Thursday, February 23, 2012

Launch of the Virtual Labs

A collection of ninety-one virtual laboratories
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal launching the Virtual Labs under National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), in New Delhi on February 23, 2012. (PIB photo23-February-2012
The  Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India today launched Virtual Labs—a collection of ninety-one virtual laboratories containing hundreds of experiments in nine disciplines of science and engineering. As part of Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD)’s National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), Virtual Labs is part of a comprehensive undertaking to provide easily accessible and high quality education throughout India.

Virtual Labs’ primary focus is to provide graduate and undergraduate college and university students with the ability to perform their required laboratory experiments using only the World Wide Web, a standard computer, and an Internet connection. Virtual Labs allow students to practice and better learn the science and engineering behind the experiments that they are required to perform. Virtual Labs also allows the sharing of costly equipment across the country, and in very rural areas, students will be able to perform experiments that they would not otherwise be able to access.

Nearly 300 department heads, faculty, and staff representing 152 institutions have been trained across India. Over 20 Nodal Centres have been created, institutions who have expressed their interest to champion Virtual Labs in their organisations and geographical areas.

The Pilot Phase of the Virtual Labs project started in April 2009.  During this phase, approximately twenty labs were developed as proof of concept.  The Main Phase began in April 2010.  So far, over 80 Virtual Labs have been developed, and are undergoing field trials in various parts of the country.

Two types of virtual labs have been developed under this project. In the Simulation Based Virtual Labs the experiments are modeled using mathematical equations.  The simulations are carried out remotely at a high-end server, and the results are communicated to the student over the internet.  Simulation based Virtual Labs are scalable and can cater to a large number of simultaneous users.

Using the Remote Triggered Virtual Labs the actual experiments are triggered remotely.  The output of the experiment (being conducted remotely) is communicated back to the student over the internet.  This class of Virtual Labs gives the student the output of real-time experiments.  Typically, time-slots are booked before conducting such experiments.

All Virtual Labs can be accessed through a common website: . At the user end, a PC and broadband connectivity enables the user to access Virtual Labs.

These Virtual Labs will be very useful for Engineering College Students who do not have access to good lab-facilities, High-school students, whose inquisitiveness will be triggered, possibly motivating them to take up higher-studies, Researchers in different institutes who can collaborate / share equipment and engineering colleges, who can benefit from the content and related teaching resources.
Currently 85 Virtual Labs have been developed comprising of 769 experiments. Trainings and workshops have been held all over India to disseminate knowledge of these Virtual Labs. Future efforts will involve development of virtual labs in different subjects and wide dissemination of this knowledge.

A Collaborative Platform for Development of Virtual Labs has been created that assists the faculty with authoring and maintaining Virtual Labs. The platform hosts over 825 experiments developed by many of the partner institutions. The Collaborative Platform provides the server side architecture for ensuring that virtual labs run securely, can effectively serve thousands of students simultaneously, and reserve time slots for experiments that require scheduling. The Collaborative Platform also provides tools to help teachers monitor their students’ progress and make changes to the instructional material.

Student interest in Virtual Labs has also been enthusiastic. The Virtual Labs site ( has had 233,570 site visits and 1,034,443 page visits in just the last 6 months. There are over 4500 registered users from 134 countries and handles around 100GB of traffic per month with visitors from India, United States, Malaysia, Philippines, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Pakistan and so on.

With the launch of Virtual Labs Indian students will have easy access to an encyclopedia of science and engineering knowledge presented in a way that is engaging, immersive, and enjoyable. Virtual Labs will allow students to explore, discover, and learn wherever they are and at their convenience.

List of Virtual Labs that are ready
A.        Electronics & Communications      
·         Virtual Advanced Lab for Interactive Design and Test in Electronics
·         Virtual Microwave Laboratory
·         Wireless Lab
·         Engineering Electro-magnetics Laboratory
·         Queuing Networks Modelling Lab
·         Hybrid electronics Lab
·         RF microwave characterization Lab
·         Transducer and instrumentation virtual lab
·         Electronic design using DSP,FPGA,CPLD and Micro controllers through simulation and direct access of the hardware
·         Digital Electronic Circuits Laboratory
·         Digital Signal Processing Laboratory
·         Fading Channels and Mobile Communications
·         Basic Electronics
·         Systems, communication and control laboratory
·         Speech Signal Processing Laboratory
·         Digital VLSI Design Virtual lab
·         Signals and Systems Laboratory
·         Electromagnetic Theory
·         Virtual Electric Circuits
B.        Computer Science & Engineering      
·         Problem Solving
·         FPGA & Embedded systems lab
·         Computer Architecture & organization
·         Advanced Network Technologies
·         Software Engineering
·         Data Structures
·         Computer Programming
·         Data Mining
·         Databases
·         Computer Organization
·         VLSI
·         Digital Logic Design
·         Speech Signal Processing
·         Mobile Robotics
·         Computer Graphics
·         Image Processing
·         Pattern Recognition
·         Artificial Neural Networks
·         Virtual Advanced VLSI Lab
·         Cryptography Lab

C.        Electrical Engineering      

·         Sensors Modeling & Simulation
·         Industrial Automation Laboratory
·         PLC
·         Analog Signals, Network and Measurement Laboratory
·         Real Time Embedded Systems Laboratory
·         Electrical Machines Laboratory
·         Creative Design, Prototyping & Experiential Simulation Lab
·         Ergonomics Lab for Assessing Physical Aspects of Design
·         Virtual English and Communication
·         Virtual Anthropology Lab

D.        Mechanical Engineering
·         Metal Forming Lab
·         Vibration and Acoustics
·         Micromachining laboratory
·         Kinematics & Dynamics of Mechanisms
·         Mine Automation and Virtual Reality

E.         Chemical Engineering     
·         Process control, reaction engineering and unit operations lab
·         Chemical Engineering
·         Simulation of Control of Magnetic Levitation System
·         Virtual Lab for Mass Transfer

F.         Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering   
·         Bioreactor Modeling & Simulation lab
·         Biomedical and Signal processing Laboratory
·         Virtual Proteomics Laboratory
·         Neurophysiology (pilot)
·         Neuron Simulation Lab (pilot)
·         Biochemistry Virtual Lab I
·         Biochemistry Virtual Lab II
·         Population Ecology I
·         Population Ecology II
·         Immunology Virtual Lab I
·         Immunology Virtual Lab II
·         Microbiology Virtual Lab I
·         Microbiology Virtual Lab II
·         Molecular biology Virtual Lab I
·         Molecular biology Virtual Lab II
·         Cell biology Virtual Lab I
·         Cell biology Virtual Lab II

G.        Civil Engineering
·         Strength of Materials Lab
·         Fluid Mechanics Lab
·         Soil Mechanics Lab
·         Basic Structural Analysis Lab
·         Surveying Lab

H.        Physical Sciences     
·         Physical sciences
·         Virtual Advanced Mechanics Lab
·         Virtual Optics Lab
·         Virtual Electricity & Magnetism Lab
·         Virtual Heat & Thermodynamics Lab
·         Virtual Modern Physics Lab
·         Virtual Harmonic Motion and Waves Lab

I.          Chemical Sciences      
·         Analytical Lab
·         Virtual Chemistry Lab
·         Virtual Lab in “Charge and Particle size Determination in Colloidal Systems”
·         Virtual Lab in “Absorption Spectroscopy”
·         Virtual Lab in “CD Spectroscopy”
·         Physics of Biomolecules
·         Physical chemistry lab
·         Physical Chemistry
·         Organic Chemistry
·         Inorganic Chemistry

Launch of the Virtual Labs

National Mission on Education
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development and Communications and Information Technology, Shri Kapil Sibal addressing at the launch of the Virtual Labs under National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT), in New Delhi on February 23, 2012. The Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Dr. (Smt.) D. Purandeswari and the Principal Director General (M&C), Press Information Bureau, Smt. Neelam Kapur are also seen. [PIB photo] 

Art for Heart also

Art technology used to cure the heart diseases
In the current era where heart disease has touched epidemic proportions in India according to WHO - there is something to cheer about. Just simple tests and lifestyle changes and regular exercise can dramatically reduce the chances of suffering from a heart attack.

At a recently concluded free cardiac camp in Jagraon conducted by Dr Harinder Singh Bedi – head of Cardio Vascular & Thoracic Surgery at the Christian Medical College & Hospital in Ludhiana – some very positive findings have come up. At the camp which was inaugurated by Baba Ghalla Singh ji of Nanaksar   - himself a cured patient of Dr HS Bedi - a comprehensive cardiac checkup was performed on over 250 patients of Jagraon and the surrounding villages. Free consultations by super-specialists, free tests and medications would be given. A special test for vascular disease – The ABI test – was done for all patients where indicated. For the first time ever – a very high tech tool – the i-stat – which is available in CMC & H was used to screen all people . Dr Bedi explained that in this test just a drop of blood is used give about 15 parameters to judge a person’s health. It was found that people who exercised regularly or performed yoga had their hearts in good shape, and had cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control  . Dr Bedi was very encouraged with these findings for they suggest that a simple regimen of exercise, prudent diet, weight control and regular checkups could indeed keep the hearts of Punjabis in good shape. He stressed that the aim of preventive medicine was – ‘The hearts of Punjabis should not just tick – they should beat strongly’.

Interestingly similar reports have been found worldwide. Currently around one in five menopausal women die from heart disease. But according to new research by exercise scientists at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), this shocking statistic could be reversed if women took just 30 minutes to exercise, 5 days a week. Similarly a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that walking briskly for half an hour cut the risk of premature death in men and women by 44 percent.

There is some confusion about the type and intensity of exercise required. For cardiovascular fitness, you need to do a minimum of 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week, working hard enough that you break a sweat or are mildly out of breath. If you work out on a treadmill you should walk at a speed of at least four miles per hour on a level. If it’s on an incline, you can go a little more slowly.

Punjabis have a genetic predisposition to heart disease. You can’t do anything about your genes just yet—but you can lower that risk through lifestyle changes. Diet, yoga, exercise, regular physical checkups—all of these can help. Diabetes and high blood pressure can be detected and kept under control. It is time that we invested in our health and fitness now to ensure a real quality of life in later years – just as we plan a financial pension plan for our future. So, strap on your sneakers and start striding in the park – said Dr Bedi .

Aim for a target heart rate during exercise.  Make monitoring your heart rate an integral part of your workout routine. It's a safer, more effective way to exercise, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

Here's how to calculate your target heart rate range:

-Estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. 

- Determine your lower-limit exercise heart rate: multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.6.

- Calculate your upper-limit exercise heart rate: multiply your maximum heart rate by 0.9.

For most people, working out at the lower end of the heart rate range for a longer time is better than exercising at the higher end for a shorter period.

Dr Abraham G Thomas – Director of CMC & H – said that the outreach programmes were an integral and important part of the basic philosophy of CMC so that medical care could reach one and all in this region.

Attacks on Journalist​s

Press Council chief serves dismissal notice on CM
22.2. 2012

Shri Prithviraj Chavan,
Chief Minister of Maharashtra,

Dear Chief Minister,

A delegation of eight journalists from Maharashtra met me today and apprised me of a large number of physical attacks on journalists/media houses in the State of Maharashtra including the recent one on Times of India building in Mumbai allegedly by Shiv Sena people.

I was informed that in the last ten years well over 800 journalists were physically attacked, while in the last two and half years
213 journalists were attacked by political workers and anti-social elements. More shocking was the day light – murder of veteran journalist J.Dey.

In this connection I had written two letters to you but there was no response from your side to either of them. Did I not even deserve the courtesy of a reply?

Freedom of the Press is a guaranteed Constitutional right under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution, and it is the duty of the Press Council of India to uphold the freedom of the press in view of section 13 of the Press Council Act.

It is the duty of the State Government to maintain law and order in the State, but it seems to me that your Government is neither able to maintain law and order nor prevent attacks on journalists, which seriously imperils freedom of the press.

You are, therefore, requested to now show cause why I should not recommend to the President of India to dismiss your State Government under Article 356 of the Constitution since your Government apparently seems to have failed to uphold the Constitution as it has failed to uphold the freedom of the press under Article 19 (1) (a).

Please give a reply to this letter within three weeks from today after which I will take such action as is fit in the circumstances.

Yours sincerely,
(Markandey Katju)
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