Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship winners announced - Interact with Secretary of MEITY and Principal Scientific Advisor

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Qualcomm Technologies Inc announced the names of the winning teams of the Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (QIF) 2021 program, an annual initiative that gives an opportunity to the students of selected Indian universities to present their ideas and innovations. Inviting ideas in the fields of Machine Learning, Autonomous Driving, Multimedia Computing, Communication Techniques, etc. QIF is in line with Qualcomm’s core values of innovation, execution and teamwork. Apart from the financial reward, the winning teams get a chance to learn under the mentorship of researchers at Qualcomm.

QIF India is currently open to 13 pre-selected premier academic institutions like IITs, IIITs and IISc. This number has steadily increased from 4 institutions in 2016, the year QIF India was initiated. This year, 95 proposals were received, and 36 finalists were invited for the presentation round out of which 13 fellowship winners were chosen in addition to 2 super winners from QIF India 2020 winners.

Recently, these winners got a chance to interact with MeitY Secretary, Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney. The interaction began with Rajen Vagadia, VP and President of Qualcomm India and SAARC, affirming Qualcomm’s commitment to partner with universities, startups, and other established companies in order to encourage innovation within India. Dr Dhanajay Gore, VP - Engineering, and Head of Research at Qualcomm India presented an overview of the Qualcomm University Relations program and in particular the India Fellowship to the MeitY secretary. 

At the virtual interaction, MeitY Secretary, Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney appreciated the innovative ability of the students and said, “It is heartening to see a young team guided wonderfully by their professors cracking some of the toughest problems of our times.” 

He also added that each interaction with these young teams is always insightful and focused on solving unique problems. He expressed his happiness on ideas like the use of voice command to direct vehicle control that can further aid in reducing road mishaps. Concluding the meet, he congratulated all the winners, super winners, professors and reiterated GOI’s support for the young talent of India. 

An interaction of similar nature took place in the same week with Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India. Principal Scientific Advisor plays an important role in advising the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on matters related to Science, Technology and Innovation. 

Talking to the PSA, Dr Dhananjay said, “This is the sixth year of the QIF program in India and the primary goal is to partner with selected top universities and push the envelope in technologies of interest at Qualcomm.”

Principal Scientific Advisor Prof. K Vijay Raghavan appreciated the initiative by Qualcomm and pressed on the need to expand such programmes to more educational institutions. Speaking at the meet with winners, he said, “Given the enormous size of the country, young demography and extraordinary talent in our educational institutions, there is a need to expand such initiatives to new institutes as well as the ones that are already established in the country.” 

Following are the winning research proposals:

1. QIF India 2021 winners

Innovation Title - Fast Machine Learning-based Parametric SPICE Macromodel Extraction for FinFET Device-to-System Level Optimisation

School - IIT, Roorkee

Fellows - Surila Guglani, Jyoti Patel

Professors - Prof Sourajeet Roy, Prof Sudeb Dasgupta

The innovation aims at solving problems related to FinFET devices such as High Frequency modelling and design space exploration. The proposal looks at reducing the time and memory cost of conventional techniques. 

Innovation Title - Multipath Streaming Codes

School - IISc, Bangalore

Fellows - Vinayak Ramkumar, Shobhit Bhatnagar

Professor - Prof P Vijay Kumar

The proposal is to introduce multipath streaming codes to combat challenges faced by single path streaming codes. Such codes are used on applications like augmented reality, virtual reality, etc. 

Innovation Title - Online Matrix Completion Algorithms for Topological Interference Management

School - IIT, Kanpur

Fellows - Japneet Singh, Zeeshan Akhtar

Professors - Prof Ketan Rajawat, Prof Adrish Banerjee

The innovation develops algorithms useful in device-to-device communication, IoT networks, 5G sensor networks and other online matrix completion problems with structured constraints. 

Innovation Title - Fast and Efficient DFT Computation for Signals with Structured Support

School - IIT, Hyderabad

Fellow - Charantej Reddy Pochimireddy

Professor - Prof Aditya Siripuram

With the ever-increasing data infrastructure, this proposal aims at designing algorithms and structures to reduce the complexity of traditional systems.

Innovation Title - Intelligent Reflecting Surface Assisted Opportunistic Multi-user Communication

School - IISc, Bangalore

Fellow - Yashvanth L

Professor - Prof Chandra R Murthy

This innovation aims at setting up and studying opportunistic communication via IRS assisted setting. 

Innovation Title - Self-supervised Light Field Video Reconstruction for Smartphones

School - IIT, Madras

Fellows - Prasan Shedligeri, Shrisudhan G

Professor - Prof Kaushik Mitra

The team proposed to introduce the Bokeh effect in videos which is now limited to images only. The innovation is to build a new application for this purpose. 

Innovation Title - PolyGANs: Generative Adversarial Networks and the Polyharmonic Spline Connection

School - IISc, Bangalore

Fellow - Siddarth Asokan

Professor - Prof Chandra Sekhar Seelamantula

GANs are a team of two networks: a generator and a discriminator where the former converts numbers into real images and the latter identifies between a real and fake image. The idea through this innovation is to use it in medical imaging and autonomous vehicle imaging systems. 

Innovation Title - Efficient Self-supervised Learning of Robust Representations

School - IISc, Bangalore

Fellow - Sravanti Addepalli

Professor - Prof R Venkatesh Babu

The objective of this proposal is to train robust models efficiently in a self-supervised setting without labels for the training data set. Existing models require higher computing costs, and this proposal aims to reduce that. 

Innovation Title - Ultrasound-MRI Fusion in Prostate Diagnostics and Operation

School - IIT, Bombay

Fellows - Sahar Almahfouz Nasser, Gouranga Bala

Professor Name - Prof Amit Sethi

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men worldwide because of diagnostic limitations. The innovation suggests ultrasound-MRI fusion to ensure diagnosis at an early stage in order to save lives. 

Innovation Title - TomoPose: Hand Pose Estimation and Tracking using Electrical Impedance Tomography

School - IISc, Bangalore

Fellow - Karthik Girija Ramesan

Professor - Prof Dr Prasanta Kumar Ghosh

This innovation proposes a hand pose tracking system in wrist bands and wristwatches. 

Innovation Title - Deep Neural Models For Generalised Synthesis Of Multi-Avatar Actions

School - IIIT, Hyderabad

Fellows - Debtanu Gupta, Pranay Gupta

Professor Name - Prof Ravi Kiran Sarvadevabhatla

The goal of this innovation is to increase capacities to execute a large number of actions of variable durations as well as multi-person activities. 

Innovation Title - Remeshing-Free Fracture Simulation with Haptic Feedback

School - IIT, Bombay

Fellow - Avirup Mandal

Professors - Prof Parag Chaudhuri, Prof Subhasis Chaudhuri

In the wake of a pandemic, this innovation proposes virtual simulation training for fields that require intensive hands-on training.

Innovation Title - TEMPER: Trusted Execution using Machine Learning Assisted PUF Enabled Random-number-generators

School - IIT, Kharagpur

Fellow - Kuheli Pratihar

Professor - Prof Debdeep Mukhopadhyay

With the explosion of IoT products and services and lack of security mechanisms, the innovation proposes security systems using Machine Learning. 

2. Super Winners from QIF India 2020

Innovation Title - Language-Based Navigation with Object Referenced Spatiotemporal Constraints in Autonomous Driving

School - IIIT Hyderabad

Fellow - Unni Krishnan R Nair, Nivedita Rufus

Professor - Prof Madhava Krishna, Prof Vineet Gandhi

The innovation aims to revolutionize the autonomous driving sector by using navigation techniques like language-based commands. 

Innovation Title - True Full-Duplex High-Speed IOs/Interconnects for Smartphones and AI/ML Hardware

School - IIT, Bombay

Fellow - Ganpat Parulekar, Sandeep Goyal

Professor - Prof Shalabh Gupta

The AI-based platforms that are to come in the near future will require processing large amounts of data. In this proposal, the team at IIT Bombay is suggesting the use of practical techniques that support data transfers over electrical interconnects to save space and increase data rates. 

Winning teams get a year of fellowship with Qualcomm. Moreover, some of the top researchers at Qualcomm provide mentorship to them throughout the year. At the end of the year, the performance of all the teams is reviewed and two super winners are announced. Fellowship for super winners is extended for yet another year. 


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