March 24, 2023, India: Plaksha University, one of India's largest collective philanthropy efforts to build a tech university of global eminence recently organised, ConfAI, 2nd Annual Academic Conference on Artificial Intelligence, at the university’s Mohali campus between 22-24, March. The initiative aligns perfectly with the university’s purpose of reimagining tech education to solve complex, major problems of the world.
The invite-only 3 day conference aimed at showcasing the potential of AI and data science in finding effective solutions to various societal challenges. A disruptor and a leader in driving the next big change in the Indian tech education ecosystem, Plaksha University hosted eminent business leaders, academicians, scientists, thought leaders, and practitioners. The general co-chairs of the conference were Dr. Rajesh Gupta, Professor and Qualcomm Endowed Chair, UC San Diego, Dr. Uday Desai, Founding Director of IIT Hyderabad and Dr. Nandini Kannan, Director, Data Science Institute, Plaksha University. Discussions were on a broad range of applied and theoretical areas within computational intelligence and machine learning including the theory of AI, AI for social good and techno-philosophy among others.
Prof. Rudra Pratap, Founding Vice-Chancellor, Plaksha University said, “ConfAI has been an initiative of growing interest that has attracted a large number of contributed research papers presenting effective solutions to navigate and address complex global problems in the field of Healthcare, Agriculture, Language, among others. This year ConfAI was focused on AI & Data Science to level up awareness among our students on the implications of newer technologies and latest research. These kinds of academic conferences remain indispensable to promote knowledge sharing and networking opportunities for all stakeholders and we look forward to hosting more such conferences in the near future.”
The conference enabled students to get firsthand mentorship by experts in the field to chart out career possibilities involving AI in various contexts. Visiting delegates were, in turn, overawed by the eagerness from students and researchers from Plaksha University and the surrounding tricity region to collaboratively develop a Data Science Hub to address the concerns of the Punjab State. The technical sponsor is IEEE Chandigarh subsection.
Prof. Rajesh Gupta, Professor & Qualcomm Endowed Chair, UC San Diego and one of the General Co-chairs of ConfAI, said, “I would like to congratulate Plaksha for bringing together prominent AI experts, researchers, and scholars to share their insights on the latest developments in this field. I am grateful for having me as part of the General co-chairs for ConfAI. This was a thrilling experience to have heard so many industry experts. I look forward to the future conferences as well.”
Dr. Shalini Sarin, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Elektromobilitat India, said, “I am overwhelmed at being part of ConfAI this year. I am glad that I had the privilege to hear from renowned speakers and participate in the panel discussion on AI for energy. I would like to extend my gratitude and best wishes to Plaksha for organising a conference like this where knowledge sharing is at its peak.”
The conference boasted an exceptional lineup of speakers. Dr. Rajeev Rastogi, Vice President, Machine Learning, Amazon, delivered the keynote speech, Dr. Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India spoke about Demystifying Generative AI and Dr. Vivek Raghavan, Chief Architect of Aadhaar, expressed his views about ‘Indian Language AI as Digital Public Good’.
Dr. Vasudeva Varma from IIIT Hyderabad, who discussed generating encyclopedic content in Indian languages, its challenges and opportunities. Dr. Siddharth Barman from IISc talked about collective welfare as a metric in algorithmic decision making. Dr. Abhinav Dhall from IIT Ropar spoke about emotion-aware AI. The conference also included contributed paper presentations and an invited talk by Dr. Parag Singla from IIT Delhi on exploiting underlying problem structure for improved generalizability and interpretability in neural models.
Additionally, Plaksha University organised a thought-provoking panel discussion on "Diversity & Inclusion in AI," featuring renowned panelists Nishtha Dewani from IBM, Dr. Rohini Srivathsa from Microsoft, and Dr. Sudhir Voleti from ISB Institute of Data Science, moderated by Dr. Nandini Kannan, Director, Data Science Institute, Plaksha University and one of the Co-chairs of ConfAI.
A panel discussion on AI-ML for clean energy was held, with panelists including Prof. Rajesh Gupta from UC San Diego, Dr. Amarjeet Singh from Zenatix Solutions, Prasad Vaidya from Solar Decathlon India, Dr. Shalini Sarin from Elektromobilitat India, the panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Vishal Garg from Plaksha University.
About Plaksha University
Founded by a global community of more than 100+ technology and business leaders, Plaksha envisions to reimagine technology education and research for India and the world. With strong partnerships with UC Berkeley, Purdue, UC San Diego, IIT Kanpur, and IISc Bangalore, Plaksha aims to nurture and empower a generation of catalytic leaders and create an ecosystem of research and innovation. The university collapses the traditional boundaries of engineering and promotes interdisciplinary learning by combining technology, design and entrepreneurship.
Plaksha is guided by an eminent academic board including Dr. Vijay Kumar, Nemirovsky Family Dean of Penn Engineering, University of Pennsylvania; Venkatesh Narayanamurthi, former Dean of Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Sriram Rajamani, Managing Director, Microsoft Research India Julia Ross, Dean of Engineering, Virginia Tech; Krishna Palepu, Ross Graham Walker Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; Sanjay Sarma, Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Fort Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering, MIT; and business leaders such as Neeraj Aggarwal, Chairman – Asia Pacific, BCG; Hitesh Oberoi, Co-promoter & CEO, Info Edge (Naukri.com); Srikanth Velamakanni, Co-founder, Fractal Analytics; Manas Fuloria, Co- Founder, Nagarro; Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman, Bharti Enterprises; Navin Chaddha, Managing Director, Mayfield Fund; Sujeet Kumar, Co-founder, Udaan.com; Dalip Pathak, Special Limited Partner, Warburg Pincus LLC; CP Gurnani, MD & CEO, Tech Mahindra; Pramod Bhasin, Chairman, Clix Capital among others. Corporate donors include companies like Bharti Foundation, Havells, HT Parekh Foundation, Mphasis, Axis Bank and Motilal Oswal. The global community of business leaders who founded Plaksha can be seen here.