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The Romance of Aviation—A Guest Lecture by Dr. A. K. Ghosh

Dr. A. K. Ghosh, a professor at the Department of Aerospace at IIT Kanpur and a highly regarded scientist in his field was invited to give a guest lecture at MIT about his life experiences and the most recent advancements in aeronautics and aviation. He has multiple feathers in his cap, including mentoring a number of start-ups such as Aurora Integrated Systems in Bengaluru and Shastra Automation Laboratories in Kanpur among others.

Dr. Ghosh expressed how he never lies to the young and never tells the truth to the old. The young have the power to bring about change, so withholding information from them will impede progress, while the elderly will worry about change, so keeping the truth from them will prevent this worry. He used the phrase “Noblesse oblige,” which refers to the idea that being noble entails responsibility, and that if you are in a position of privilege, you must make sure that you lend a hand to those without it. 

Dr. A. K. Ghosh takes to the podium. [Image credit: Lakshya]

He claimed that the field of aeronautics is only for those who are romantic; loving what you do is one of the essential components of success in a profession that is characterised by constant disappointment and failure. When everything does come together eventually, the time and effort you put in will be entirely worthwhile.

As he began to discuss the significance of electrical and avionic systems replacing their fuel-based counterparts, he encouraged the institute to work with the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Electrical and Electronics Engineering to add an elective on battery technology. He urged the students to explore these fields and to advance and innovate in them, noting that one of the biggest challenges the Indian aeronautical industry is currently facing is a lack of domestic manufacturing of components, particularly the sensors and materials needed for aerial vehicles.

The audience listens with rapt attention. [Image credit: Kushala]

He then dove into an equally enlightening, lengthy Q&A session, during which he went into more detail about his personal experiences, his time at ARDE, Pune, his thoughts on supersonic travel, its difficulties, its potential, and the future of electric aviation. It was a brilliant talk by a brilliant academic, surely inspired a new era of aviation enthusiasts.

[Featured image credit: Lakshya]




Crypto Bust—A Look Back at the Collapse of FTX

Cryptocurrency is a type of digital currency secured by cryptography which makes it impossible to forge or spend a second time. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized in nature and are based on blockchain technology—an online ledger which contains a list of transactions. It is almost impossible to forge transaction histories since the transactions have to be independently verified by each member of the network. Cryptocurrencies eliminate the need for an intermediary, such as a bank between two or more parties. Due to the presence of an online ledger, they leave a trail that law enforcement authorities can decode.

FTX (Futures Exchange) was a Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange started by Sam Bankman-Fried in 2019 which enabled customers to trade digital currencies for other digital currencies or traditional money, and vice versa. It mostly supported commonly traded cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Tether, Ethereum, etc. Users would deposit fiat money (any government-issued currency) into their FTX account and then use the money to buy and sell cryptocurrency.

When rumours spread about FTX’s financial condition and Alameda Research, its sister company, users frantically withdrew their money. FTX, being an exchange that connected two or more parties, was incompetent to handle mass withdrawals, since such institutions have mechanisms in place to recover the money and FTX was unable to do so.

A notable early investor was Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao. By 2021, FTX was worth $30 billion, second only to Binance. Changpeng Zhao’s relationship with FTX soon turned sour and he sold his stake back in 2021. His familiarity with the inner workings of FTX played a crucial role in FTX’s debacle.

FTT is a token used by FTX. Like many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. FTT has value, can be used while trading and is used during transactions. For a while, FTT was a massive source of wealth for FTX. Investors were won over by the idea of FTX offering rewards in exchange for ownership of the token, which included trading discounts and VIP status on the site. To support the value of FTT, FTX regularly repurchases and burns its tokens. It does so by purchasing FTX tokens with 33 percent fees generated on the platform.

As of September 2021, FTT hit an all-time high of $85 in exchange and as of 22 Dec. 2022, 1 FTT is worth $0.84. This is one of the greatest ever destructions of wealth. The sudden crash was caused due to FTX’s insolvency and its inability to return users’ funds.

Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange registered in the Cayman Islands. It offers crypto-to-crypto trading in more than 600 cryptocurrencies and virtual tokens such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Binance’s very own Binance Coin (BNB). Binance was started by Changpeng Zhao 2017, a developer who previously created high-frequency trading software. He wanted to create a platform that was independent of fiat currencies. Binance emerged during the crypto boom of 2017 and soared in popularity by offering a plethora of facilities, such as digital assets and innovation, including its blockchain. By 2018, the number of users increased from 2 million to 10 million.

People Involved in the FTX Collapse

Sam Bankman-Fried

Sam Bankman-Fried (Source: Reuters)

Son of two Stanford Law School professors, an alumnus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in Physics, Bankman-Fried founded FTX’s sister firm, Alameda Research in 2017. He founded FTX in 2019 and was its CEO until he resigned in November 2022. FTX rode a bull for crypto with a $32 billion valuation before its collapse. He was the man behind FTX securing investments from firms like Sequoia Capital and SoftBank.

He has also had a prominent presence on Capitol Hill as the second largest donor to the US Democratic Party politicians in recent years, has testified before US Congress about crypto, and also put forth his suggested draft of a potential framework calling for the regulation of the crypto industry.

Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by Bahamian authorities who charged him with eight criminal offenses, including conspiracy and wire fraud against investors, and has been extradited to the United States. He concealed from investors the diversion of FTX customer funds to his crypto trading firm Alameda Research. When word spread that Alameda’s balance sheet was made of FTT’s, it sent the market into upheaval, and investors and users began withdrawing their money. Even after pausing withdrawals, they were unable to get Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao to throw them a lifeline. He later said that they had mishandled customer funds.

John Ray III, the current CEO of FTX, called it, “really old-fashioned embezzlement” while testifying in front of the House financial services committee. He told lawmakers that there is an excess of $7 billion in lost FTX funds from 7.6 million accounts, out of which 2.7 million were based in the US, while providing information on the company’s internal investigation. There was no corporate oversight. The owners, businesses, and senior management had virtual control of all accounts and could move money or assets if they desired, undetected by customers.

Caroline Ellison

Caroline Ellison. (Source: Twitter)

She was the CEO of Alameda Research as of its collapse. She joined Alameda in 2018, was a co-CEO with Sam Trambucco in October 2021, and became its sole CEO in August 2022. She is the daughter of two academics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

She is a maths whiz who loves Harry Potter and fringe political philosophy. She was a maths major at Stanford. After graduating, she became a trader at Jane Street, where she met Bankman-Fried. He convinced her to join Alameda Research and by the end of 2018, he moved Alameda’s headquarters from Berkeley to Hong Kong.

She, along with FTX co-founder Gary Wang was charged with a multiyear scheme to defraud investors in FTX. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, she was directed by Sam Bankman Fried to manipulate the financials of the crypto-trading firm.

Timeline

FTX decided to help BlockFi from going bankrupt in May of 2022. When a series of crypto collapses took place, it triggered a wave of bankruptcy among Celsius, BlockFi, and Voyager. FTX helping BlockFi cemented FTX as one of the strongest players in the crypto world.

November 2, 2022

The leaked balance sheet by CoinDesk from Alameda Research displayed a suspicious relationship between the trading firm and FTX. A large amount of the trading firm’s assets was held in FTX native token FTT. At the time FTT token was worth $25.50.

This triggered the beginning of the end for FTX.

Tweet from Binance announcing liquidation of FTT. (Source: Twitter)

November 6, 2022

Changpeng Zhao announced the following:

Due to this, the token’s price began to fluctuate instantaneously, dropping to 10% and dipping below $22.

FTX Token plummets after Binance withdrawal (Source: CoinDesk)

November 8, 2022

Changpeng Zhao revealed that Binance has entered into a non-binding agreement to purchase FTX.

The very next day, Federal agencies begin their investigation into FTX. The same day, a Binance spokesperson declared “As a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of FTX.com.”

November 10, 2022

The following was released and implemented:

Statement from the Securities Commission of The Bahamas announcing freezing of FTX’s assets. (Source: Twitter)

November 11, 2022

FTX, FTX.us, Alameda, and other subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy in the USA. Sam Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO, opening space for John J. Ray III, a lawyer who helped run disgraced energy company Enron post-bankruptcy.

November 12, 2022

It was reported that around $1 billion in FTX customer funds were unaccounted for. After Sam Bankman-Fried had moved $10 billion from FTX to Alameda Research, a large chunk of that sum ($1 to 2 billion) had vanished.

November 15, 2022

A class action lawsuit was filed against FTX in Florida.

November 16, 2022

It was announced that the hearings will take place in December.

On the very next day, the new CEO of FTX said, “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated, and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”

November 22, 2022

Specifics of the finances behind Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire begin to emerge as bankruptcy proceedings moved forward.

December 12, 2022

Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas. The arrest followed receipt of formal notification from the United States that it has filed charges against Sam Bankman-Fried and was likely to request his extradition.

December 13, 2022

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Sam Bankman-Fried with eight criminal charges, which includes defrauding investors, money laundering, and conspiracy.

Sam Bankman-Fried is arrested in The Bahamas (Source: Business Insider)

December 21, 2022

Sam Bankman-Fried was extradited to the United States.

December 23, 2022

Sam Bankman Fried released on $250 million bail as he awaits trial.

Fluctuations in Cryptocurrency and FTX Impact

For a while, cryptocurrency has been struggling to convince investors, regulators, and customers of its trustworthiness. The fall of FTX has helped accelerate the two-faced persona of cryptocurrency.

When the cryptocurrency market suffered losses worth $2 trillion in 2022, FTX came with monetary lifeboats to help several collapsing firms. A ripple effect of this loss: lenders such as Genesis and BlockFi have announced pauses in operations. The rapid fall of FTX made it clear that regulation is needed to protect investors and reduce crimes in the cryptocurrency market if any.

FTX’s collapse came in the wake of months of losses in the cryptocurrency market which was set off by a catastrophic crash that triggered a massive pullback from crypto assets. This crash pushed many cryptocurrency exchanges into bankruptcy. Bitcoin has been trading for less than $17,000, down from $75,000 a year ago.

Charley Cooper, managing director of blockchain company R3 and a crypto visionary said “The original idea behind cryptocurrency was to rewrite the rules of finance on a global basis but we are now in a more centralized industry than banking.”

Investors of FTX

At the time of the collapse, FTX had total funding of $1.8 billion, 6 acquisitions, 21 investments, and 3 diversity investments. In the year 2019, the total money raised was $8 million having the lead investor as Race Capital. In 2021, they raised a huge amount in two separate increments. The first one was $1 billion with Sequoia Capital. The second was $420.7 million with Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Sequoia Capital. In the year 2022, SoftBank Vision Fund and Temasek Holdings raised $400 million.

Law Enforcement Intervention

The US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had already been investigating the cryptocurrency exchange before its collapse, according to the Wall Street Journal. The investigation was focused on the exchange’s US branch.

Hacking of FTX

A few days after FTX declared bankruptcy, a hacker stole almost $400M worth of crypto from FTX. Sam Bankman-Fried is estimated to have lost more than $15 billion in less than a week. It is said that the authorities know the identity of this hacker, but are keeping it under wraps.

Future of FTX

The downfall of FTX has raised questions on whether cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges should be regulated to protect investors and users. FTX’s downfall could lead to a domino effect, where its borrowers could go down, taking the investors down as well. Companies and organizations liquidating their assets or declaring bankruptcy is also a possibility.

This situation could be an opportunity in disguise for Binance, the leading cryptocurrency exchange. However, users might be wary of switching between cryptocurrency exchanges due to the current situation. They might keep their existing crypto tokens in a cold wallet till the market stabilizes.

Talking about the future of FTX, Prashant Kumar, CEO of weTrade, said, “The fallout between Binance and FTX has larger ramifications for the entire crypto market. As we have been seeing, cryptocurrencies across the globe have seen losses. However, the incident has brought up the need for regulations in the sector. The step taken by Binance to launch an industry recovery fund to help projects during a liquidity crunch is a positive step in that direction.”

The collapse of a single cryptocurrency exchange has thrown the emerging industry into a crisis that will set it years back. This was once a medium where two parties could safely trade digital currencies and FTX’s fall from power and grace has left investors, executives, enthusiasts, and users questioning the future of the industry.

[Featured Image Credits: Getty Images]




Sitting down with The Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri

Dr G. Satheesh Reddy is the Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri. A proponent of indigenization, he guides the development of significant programmes on missiles and strategic systems, fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial defence systems, underwater systems, radar systems, strategic materials, and armaments among other futuristic technologies. The MIT Post had the fortune to interact with and interview Satheesh Sir about his expert experience and in-exhaustive knowledge in the scientific domain.

Under your tenure as the Chairman of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), various indigenous projects like the fourth-generation TEJAS and DRDO-Ghatak were integrated.
In comparison with our imports, where do these indigenous projects stand, sir?

Most of the latest technologies in the aeronautical sector have come a long way.  A lot of things have been developed in the country.  Academia and accreditations have come up with many innovative solutions and systems. Lots of infrastructure has come into the country like wind tunnel testing, and so on. The government has planned an order for 83 TEJAS jets which has given a major boost to the indigenous aeronautics industry today. The industry plays a major role in the supply chain of the various parts and subsystems. In the coming aircrafts, the indigenous content will be very high and now, the country is poised to make state-of-the-art five-plus generation aircrafts. The country is already working on the design and is in the R&D phase of the design.

Project Shakti 2019 or the Anti-SAT programme was also undertaken with your wise guidance. While planning for the entire project, how did you monitor the entire programme so that the debris would not fall on the Earth or not collide with the satellites orbiting around the lower orbit?

Lots of studies, simulations, and analyses have gone into the study. The site chosen was the lower side of the lower orbit. We have also seen the impact angle at which the impact of the physical collision occurs. We have seen the angles at which the distortion improves and doesn’t go higher in altitude. Whatever debris is generated dies down quickly. There is barely any debris in space this way. Many countries have done this safely and so have we.

The Russia-Ukrainian war is a significant stressor for the Government since our nation’s Defence sector was virtually on tip-toes and both of our partners, that is, the Western Front and the Russian Front are at war with each other. During such times, does it seem like a stressor for you as a strategic advisor?

I’m a scientific adviser, with more emphasis on technology and this is more inclined towards international affairs and related parameters.

As a scientific advisor, does your expertise extend to the definition of the Defence Budget appointed to the Defence sector in a fiscal year?

As a scientific adviser, you are finalizing the technology, the research, and the designs that have to be completed, the weapons, the systems, and the tools being developed also come under your purview. So you also make a road map on that on the technologies and the areas in which the systems will be set. Naturally, inter-institutional departments work very well to take care of the allocation work that needs to happen.

There are brilliant establishments like iDEX that empower the youth to invest and come up with projects in the Defence sector. However, post inception, we have heard that it takes nearly thirty years, on average, to implement the idea as in the case of Tejas. Is there a system that helps in cutting off the thirty-year phase that goes into finalising and applying it?

It does not take thirty years to finalise an idea. In thirty years, the idea does not remain valid at all. It takes a maximum of one to two years to finalise an idea, depending on the complexity of the system. If the armed forces need it urgently, the delay is even lesser. Once the prototype is seen by the Department of Production, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Armed Forces, it is taken to the next level. From there, the product is brought to life and thereupon only minor arrangements are necessary.

You are one of the only people in the last hundred years to be nominated as a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society of London and its American equivalent. How does that make you feel about the entire aeronautical domain and how can it be expanded further in India?

This shows that the ecosystem method in the aerospace department of the country is defined by what is required by the public in the country. If a country is coming up with a lot of technologies, systems, and research and is recognized in the name of a person, we need to note that the achievements are not in the name of a person but for the whole country. So, India has been taking the leading role in the aeronautics sector.




Sitting Down with Dr Srijib Mukherjee

One of our distinguished alums, Dr Srijib Mukherjee is an academic with a distinguished background in engineering and research. He graduated in 1989 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After completing his MSc and PhD, Dr Mukherjee spends his professional years in the USA. He is currently a Senior Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The MIT Post had the opportunity to have a chat with him about his experiences here in Manipal and abroad.

You have had a varied education. Could you walk us through the different courses you have taken over the years?

In my opinion, the four classes of critical importance to anybody, whichever field they choose in a core curriculum, are—Mathematics, the three sciences, and a language which need not be only English. It can be anything from Kannada to Bengali or Spanish along with the social sciences. My young nephew loves learning about history, how modern engineering connects with it, how the world looks at the geographical system and GSI, and how they influence the climate. So, I will say these four are probably the foundation or the “core curriculum” of how one can succeed.

Q: You did your B.Sc in Physics before your BE degree. What was that thought process? Did you extensively plan that, or was it a go-with-the-flow kind of move?

I did not. When I finished high school, I had never considered pursuing engineering. I only sat for the NDA exam, and I cleared it. I did not pass the IIT exam, which upset my father, and my mom turned down the offer from the navy. Having missed my opportunity in engineering, I had to do something for the next six months, and this was the alternative—get mature and get my feet wet. After high school, most people need time to understand what they want to do. Something like a community college for one or two years might help one to understand if engineering is their thing. Something that invokes the feeling, “I love doing this. I love fixing that”. At that time, I remember having two options—one in VIT, Vellore for civil engineering and the other was Manipal. My father said, “We cannot make a civil engineer out of you, so we better make an electrical engineer out of you.” That is how I ended up here. I graduated with distinction and was third in my class. 

The experience of being in a B.Sc program and doing an engineering course provided you with maturity and a unique point of view that many might not have. How have you used that to your advantage? 

Life is all about having broad knowledge. If you pursue a PhD in your interests, you might end up with a narrow but specific field of expertise. Unfortunately, this could reduce your employability. You just need to be constantly willing to learn. The biggest thing I learnt in engineering college is that the fundamentals will always be applicable. My son always asks me, “Papa, how can you solve math problems mentally and so quickly?” In India, we did not have calculators; even logarithm and trigonometry had big charts. It is like a layup in basketball. How do you get better at it? You take a million shots— just muscle memory. When you do it a lot, you get the ability to do it. So, we Indians are very good with this muscle memory since we focus on learning these applications mentally and eventually learn to apply them with ease. 

You are an innovator who is active in various fields. This area of work does not promise results, and uncertainty is a given. So what makes you do it every day? 

At this stage of my life and career, I am about six odd years from retirement. But I want to continue after that. I want to do meaningful work. My generation was all about loyalty, growing yourself, showing respect, and growing wealth. But it also requires you to consider your values and the legacy you leave behind. Educators and faculty members here have their students. When Prof. Thomas talks about me, I am his legacy. So when he looks back on his career and life, looking at how his students have excelled is a big deal. As an engineer, what drives me is how I invented and made the world better. I tell all the young people I mentor, “If you get out of bed three days in a row feeling I dislike my work, I dislike the organisation I work for, the people I am surrounded with, then it is time to think about doing something else with your life.” Taking that challenge and objective in a broader sense of knowledge. That is what it is about.

No job is a pleasant one. Each job comes with its positives and negatives. Off the top of your head, what is the best and the worst thing about your job?

I will start with the worst thing about my job. For me, it is the bureaucracy and anything to do with administration. We are part of a large governing system that requires rules, regulations, and paperwork. For example, the worst part of a teacher’s job is to deal with the parents. You love your students but do not want to deal with the parents’ whining. The best part about my job is working with my colleagues, faculty members, and my students and helping them succeed and improve their lives. Somebody helped me, and if I can do the same for others, it makes me feel better. Mentorship is the best part of my job. A great leader is a great mentor. Managing people is easy, ‘Idhar chalo,udhar chalo’. But I think I have made the world better by making that person better, correct?

How long has it been since you have been to Manipal again since graduation? How does it feel to see everything around you change?

I graduated in the ’90s. So it has been about thirty-three years. I came back for my 25th reunion. That was the year I lost my mom. Prof. Kinny was kind enough to make me a distinguished alumnus with other great alums like Suri and Nadella. I feel honoured and humbled to be at this level in such an esteemed institute. My father loved Manipal, and so did I. I wish to help my children and nephews open their eyes to what life here is like. They have no idea. Wanting to help them drives me. It is not about helping the institution I went to in America. I want to help the institute that gave me my foundation here in India. I would not have been an engineer if it were not for India, not America.

The infrastructure growth and the people here just blow my mind. My brother told me how humble and wonderful the faculty members were to come to our room and shake our hands. Someone of Prof.Thomas and Prof.Kinny’s stature takes the time to come out and even show us around and meet the students. It means the world to me. It blew my mind that we were picked up from the airport in a completely electric car. My American friends were all amazed. I said, “Yes, look how advanced Manipal is, and India is no longer a sleepy little place. It is now a growing giant.” It is a known fact that some of the most brilliant engineers in the world are from India. 

As someone currently pursuing an engineering degree in 2022 and wants to move forward in academia, much like you, what advice would you give me?

The line in academia between research and teaching is quite blurry. I would have never done a PhD if I was not threatened that I would lose my visa and they would cut my scholarship. However, the interest in doing advanced research came much later. At the time, I was more inclined towards teaching and helping people. Unfortunately, they did not support the teaching faculty as much as the research faculty. But the difference between teaching and research faculty is closing now. Research faculty do not want to be teachers, but the teaching faculty want to be a part of the research.

Knowing what you want to do needs a deeper form of maturity and thinking. “EV” could be a buzzword. But it does not mean that just because society or your peers are doing it, you have to follow too. I was talking to my nephew, who is currently in 7th grade. He loves the humanities. In my generation in India, my father used to tell me you have to be an engineer or you have to be a doctor. That is not necessary anymore. You can choose what you love. Science is interdisciplinary. Humanities is interdisciplinary. In America, doctors have a humanities degree, and an English degree holder switches to engineering. You can switch to what you love anytime. Enjoy learning; what I am saying is do not go with peer pressure, go with what you love, go with what you are. If you love cooking, go into that, if you like music production, go into that, be a sound engineer even though the demand might not be much. Go into that, go into what you love. Follow your passion.




TechTatva ’22—Investigar

Battle of Tycoons

Aprajita Singh | Staff Writer 

The premise for Battle of Tycoons was an intriguing one.  Amidst a crisis, people needed to be evacuated via airlifts. Teams of 2-3 participants had to bid for aircraft parts in an attempt to design aircrafts that would perform the operation. The first round was centered around designing a civilian aircraft, and the second round was for a defence craft.

An added challenge was that the aircraft parts being bought had to be compatible with each other. For instance, the engine of a Boeing 737 could not work with the propeller of a seaplane. Therefore, bids had to be calculated and made cleverly. It was an incredibly fun event, with many lively bids echoing across the room at all times. The one hitch in the event was that at times the offer prices for parts got out of hand, and it had the teams bidding into the millions for a minor, cheap cog.

The performance of the team was judged on cost efficiency, fuel efficiency, stability and ease of maneuvering the aircraft design. The first place was secured by Dyutit, the second place by Pratham, Imaad, and Priyan, and the third place by Suhas, Hritesh, and Surya. “Although the event did not have a lot of participation, it was a good event with a smooth run,” Ujjwal, a CC quoted. In all, Investigar was a wildly engaging event that was fun from the get-go.

Participants busy analysing their options.

Paper Presentation

Ajitha | Staff Writer 

Good presentations make the presenter look smart, but great presentations make the audience feel smart. Paper Presentation was an event that illustrated this beautifully. Held in the MV Seminar Hall, it provided a  platform for budding researchers to hone the art of presenting technical papers. Enthusiastic students across departments such as Mechanical, Chemical and Computer Science presented papers that were both educational and interesting. Some of the research papers had been authored by the presenters themselves, and served as an impressive example of the research ecosystem harboured by the students here.

The first round covered presentations related to the Mechanical and Aeronautical domains. Some of the topics included discussions on the use of methane and kerosene as rocket propellent, and liquid hydrogen as an alternative fuel source. The consecutive rounds had papers in the fields of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Computer Science.

Post every presentation, participants were questioned by the judges to analyse the depth of knowledge each presenter had about the paper they chose to present.  “As engineers we should focus on our soft skills by learning more about how people perceive us. Even kids who are really good at coming up with new, modern machine designs find it challenging to communicate their ideas to a large group, and initiatives such as organising paper work events will help them overcome their difficulties”, said Thara Ma’am, a judge at the event.

Every presentation was unique and brought a lot to the table. The best presentations were ranked from one to three for every department. Koena Manji, Nilabha Das, Kanak, Shaksham Mamthani and Yashwanth secured the first place. Karthik Prabhu, Anway Das, Suchetna, Erina, and Anushka were the first runner ups. Shashwanth, Saurabh, Mihir, and Sanskruti were the second runner ups. Every participant put up a great show, and at the end of the day, the audience gained a vast amount of knowledge spanning multiple domains.

The problem is presented to the audience.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, TechTatva’22




TechTatva’22—Chrysalis

Murder Mystery

Shreeya Thamanam | Staff Writer

Enthusiastic true crime geeks gathered for day 1 of the murder mystery competition. Round 1 of the event consisted of a quiz with questions related to biology, bioinformatics, and so on. Top participants were short-listed for round 2. It consisted of a 120-minute treasure hunt, with clues of places on campus hidden along with the primary murder plot. All the clues connected to the exciting grand finale, the third round of the event, which is to be held on 14th October.

Participants of Murder Mystery pore over clues.

In the very final round of the encompassing task of finding a killer, shortlisted participants were presented with a crime scene entwined with clues from the previous round as well. After 2 hours of reading through paper files and racking their brains, the winners were chosen based on whoever guessed the murderer’s name correctly. All in all, it was like being in an Agatha Christie novel and undoubtedly a fun experience.

Biodemic

Sneha Bhowmik | Staff Writer

A 3-hour event, with a cash prize of 2k to the winner, began at 3 pm on 13th October. The 1st round was where the 7 participating teams were given one virus (Marburg virus disease and Leptospirosis) and were told to research either a way to contain the disease and save lives or mutate and make it deadlier. 40 minutes were given to the teams to make a short ppt of 5 to 6 slides and to present it to judge Bharat Rajguru, a professor from the department of biotechnology.

Of the initial 7 teams, 4 teams made it to round 2, where they were given the topic of the Bubonic plague, a.k.a. The Black Death. Each team was given the same problem of making a presentation on the causes of the plague, how it affected the people, the similarities between it and the covid-19 pandemic, and pointing out the mistakes that were made then and if they’re still being made now.

Biodemic participants working on their presentation.

Questions were asked by the other participants and the judges to the presenting team, giving them direction that allowed them to come up with more creative and interesting answers. Participants described it as a stimulating event that moved them towards the right path to inculcate research skills into themselves.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, TechTatva’22




TechTavta’22-Aeroverse

Flight Simulator (MSFS)

Shivani Seshadri Iyer | Staff Writer

The event Flight Simulator in TechTatva 2022 saw all aviation enthusiasts get together to zoom through the darkest skies and fly into the unknown. Whether the fuel was down or the plane was nosediving, participants knew that the pilots were the aircraft’s souls and the engine was its heart. 

Before the event started, the enthusiasts were taught the workings of the joystick used to control the simulated aircraft and the software used to simulate the flight itself, which was Microsoft Flight Simulator. Ethan Winston D’sa, a second-year aviation enthusiast from the Mechatronics branch, commented “I participated in the event because it was of great interest to me. I wanted to know how things work high up in the sky. I hope that in the future, we can fly faster and higher and be more eco-friendly.”

Enthusiasts were given two attempts each to simulate their flight. The functioning of various components and aspects of an aircraft, such as engine function, transmission, levelling of flaps, airspeed, altitude, fuel, compass, and visibility, was shown in an attempt to recreate a flight in real life. The system was programmed to advise the pilots to maintain 70% throttle during the initial climb or to maintain 250 knots or less when flying less than 10,000 feet. 

This event was a must-visit for all budding aviation enthusiasts as they were able to use their skills to do something they were passionate about. Once enthusiasts came in, they were on the edge of their seats for a gripping adventure.

A participant maneuvers the craft.

ICARUS

Deepali Vengala | Staff Writer

Aeroverse’s ICARUS was a glider-making competition held on day three at the Boxing Arena. Although TechTatva was coming to an end, none of the participants showed any signs of slowing down. 

The ten teams that participated were enthusiastic and well-versed in aerodynamic concepts and the craft of model-making. Each team was given a sheet of Balsa wood and a few tools to achieve one primary objective; to design a glider with a 40 cm wing span. “It was a lot of work, and thrilling, but overall, we had a lot of fun!” was what a participant had to say.  

There were several parameters that were considered for the glider design. The uniqueness of its shape, the ability to fly closest to the target location, and for sustaining flight for the longest time. The judges scored each glider on these criteria and more to determine the winning team.

A team ready to test their glider.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, TechTatva’22




TechTatva’22—Mechatron

Chakravyuh 3.0

Shivani Seshadri Iyer | Staff Writer

The infamous labyrinth of the longest epic in the world was recreated by the organisers of Chakravyuh 3.0 in TechTatva’22. 

The labyrinth’s first round consisted of a numerical, basic GK, problem-solving, and aptitude-based test. Each paper had 15 questions and participants were given 45 minutes to solve them. Since this was a team effort, a lot of discussion and deliberation took place before the answer was ticked upon.

A team at the event.

The second round saw 8 out of 13 teams that had initially participated take part in another battle of the brains to prove themselves as the megalomaniacs. This round consisted of five sub-rounds. In each sub-round, one question was presented to the teams consisting of two sub-parts; one was easy, and the other was hard. Each round lasted for 20 minutes; typically, the team would have to finish a sub-round to go to the next one. After finishing the five sub-rounds, they were let into the centre of a maze. There were three hidden questions in the maze for which they had to find the question and the answer without being given any hints and then get out of the maze. 

Abhimanyu couldn’t get out of the Chakravyuh without perishing due to the finagling of the Kauravas. However, some teams managed to successfully manoeuvre their way out of the Chakravyuh using their wit.

Kickoff

Prakhar Dwiwedi | Staff Writer

This event was a dream come true for the fans of Zinedine Zidane. Participants had to use their wireless controllers to guide their robots and dribble past their opponents in thefight for that footy glory.

Constant nutmegs through chassis and no red cards for flipping over your opponent unprovoked; this one wasn’t for the fans of the “spirit of the game”. The event had 5-minute halves of “Zidanesque” football which felt like a  paradise for old ball heads. Forcing each other to hit their own goals was certainly some new “kati kata” type of play which intrigued everyone around the block.

Participants look on excitedly.

The participants had a lot of fun during the event. One of the participants said, “My experience at the event was very good. Interacting with the robot through the interface and how it moved with a tap really satisfied my zeal for machines. Despite some glitches in it, the match was very competitive, and I won the match by 5-0, which really made me happy”. The knockouts of this “metal classico” displayed some exciting moments of competitors gunning for glory and colliding Real Steel.

After 3 rounds of kicking off opponents, Sahil Arya bagged the first prize, while Ark Mahajan and Gaurav received the runners-up and third positions, respectively. The organizing committee said, “We had a lot of fun conducting an event with such an interesting concept”. Overall it was an exciting amalgamation of classical sports and technology, which made up for a thrilling experience.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, TechTatva’22




TechTatva’22-Questionable Intelligence

Techathlon

Shivani Seshadri Iyer | Staff Writer

This event in TechTatva 2022 was a concoction of the worlds of word puzzles, engineering, and popular culture. Anyone with a flair for all three would have been elated to take part in this event.  Anshita Palorkar, a Core Committee member of this event, commented on behalf of the organisers of this event that they would love to see the intersection of people’s literary and critical thinking skills, and as a literary-themed category in a technical fest, they expected a lot of unique answers. They wished to provide a sense of freedom of creativity and expression to the participants since creativity is something that takes a backseat in the engineering world. 

The event’s first round consisted of a test on word puzzles, word games, math, logic, and critical thinking. 17 teams took part in the first round, of which 5 qualified for the second round.

A team working together to crack a puzzle.

The second round was inspired by old games from childhood, the phenomenon of escape rooms, and science fiction. It comprised 3 sub-rounds: Balderdash, Name Place Animal Thing and Pandora’s Box. In Balderdash, a science fiction trope was given, and teams had to come up with an example in 60 seconds. In Name Place Animal Thing, 40 random words were called out, and participants had to classify them into four groups. In Pandora’s Box, an acrostic crossword and a math problem were given to the participants. Answers from both of them gave a clue to a rebus. With many answers relating to Taylor Swift, it was the perfect event for any Swiftie wishing to test their acumen.

Tech Debate

Krish Manchanda | Staff Writer

The Tech Debate was a multi-round debate under the Questionable Intelligence category.  The judges presiding over the debate were MV Srujan, Sushant Shekhar, and Chinmayi Sahai. They believe that in a debate, the information you deliver is more important than the way you deliver it. In essence, one should prioritise content and thoughts over speech.

A participant presenting their views on artificial intelligence and criminality. 

In the first round, the topic was the metaverse and Facebook. The debaters presented their thoughts based on specific data leaks by Facebook and how it can be unreliable to control the metaverse wholly. The topic for the final round was centred around the ethicality of people using AI robots to perform actions otherwise deemed illegal. Mallika Shinkre, with her non-questionable and crystal-clear acumen, won the final round.

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, TechTatva’22




TechTatva’22—AI Airsoft

AI Airsoft

Sanskriti Srivastava | Staff Writer

AI Airsoft took place on the first two days of TechTatva’22. The motive of this event was to develop an efficient CV Model in order to implement it in real life. This average AI event shaped into a target practice. This event saw a team of six organisers and was held in three different stages.

The first stage was colour detection. The event chose the colour red as a target. This stage consisted of several different colours, out of which the contestants had to aim for the red ones. The second stage was balloon detection. Contestants were asked to aim for the available balloons. The final stage was human detection. Arguably, the most difficult stage. The contestants were asked to aim for certain individuals present in the room.

This event was safely conducted by a group of six core committee members along with three organising committee members. They spent their time trying to make sure that everything worked out well and harmlessly, thereby making the event a great success!

Image Credits: Photography and Videography, TechTatva’22