IIT- Kanpur launches new branch of cognitive science – education

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

The launch comes in the wake of a visit of the cognitive science experts’ team final year as part of the national advisory committee. The team had strongly really useful formation of a cognitive science branch at IIT Kanpur provided its strengths in teaching and research in the area over the past couple of decades. The proposal used to be approved at the recently-held assembly of the Board of Governors, an official said.

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

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

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

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

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 various 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 man made intelligence, multimodal communication, cognitive-robots, etc,” Prof Bhattacharya said.

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“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 mind and its social affect,” said prof Bhattacharya.

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

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