IIT Gandhinagar

Roddam Narasimha Distinguished Seminar Series


Upcoming Seminars

To be announced

Past Seminars

  • 5th Roddam Narasimha Distinguished Seminar

    10th August, 2016
    Time: 04:00 PM

    Space Technology – Contribution to India’s Development
    Shri A. S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, Space Commission / Secretary, Department of Space / Chairman, ISRO


    Chairman Shri A S Kiran Kumar is steering the implementation of the applications-oriented Indian Space Program, which has facilitated rapid development of spacecraft in many important spheres of earth observation, communication, navigation, meteorology and space science, as well as the development of indigenous launch vehicles and related technologies for providing assured access to space. He has contributed to the design and development of more than fifty Electro-Optical Imaging Sensors flown on Space borne platforms starting from Bhaskara TV payload in 1979 to the payloads onboard the Mars Orbiter Mission in 2013. He played a crucial role in Chandrayaan-1 mission right from the conceptualization stage and has made exemplary contributions to the success of Mars Orbiter Mission and Reusable Launch Vehicle Technology Development (RLV-TD). Shri Kiran Kumar is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering, Indian Society of Remote Sensing, Institution of Electronics & Telecommunications Engineers, Indian Meteorological Society, Gujarat Science Academy and Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences and an elected member of International Academy of Astronautics. He has been conferred with more than 10 Honoris Causa from prestigious Universities including Kaziranga University and Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University. He has co-authored more than 81 technical papers in Journals / Symposia / Conferences. In recognition of his contributions, he was conferred Padma Shri award by the President of India in 2014.


    ISRO has achieved self-reliance in the area of space science and technology through indigenous research and development. Indian Space Program today is a large integrated program. Space based applications derived from communication and remote sensing satellites have become an integral part of the value chain of the user agencies and user communities. These applications encompass various core sectors of socioeconomic development such as natural resource survey and management, near real time disaster management support, weather forecasting, smart governance, telecommunications, television broadcasting, direct-to-home services, search and rescue operations, and societal applications such as tele-education and telemedicine. In the areas of satellite navigation, ISRO has implemented Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or ‘NavIC’ for providing location based services in and around Indian subcontinent. Under Satellite Navigation program, ISRO and Airports Authority of India have jointly implemented GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) for the aviation sector. In planetary exploration, India has demonstrated precision technologies in sending spacecrafts to Moon and Mars; India made a significant mark by launching ASTROSAT to study celestial objects. Convergence of technologies, including satellite communications, Earth Observation, Navigation and Geo-spatial technologies, coupled with strong plan of actions, has enabled ISRO in contributing to the progress of the country. With primary emphasis on applications of space technology on an end-to-end basis towards development, the Indian Space Program has distinguished itself as one of the most cost-effective and development oriented programs.

    Details of the lecture can be viewed here

  • 4th Roddam Narasimha Distinguished Seminar

    10th August, 2015
    Towards a Science of Security Games: Key Algorithmic Principles, Deployed Applications and Research Challenges
    Dr. Milind Tambe, Helen N. and Emmett H. Jones Professor in Engineering, University of Southern California (USC)


    Dr. Milind Tambe is a fellow of AAAI and ACM, as well as recipient of the ACM/SIGART Autonomous Agents Research Award, Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation Homeland security award, the INFORMS Wagner prize for excellence in Operations Research practice, the Rist Prize of the Military Operations Research Society, IBM Faculty Award, Okawa foundation faculty research award, RoboCup scientific challenge award, Orange County Engineering Council Outstanding Project Achievement Award, USC Associates award for creativity in research and USC Viterbi use-inspired research award. Prof. Tambe has contributed several foundational papers in areas such as multiagent teamwork, distributed constraint optimization (DCOP) and security games. The real-world deployments of the ''security games'' framework and algorithms pioneered by Prof. Tambe and his research group has led them to receive the US Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation from the Commandant, US Coast Guard First District's Operational Excellence Award, Certificate of Appreciation from the US Federal Air Marshals Service and special commendation given by the Los Angeles World Airports police from the city of Los Angeles. Prof Tambe has also co-founded ARMORWAY, a company focused on security resource optimization through game theory and machine learning, where he serves on the board of directors and as director of research


    Security is a critical concern around the world, whether it is the challenge of protecting ports, airports and other critical infrastructure, interdicting the illegal flow of drugs, weapons and money, protecting endangered wildlife, forests and fisheries, suppressing urban crime or security in cyberspace. Unfortunately, limited security resources prevent full security coverage at all times; instead, we must optimize the use of limited security resources. To that end, Prof. Tambe's research group founded the "security games" framework that has led to building of decision-aids for security agencies. Security games is a novel area of research that is based on computational and behavioral game theory, while also incorporating elements of AI planning under uncertainty and machine learning. Today security-games based decision aids for infrastructure security are deployed in the US and internationally; examples include deployments at ports and ferry traffic with the US coast guard (in ports such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles/Long Beach and others), for security of air traffic with the US Federal Air Marshals, and for security of university campuses, airports and metro trains with police agencies in the US and other countries. Moreover, recent work on "green security games" has led to testing the decision aids for protection of fisheries with the US Coast Guard and protection of wildlife at sites in multiple countries, and "opportunistic crime security games" have focused on suppressing urban crime. Prof. Tambe will discuss their use-inspired research in security games, that is leading to a new science of security games, including algorithms for scaling up security games as well as for handling significant adversarial uncertainty and learning models of human adversary behaviors.

    Details of the lecture can be viewed here

  • 3rd Roddam Narasimha Distinguished Seminar

    13th April, 2015
    Architecture, Process and Materials for Efficient Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Solar Cells
    Dr. Sang Il Seok, Professor, Leader of Global Research Laboratory, Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology


    Prof. Sang Il Seok leads the Global Research Laboratory at Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) as Research Fellow in the Division of Advanced Materials. He also holds a dual appointment as full professor at Department of Energy Science, Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU), Korea. Dr. Seok's major research focus has been on the integration of mesoporous architecture /semiconductor nanocrystals (including quantum dots)/polymeric hole conductors for high-performance inorganic-organic hybrid photovoltaics such as photodetectors and solar cells, using novel materials. He has won several awards for excellence in energy research.


    Solar energy harvesting through photovoltaic conversion has gained attention as the most sustainable and environmentally friendly solution for meeting the rapidly increasing global energy demand. Of the many materials and methodologies aimed at producing low-cost, efficient photovoltaic cells for utilizing solar energy, semiconductor nanocrystals and inorganic-organic hybrid perovskites offer promise of a breakthrough for next-generation solar devices. This is mainly due to the combination of superior optical properties with suitability for solution-based processing. Stimulated by ambitions for fabricating stable, high–efficiency, and cost-effective solar cells, Dr. Seok and his group have been studying inorganic-organic heterojunction solar cells by employing inorganic semiconductor nanoparticles or inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite materials as light absorber and organic hole conductors. In this presentation, Dr. Seok will talk about the use of Sb2S(e)3 and inorganic-organic hybrid perovskite materials for fabricating efficient solar cells. The surface sulfurization and combination of Sb2S3 and Sb2Se3 as sensitizers has shown conversion efficiency exceeding 8 % under 1 Sun irradiation with a metal mask. In the perovskite solar cells, process and chemical engineering has enabled the production of extremely uniform and dense perovskite layers, with remarkably improved performance of the cells with a certified power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 20.1% under air-mass 1.5 global (AM 1.5G) illumination of 100 mW cm–2 intensity. These results will lead to more efficient and cost-effective inorganic-organic hybrid heterojunction solar cells in the future.

    Details of the lecture can be viewed here

  • 2nd Roddam Narasimha Distinguished Seminar

    31stJanuary, 2014
    Bio-inspired Wind Energy: From Fish Schools and Seagrass to Better Wind Farms
    Dr. John O. Dabiri, Professor, Director of Center for Bioinspired Wind Energy, California Institute of Technology


    John O. Dabiri is a Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering at California Institute of Technology, USA and a 2010 MacArthur Fellow. His honors include an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for his research in bio-inspired propulsion. Popular Science magazine named him one of its "Brilliant 10" scientists in 2008. For his research in bioinspired wind energy, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine listed him among its Technology Innovators in 2012, and the MIT Technology Review magazine named him one of its 35 innovators under 35 in 2013. He is currently the Chair of the Faculty at Caltech.


    The goal of Dr. Dabiri's research is to use bio-inspired arrays of counter-rotating vertical-axis wind turbines to reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms. In his lecture, he addressed the recent efforts made in the area of bio-inspired wind power solutions. Full-scale field tests of 10-meter tall verticalaxis wind turbines have been conducted under natural wind conditions over the past four years. Whereas wind farms consisting of propeller-style, horizontal-axis wind turbines produce 2 to 3 watts of power per square meter of land area, these field tests indicate that power densities an order of magnitude greater can be achieved by arranging vertical-axis wind turbines in layouts inspired by the configurations of schooling fish and seagrass beds. The higher power density is leveraged to achieve meaningful power generation at lower altitudes than required by existing systems. Research findings suggest an alternative approach to wind farming and pose a broad array of interesting, unanswered scientific questions related to the modeling and control of canopy flows.

    Details of the lecture can be viewed here

  • 1st Roddam Narasimha Distinguished Seminar

    16th April, 2013
    The Biomass to Biofuels Pipeline: An Engineering Paradigm for National Security and a Sustainable Carbon Economy
    Dr. Maureen Mccann, Professor, Director of the Energy Center, Purdue University


    Maureen McCann is a Professor of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, and the Director of Purdue’s Energy Center, part of the Global Sustainability Institute in Discovery Park. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 1987 and then a PhD in Biological Sciences at the John Innes Center, Norwich, UK, a government funded research institute for plant and microbial sciences. She stayed at the John Innes center for post doctoral work, partly funded by Unilever, and then as a project leader with her own group from 1995, funded by the Royal Society. In January 2003, she moved to Purdue University. She has co-authored almost 100 publications on the molecular architecture of plant cell walls and their use as the source of lignocellulosic biomass. She is the Director of the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio), an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science.


    The goal of Dr. McCann’s research is to understand and modify the molecular machinery of the plant cell wall which is the source of lignocellulosic biomass, an untapped and sustainable resource for biofuels production.  Biofuels have the potential to reduce oil dependence, improve national security, and boost rural economies.  Dr. McCann is also the Director of the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio), an interdisciplinary team of biologists, chemists and chemical engineers in an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science.



    Dr. McCann’s lecture was based on her research on understanding and modifying the molecular machinery of plant cells, an untapped and sustainable resource for biofuel production.  She said that biofuels have the potential to reduce oil dependence, improve national security, and boost rural economies.


    According to Dr. McCann, biofuels aren’t simply an alternative to fossil fuels, but also offer opportunities for several additional bioproducts, which can make biofuels economically viable. Currently, under 1 percent of the global energy requirements are met by biofuels. She said that the work of her Energy Center at the Purdue Discovery Park would help in the expansion of biofuels in the energy mix to meet global energy demand as well as contribute to a greener environment.


    C3Bio aims to conduct, what it calls “high-risk, high-reward research for the future deployment of advanced liquid transportation fuels.” It is aiming to develop transformational technologies for the direct conversion of plant biomass to hydrocarbon-rich biofuels and other biobased products.


    In the Indian context, Dr. McCann said that the country should focus on its abundance of solar energy. She added, however, that there is a possibility that farmers could plant crops in arid areas, which could be converted into biofuel.