In what will help boost research in a new area, IIT Madras alumnus and co-founder of Infosys, Kris Gopalakrishnan, has set up three Chairs in computational brain research at IIT Madras with an endowment of Rs 10 crores each.
The first of these, the Prof. Mahabala Distinguished Chair in Computational Brain Research, was launched on Friday. The first occupant of the chair is Dr Partha Mitra, principal investigator at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York.
The Chairs will complement a brain research centre that will come up in Bengaluru, as well as Chairs created in IISc, Bangalore and post-doctoral fellows sponsored at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA.
The three areas of research expected to be pursued are closing the knowledge gap for brains (a "circuit diagram" for brains), closing the understanding gap for brains (understanding about how brains work), and closing the performance gap for brains (impacting society through diagnosing and helping treat neurological disorders, and through machine intelligence).
Goplakrishnan said, "I was introduced to computers while at IIT, and my life was changed by the stint here. I am grateful to my teachers, and creating this Chair in the name of Prof. Mahabala is my way of saying thanks to my teachers."
"This is just the kind of support we need to enable IIT Madras to enter new and exciting areas that are at the cutting edge of global research," said Dr Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras.
"The Chairs are being created to focus on computing aspects, architecture and the model of the brain - including the memory/processor relationship and neuromorphic computing. The Chair faculty at IITM will have access to the instruments, facilities and data at the Centre, but will also conduct independent computational studies, he said.