code to Chaos’ – aims to shine a light on the new reality shaped by rapid digitisation.

Towards this, Shaastra 2022 is set to take place in a virtual re-creation of IIT Madras at a futuristic Martian landscape. A ‘virtual Hyperloop’ has been used for ‘virtual travelling’ between various Shaastra venues and gives the users a futuristic experience. The setup on a Mars dome will be the platform for lectures, events, exhibition booths along with interactive games to add on to the experience.

Congratulating students on coming up with such innovative ideas despite the extraordinary challenges of last year, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, while addressing a virtual press conference today (11th Jan 2022), said, “I must give all credit to students for managing the change in scenario and moving to the virtual platform smoothly. Conducting Shaastra virtually would not have the same impact as it would have if the event was held on campus. But, the team is trying to achieve a good traction by imagining different ways in which they can reach out virtually to provide students from IIT Madras as well other institutions a good exposure on what is happening in the field of technology.”

Further, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi said, “The competitions, lectures, and other events sound attractive and it will be useful for students across the country. One positive aspect is that the footfall has increased as students from across the country are able to participate. It has opened up opportunities to many people who otherwise might not have been able to participate in Shaastra physically.”

Shaastra Summit includes a virtual conference every year on a new topic. This year the focus topic is Gaming and Gaming Technology. The goal of the conference is to facilitate networking of enthusiasts, students, and professionals in gaming industry to learn from each other. Held from 14th to 16th January 2022, the event features lectures and panel discussions with speakers from over five countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Nilesh Vasa, Dean (Students), IIT Madras, “This is the second time that the students are conducting a technical festival through a virtual platform. Like the previous year, the team has also created a rendering of the important sites of IIT Madras campus, including a ‘virtual Hyperloop’ as close to a real-life experience. The team has worked hard and enthusiastically to create various technological-related programmes for an overall immersive experience for all the participants online. This edition of Shaastra will encourage young minds to solve various industrial and societal-related problems in diverse disciplines.”

The other New Developments of this edition of Shaastra include:

Ø  Shaastra Grand Challenge, a unique competition revolving around the concept of circular economy paired with the sustainability techniques, to rethink and discover ways to tackle real-life problems.

Ø  An inquisitive line-up of workshops throwing light on the trending topics including Arduino, Internet of Things, Data Visualisation, Robotics. Artificial Intelligence and so on.

Ø  A star-studded line-up of eminent speakers including Nobel Laureates Dr. David Wineland, an American physicist and pioneer in quantum computing and Dr. Stefan Hell, one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen; Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & UN Messenger of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE; Ms. Carolina Marin, a Spanish professional badminton player and an Olympic Champion and many more.

Ø  The exquisite Shaastra Nights featuring India’s only female illusionist and magician, Ms. Suhani Shah and the comedy maestro, Mr. Biswa Kalyan Rath for the finest quality entertainment of our participants.

This edition of Shaastra includes competitions in diverse disciplines ranging from aeronautics, biotechnology, engineering design and business, to law, computation, electronics, and quizzes. The objective is to provide a platform for young minds to define and solve industrial-level problems.

Highlighting the unique aspects of Shaastra 2022, Dr. Ratna Kumar Annabattula, Co-curricular Advisor, IIT Madras, said, “Promoting the goal of ‘the Spirit of Engineering’, the students have come up with a diverse spectrum of Spotlight lectures that feature Nobel Laureates who are experts in the advanced fields of quantum computing, anthropology, biophysical chemistry and more to enlighten the future pillars of our nation. In association with the country’s largest student-run innovation lab, the CFI Open House displays student innovators’ projects and recent works to network and seek potential collaborators and mentors from industries that can help take the products to market. ”

Further, Mr. Nitish Gupta, Student Secretary (Co-curricular Affairs), IIT Madras, “We have introduced, with Shaastra 2022, the ‘Shaastra Grand Championship,’ a one-of-its-kind event that rewards the sharpest minds of India through the inquisitive challenges and competitions. The best college and students will be awarded the grand trophy along with exciting prizes! Each college will compete against one another in order to win this Championship.”

The key sponsors for Shaastra 2022 are Tata Projects Ltd, MTX Group, AMD, Wells Fargo, Ravikiran Infotech and  L&T Constructions. With their support, we are conducting various events such as the Tata Projects Sustainability challenge, Wells Fargo Quantitative AI Hackathon, KLA Shaastra Programming Contest, MTX HackOlympics to flaunt your skills in cloud computing, AI, ML, frontend, and backend development with tools like Cloud AWS, Raspberry Pi, React, Node and Kubectl BIOS.

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