Chatbots to Drive Student Engagement in Higher Education

Whether you are ready for chatbots or not, they have been the future we live in now. Chatbots are not robots, but they are supposed to mimic humans. They are a piece of software that you chat with to get things done or be entertained. You have probably used Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Microsoft’s Cortana. But chatbots are more than just the built-in personal assistants. They are everywhere now; from ordering pizza to checking flight status

I have run an experiment to use chatbots in higher education in order to drive student engagement beyond the classroom experience. In this post, I am going to share my experience in developing a chatbot teaching assistant, called Koko. Continue reading

Natural Language Understanding : Let’s Play Dumb

What is the meaning of the word understanding? This was a question posed during  a particularly enlightening lecture given by Dr. Anupam Basu, a professor with the  Department of Computer Science Engineering at IIT Kharagpur, India.

Understanding something probably relates to being able to answer questions based on it, maybe form an image or a flow chart in your head. If you can make another human being comprehend the concept with the least amount of effort, well that means you do truly understand what you are talking about. But what about a computer? How does it understand? Continue reading

Notes from IIT Kharagpur ACM Summer School on ML and NLP

IIT KGP CAMPUS

Entrance to library and academic area.

[This entry has been edited for clarity. An example given discussing the similarity of words in French and English was incorrect. The following sentence has been removed: “The next question addressed by Bhattacharya was the ambiguity that may arise in languages with similar origins, for example in French ‘magazine’ actually means shop while in English, well it is a magazine.”]

Today is June 14th, so I am 14 days into summer school; 7 more days left, and we are all already feeling saddened by the idea of leaving Kharagpur soon. In India, an IIT is a dream for 90% of the 12th graders who join IIT coaching classes. The competition is high so not everyone gets in. I’m one of those who didn’t get in. So when I saw there was an ACM Summer School opportunity at the largest and oldest IIT in India, obviously I grabbed it. By sheer luck, I was selected to actually attend the school. Over the course of 21 days, we have been tasked to learn about machine learning and natural language processing. Continue reading

Top 3 Winning Articles of the “The Time is Write 2.0” Competition

Here are the three winners of our The Time is Write 2.0 competition! You can read the three articles below, but first: congrats to Dipika Rajesh, Aditi Balaji and Pratyush Singh.

The Time is Write is an article writing competition that encourages all the aspiring writers to lay out their thoughts in writin and to share them on a global platform. This year, participants had to write a short article on the topic “Your Dream Software: Revolutionize the future”, about what their idea of a perfect software might be in order to revolutionize a particular field.

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Tending To Infinity

What kind of thoughts does the word ‘infinity’ evoke in your mind? Do you visualize a never-ending expanse that stretches in all directions? Or maybe a straight line extending in both directions beyond visual perception. Some of us may even think of an astronomical figure and conceptualize infinity to lie much beyond this number itself. Yet, how does mathematics treat infinity? How do we logically/formally make sense of this idea and put it to great use to further enrich our understanding of this universe?

Let’s explore and demystify what this rather abstract construct really conveys to us through the language of mathematics. Continue reading