My SmorgasBLOG

Hi all,


Interviews are a big bugbear for many, and foremost among them was me! Who’d not get terrified when a gang of senior professors from the most reputed institute in India sit around facing him/her and fire questions on the area to ehose study they’ve dedicated their life to? There’s a lot of confusion and apprehension regarding this, and I thought an article on this would be helpful.


Typically, MTech programs may or may not have interviews, but MS and PhD programs certainly will, with PhD interviews being tougher than the MS ones, naturally. In addition, some IITs might have a written test (objective or subjective) as a preliminary filter to the interviews. I’ll list the process (as it was in 2008) for some of the programs:

IISc ME CSA – Direct Admission

IISc MSc (Engg) CSA, SERC, EC – Interview (heard there’s a written test this…

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An excellent view of higher engineering education in India….

IISc MSc interviews and GATE preparation

IIT MTech interviews

My SmorgasBLOG

Hi all,


Its circus time again! Admissions season. Loads of decisions to make. Loads of data available, but very little information. Having gone through the entire thing last year, I thought I’d write a set of articles in aid of the poor souls trying to get in this time 😀


I’ll be talking about IIT admissions only, as my knowledge is limited to that. I’ll assume that people have decided to study here. Here or abroad is a question that must’ve been answered by now 🙂


One of the first things to decide once you’ve decided to do your PG in India is whether to go for an MS or for an MTech. I wrote a detailed reply to this question in, on which the following is based.

MS or MTech?

– MTech and MS need ~60 credits (or a scaled value, depending on…

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Nash and cryptography…

Turing's Invisible Hand

The National Security Agency (NSA) has recently declassified an amazing letter that John Nash sent to it in 1955.  It seems that around the year 1950 Nash tried to interest some US security organs (the NSA itself was only formally formed only in 1952) in an encryption machine of his design, but they did not seem to be interested.  It is not clear whether some of his material was lost, whether they ignored him as a theoretical professor, or — who knows — used some of his stuff but did not tell him.  In this hand-written letter sent by John Nash to the NSA in 1955, he tries to give a higher-level point of view supporting his design:

In this letter I make some remarks on a general principle relevant to enciphering in general and to my machine in particular.

He tries to make sure that he will…

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IISc admissions

Admissions to graduate programmes (ME/MTech/MSc/PhD) at IISc are open. Details can be found here. Last date for submission of applications is 21st of March 2012.


Apply for PG programme at IISc.
My experience with IIT/IISc interviews.

The charm of a train journey

A train journey is different. It has its own charm, every trip is an experience in itself. It’s not like going by bus, or by plane. At some point of our childhood lives, haven’t we all been excited about going by train? Our mothers packing chapatis or pulao for lunch/dinner, carefully wrapped in aluminium foil or steel boxes, the rush of excitement when the train is about to leave, staring at the scenery and the passers by for hours without getting bored, the rush of the wind on your face, ah! What an amazing feeling! A trip to my native last week spurred this “train” of thoughts and here I am, rambling about train journeys.

What makes it so different is the atmosphere. You meet new people, have new experiences. As soon as the train departs, your co-passenger starts chatting, “Neevu Mangaloorige hoguvavara?”, with a smile is the general way to break the ice. In no time, you know that he is going to attend a relative’s marriage, has three children, works in so and so company, and even before you know it, you are discussing the latest political scam or the Indian cricket team’s latest debacle with him. You are all of a sudden talking to a stranger as though you are long lost friends. This is the charm in going by train that no other means of travel can offer.

Going with your relatives on the other hand, is a picnic in itself. The antakshari, word building games, storytelling sessions with cousins to pass time, eating channas or sipping hot tea, longingly looking at the chai wallah and the snacks he has to offer, now that brings memories! This reminds me of my favorite poem we had in school, called “From a railway carriage” by Robert Louis Stevenson. It goes like this:

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.
Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And here is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart runaway in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill, and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone forever!

Ah! Longing for my next train journey now!