Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras’ (IIT-M) Annual Tech Festival 'Shaastra' is going to be conducted entirely online this year from February 25 to 28. It is the first time this tech-festival, which is one of the largest student-run events in the country, is going completely virtual.
One of the unique features of Shaastra 2021 will be the creation of a Virtual Rendering of the important sites of IIT Madras Campus. This will enable a viewer to virtually walk through a location in 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 eminent dignitaries are scheduled to address the ‘Spotlight Lecture’ Series, which brings in some of the most influential people in the world from diverse fields ranging from business magnates and successful entrepreneurs to Nobel Laureates.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization, Nobel Laureates Dr Muhammad Yunus, Founder of Grameen Bank, Dr Barry Barish, American experimental physicist, Dr K. Radhakrishnan, Former Chairman, Space Commission/Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman, ISRO, are among those scheduled to address the students this year.
Lauding the initiatives of the students in coming up with innovative events, Prof. Nilesh J. Vasa, Dean (Students), IIT Madras, said, “The novel edition of technical festival Shaastra will certainly be an important step forward towards realizing student participation from anywhere in India.”
Shaastra, which was among the first-of-its-kind festival to be awarded the ISO 9001:2015 certification, usually attracts more than 50,000 people every year from diverse backgrounds to join the celebration of technology through many events.
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.
Workshops are being held on various 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 ‘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, The Drone Applications Hackathon 2021, exclusive All-Women's Hackathon called ‘She Hacks’ in collaboration with Wells Fargo, an American multinational financial services company, and the MTX HackOlympics to flaunt the participants' skills in cloud computing.
Shaastra will host an open house, in which research laboratories, department infrastructure, and projects will be showcased to the public. Virtual interactions in the open house will highlight the research projects and expertise available at the departments where members of the public can also interact with the researchers.
Student Projects will be on display as part of Centre for Innovation (CFI) Open House, where student innovators will showcase their recent work and achievements; including presentations by Team Anveshak, Avishkaar Hyperloop, and Raftaar Formula Racing which have consistently improved their performance in international competitions in the last few years.
The flagship event of Shaastra is the ‘Shaastra Nights,’ which provides a platform for performers to display their artistic prowess while providing the audience with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a confluence of technology and culture. This year will see stand-up comedian Kenny Sebastian perform on 27th February 2021.