IIT- Kanpur launches new department of cognitive science - Hindustan Times
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IIT- Kanpur launches new department of cognitive science

Hindustan Times, Lucknow | By
Dec 11, 2020 04:18 PM IST

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, (IIT-K) has announced the launch of a new department of cognitive science. The new department aims to devise futuristic technology by understanding mirroring and adapting the complexity of the human minds’ perception and processes.

The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, (IIT-K) has announced the launch of a new department of cognitive science. The new department aims to devise futuristic technology by understanding mirroring and adapting the complexity of the human minds’ perception and processes. With this new endeavour, IIT-Kanpur will be the first among the IITs to have a full-fledged department of cognitive science.

IIT-Kanpur
IIT-Kanpur

The launch comes in the wake of a visit of the cognitive science experts’ team last year as a part of the national advisory committee. The team had strongly recommended formation of a cognitive science department at IIT Kanpur given its strengths in teaching and research in the area over the last couple of decades. The proposal was approved at the recently-held meeting of the Board of Governors, an official said.

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“The pioneering step of establishing a separate department for cognitive science is expected to provide impetus to the research and teaching programs in cognitive science at IIT Kanpur,” said IIT-K director Prof Abhay Karandikar.

“The new department will help India become a pioneer in the field of cognitive science. The department will study the working of the human mind and mechanisms in the brain involved in mental processes and interface with departments like BSBE on neuroscience related areas,” he said.

“The new department will also work in collaboration with the computer sciences and engineering department to develop new artificially intelligent and machine-learning interfaces,” the director said.

Dr K Radhakrishnan, chairman, Board of Governors, said, “Given that India has a treasure trove of classical knowledge about mind and consciousness, it is surprising that we are lagging behind other countries in the study of human mind. The new department will give our students an opportunity to explore everything related to the architecture of the brain and functioning of the mind.”

IIT, Kanpur first ventured into cognitive science formally by establishing an inter-disciplinary program (IDP) in cognitive science on June 1, 2017.

Prof Bishakh Bhattacharya, the current head of the IDP in cognitive science, said, “We have been running PhD and MS programs in cognitive science with a number of students pursuing research and training. Our students have gained national and international recognition for their efforts.”

Applications of cognitive science include understanding and developing methods for effective learning, remediation for mental-disorders and development of better user interfaces to be utilised by software companies.

“Contributions from cognitive science are also valuable for the development of artificial intelligence, multimodal communication, cognitive-robots, etc,” Prof Bhattacharya said.

Highlight:

It will help understand Sars-CoV-2 virus, its impact

“The Covid pandemic has also seen inputs from cognitive science to understand the virus and its effects such as signals in speech and vocal system coordination that can indicate the presence of Covid-19, behavioural studies to help stop spread of Covid misinformation, its effect on the brain and its social impact,” said prof Bhattacharya.

“The department of cognitive science will prepare students for careers by bringing together the knowledge repositories in fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, business, data analysis, government intelligence, healthcare, human performance, information processing, law, marketing, product design, and software design,” he added.

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