Kolkata, Apr 10 (PTI) The alumni of 1993 batch of IIT Kharagpur have joined hands with their alma mater to set up six Distinguished Chair Professorships in AI and Machine Learning in memory of their martyred batch mate.

Ajay Kumar Singh, an IPS officer, had laid down his life during an operation against insurgents near Ranchi in 2000.

IIT KGP Director Prof Partha Pratim Chakrabarti said on his Facebook page, “A Truly KGP-ian way to remember a martyred batch mate who had dedicated his life in Service of the Nation and performed the highest sacrifice. Let us use this to build a new initiative to touch the lives of the People of India. Thanks 1993 team.

IIT KGP is already in the process of setting up a Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and researchers in several departments in the institute are working on product development or applications related to AI.

The campaign for Chair Professorships in AI was led by Neeraj Mendiratta and created buzz among his batch mates across the globe with around hundred alumni having donated close to Rs 75 Lakh, an IIT KGP statement said.

Of the total amount, a sum of Rs 36 Lakh will be contributed towards the Ajay Kumar Singh Chair Professorships in AI and the remaining for endowment in the name of the batch.

The alumni are aiming to reach Rs 50 Lakh figure for the endowment which will give them a classroom at IIT KGP named after their batch.

Dean of Alumni Affairs, Prof. Subrata Chattopadhyay said, “I am overwhelmed with the initiative of IIT KGP alumni to give back to their alma mater. We just need to create avenues which the alumni would find worthwhile and beneficial for country and they would generously contribute towards it.” The Chair Professorships will be for two years duration for existing and new teachers including visiting and adjunct faculty in Artificial Intelligence starting from academic year 2018-19.

The support will be in the form of a top-up salary which will be Rs 25,000 every month.

“We, the batch mates of Ajay, fondly remember him as a braveheart . We wanted to commemorate his name in association with an initiative like excellence in teaching and research in the area of machine learning which can do wonders for India,” batch mate Paresh Krishnakant Joshi said.

He expressed hope that through this initiative, IIT KGP would be able to promote AI teaching and in a way that it could be simplified and mass marketed.

AI and Machine Learning has become the next big thing in the 21st century impacting healthcare, electronics and communication, space technology, transport, automobiles and even home appliances.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.