E-shuttle - Boon or Bane?

Ever travelled across the institute in an e-shuttle, watching the scenery around you in the morning, with everyone hurriedly rushing to the...



Ever travelled across the institute in an e-shuttle, watching the scenery around you in the morning, with everyone hurriedly rushing to the class? The feeling of despair and anxiousness that comes around the fact - *aaj bhi attendance gayi*, is a thing that probably everyone has experienced. Salt on burn is when we see a cycle ride passing our e-shuttle (sigh).

E-shuttles were introduced in the institute in the spring semester of 2018 as a replacement for the once-popular Tum-Tums, and have been a major form of travel in the institute ever since. There was an institute-wide survey conducted by Insight on E shuttles, based on which this article has been written. It will give you an overview of how the respondents feel about the new E-shuttles and discuss some common problems faced by them.

Did the ‘change’ change something?




The pie chart shows the monetary change related problems faced by the respondents in the institute while travelling in the E-shuttle (oh, Hi Drake!).

Major chunk of the respondents did not face a problem of carrying change while travelling in the E-shuttle. Certainly keeping the charges in multiples of 10 helps (*cough* Rs. 18 for auto *cough*). Still, around a third of all respondents did end up having trouble and delays due to unavailability of currency.




CLEANLINESS-


Cleanliness is a very big factor while travelling as it makes the ride comfortable and ensures hygiene. In the plot, y-axis shows the frequency, and the x-axis shows the hygiene rating on a scale of 5.

More than 60% of all respondents gave e-shuttle a rating of 4 or more in hygiene (average score greater than 3.5). This certainly can be concluded as one of the plus points e-shuttles have.

‘Night’-rider?


Options:

Yes(71.7%)
Maybe(15%)
No(13.3%)

Majority portion in the sample wants the e-shuttles to run during late hours too. Although auto-rickshaws are available during the late evening/night hours, a fair share of respondents want the service hours of e-shuttles to increase. E-shuttles are more economical for travel within the institute, which might explain this response.

Mode of payment-




The above chart shows the preferred way of payment where-

Cash-30%
Minimum balance card that offers discounted rides-22.5%
BHIM UPI/ PayTM/ PhonePE-47.5%

Digital payment seems to be the most preferred payment method. This would also explain why change of currency was not a problem for a large segment. The second most preferred method is payment via cash, followed by an interesting option of having a minimum balance card that offers discounted rides to respondents who frequently travel using the e-shuttles. Even though the card-mode would eventually lead to lower effective cost per trip, it hasn’t picked up so well as of now.

Average waiting time-




The x-axis shows the frequency, and y-axis represents average waiting time.

A few lucky ones (25%) end up getting the e-shuttles within 5 minutes of wait. These are those people present for the right thing, in the right place, at the right time. For a majority (43%), waiting time is 5-10 minutes.

Need for speed, literally-




We’ll have someone special describe what the respondents feel about the speed of the E-shuttle.


Watching cycles overtake e-shuttles is no rare sight. The E-shuttle is considered to be extremely slow, with the speed being rated as a 1 or 2 by maximum respondents.

Preference (Tum-Tum vs e-shuttle) -






The chart shows the preference of Tum-Tums over the existing e-shuttles. 60%(Green) respondents want our vintage vehicle back, 15%(Orange) said they are okay with either of the two, whereas 25%(Red) prefer the new e-shuttles .

Tum-tums did have their own set of advantages (and disadvantages). They were free (i.e no payment while travelling), fast and frequent. At the same time overloading was a big issue (fun for some, but concern for all). There can be logical reasons too, behind the selection of ‘Bring tum-tums back!’ option, but it might also have been driven by memories and emotional reasoning for some.


Value for money-



E-shuttle is accepted as an economical mode of transportation (or even better) by most of the respondents (~70%).

A ride within the campus, say hostel to LCH complex, is charged Rs. 10. A strong majority seems to be comfortable with these prices and do not wish for a change. It must be noted that a similar ride in an auto-rickshaw would cost you almost twice the amount. The reasoning behind some people considering it a bit pricey might be that you can travel for an effectively lower price in an auto-rickshaw if three people share it - it’ll still cost a total of Rs. 18, or Rs. 20, i.e Rs.6-7 per person.

The road not taken

The students were asked their opinion on having a additional route, leading to YP gate (via library). Majority of the respondents were strongly in favour of this.




This additional route could be a major help. A ride to the library, labs, YP gate would end up saving time, as well as providing comfort to all who have to take that road regularly, which is quite a large no. of students. A 70% ‘Yes’ response to this question certainly demands the authorities to give it a thought, and check the operational feasibility.

Conclusion-

E-shuttles are perceived to be fairly priced, and is considered as a clean mode of transportation. On the downside, many respondents believe e-shuttles are very slow and have a decent amount of waiting time. There are certain changes respondents want to be worked upon if possible. It includes operation of e-shuttles for longer hours, and an additional route (library to YP gate). Also, it has been ‘verified’ that our long-lost veteran, tum-tum, is still loved the same.

Image credits-

https://indianmemetemplates.com/viral-indian-memes/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Daily-updates-on-status-of-E-Shuttles-of-IIT-Bombay-645884695827102/posts/




BC or not to BC

To be, or not to be can still be sorted, but to prioritize branch, or institute, that is the real question! Many of us have had this di...

To be, or not to be can still be sorted, but to prioritize branch, or institute, that is the real question! Many of us have had this dilemma, which has no perfect answer to it. Everyone would say, ‘interest ke according decision lena’ (choose according to your interests), and other ‘helpful’ words like ‘xyz institute/branch is better’ or ‘abc branch mein bahut scope hai’ (abc branch is doing very well – regular scope, not the insti scope yet!).

We do try to gauge our interests, and the offerings of a branch/field, but still, not many of us are able to make completely informed choices. Be it rank, societal pressure (peer, family, neighborhood, Kapoor saab – who’s children couldn’t get ICE), or the lack of sources, and understanding, of what a particular field would actually be. Something ends up preventing us from taking the ‘best’ decision.


But there’s always a second door. Branch-Change. One year down the line, we know more about engineering, know more about the branches (or have reliable first-hand sources – yeah, seniors too, but more importantly, professors); And most importantly, we know more about ourselves! In short, we are better equipped, and have an opportunity, let’s make things better.



To BC or not to BC


This article is to help you get an overview of how branch-changers feel about their decisions, how much it impacted on their life (in general), and CPI (in particular).

Reason for Branch Change




Largest chunk of BCs did it owing to ‘No Specific Reason’. This is the fraction this article essentially aims to diminish. Although most of the BCs were satisfied with their decision, majority of the part which wasn’t, came from this segment! On a happy note, a fair share of students have done BC owing to their research interests.

Two other popular reasons are a repulsive DIC, and conversion from a Dual Degree to 4-Year program. Both of them are highly subjective issues, and anyone having such concern is advised to necessarily speak to professors (and/or seniors) in the departments.


How good have things been?



Major proportion of the respondents are extremely satisfied with their decision of BCing. Digging deeper, to see how people stand on other parameters, check the following plot.


In this plot, on x-axis we have how easy was it to adjust in the new branch, i.e. we take into account how amicable the new branch-mates are (also includes how public-mingler one is!). And on the y-axis, we have satisfaction with the branch (including all academic/non-academic aspects). The colour code represents how good BCs think their decision was.



CPI Correlations





This article has used data of 50+ students, out of 75+ students who BCed in 2017 batch (and a fair share of 2016 batch also, for some plots). Thanks to all of them. The data has been decent mix of all sorts of performance, and therefore is a fine representation. That said, no predictive modeling would be justifiable enough, simply because CPIs are extremely subjective. Quoting Batman (with subtle necessary modifications) – ‘It is not what the data shows, but what we do (in the semester) that defines us (and our CPI).’

Here’s a direct scatter between Sem 2 CPI and Sem 4 CPI.


Interestingly, a fair share of BCs maintain their academic performance during the 3rd sem, but tend to fumble in Sem 4. One possible explanation is that their concern of performing nicely and the thought in the back of the mind that their performance could see a drastic fall are sufficient motivation to maintain the third sem performance. However, the confidence gathered due to a stable (or better than expected) performance here, turns slightly parasitic during fourth sem. 

The data does speak so, but a proper hypothesis test isn’t done and nothing can be said with certainty. Nevertheless, all thoses who do BC, perform good in Sem 3, but stay all the more cautious in Sem 4 (:-P).

Branch-wise average CPI changes (and cutoffs)


Everything does fall on a bell-curve! The plot shows the distribution of CPI change (Sem 4 - Sem 2) for all BCs (irrespective of their branch).

And now, branch-wise cutoffs and average CPI changes.

**BC Cutoff Source - SSS, UGAC (IITB)






Most of the BCs do see a slight drop in their CPI, but are still happy with the decision. Learnings :

- CPI isn’t everything (and certainly not the only source of happiness)
- If you find the right match (academic interests, peers etc), numbers would matter less.
- This isn’t a generalization. Many BCs do see an upsurge of CPI too.

The most important point, which can’t be left unmentioned - a drop in CPI (in 2nd year) isn’t unique to BCs. Competition analysis, comparative advantage etc are all true, but an equally, if not more, important reason behind this is grading scheme. Senior year grading schemes tend to be more austere and volatile. In short, anyone’s CPI ‘might’ decrease irrespective of a branch change (and therefore, give this factor only as much importance as necessary).

Would you go back (hypothetically)?

Most BCs are sufficiently happy with their decision, and won’t choose using the Time Stone (for revert purposes at least!). Still, ~17% entries might consider it as an option.


Branch isn’t something which could limit anyone from an eventual fulfilment of one’s aims, and from pursuing one’s interests. But if there’s a possibility of choosing a seemingly more direct path, why not choose it (this is generally the case, also for many of the 17% above, when you have a good enough CPI, but don’t have a good enough motivation). Not all intuitive and easy roads are bad!

Concluding Remarks

Maturity to accept that branches stand horizontally, and not, how the JEE-you might have preconceived, vertically, is the most important ingredient to a good decision. Other things include googling enough, finding interests, and then speaking to profs and seniors about how close to reality all that you’ve googled is. Try to speak to as many professors and researchers as possible (current department and prospective new department). Also, BC can’t be reverted, prefer a wise call over hasty decision. And make sure, to be the ‘balloon you’!



Good luck to all aspirants. And wishing all an amazing sophomore year.
Cheers!

Testimonials/Words of Advice :

Malhar Prajapati (Going to 3rd Year, B.Tech MEMS to B.Tech Aero)-


While Wright Brothers were working on the plane, many other scientists told them that, "Heavier-than-air flying machines are not possible". But now we see thousands of planes flying across the world. So, indeed there has been a lot of development done in Aerospace, and still, we can do much cool stuff in this branch and also we can explore some new developing field in this branch because the sky has no limit. This was kind of my motivation before entering into Aerospace. Today, whenever I think about that summer, I feel really happy that I took Aerospace. I am really enjoying all the courses. I am getting answers to questions which really blew up my mind when I first got them. I am also interested in coding and thankfully Aerospace keeps me attached with that in almost all the course project. If someone is thinking about CPI, then I won't say there is less competition, but it's comparatively less than Mech, Elec, and CS. So, I get time for managing my other commitments and exploring new things.

Cherub Kapoor (Going to 3rd Year, B.Tech Civil to B.Tech Mech) -


So, I had not come to insti with an intention of changing my branch. First sem went well and I thought let's maintain it in my second sem so that I can atleast have the freedom to opt for one if I want to. I did not enjoy the core of either of the branches very much, and I was well aware that my CPI would most probably drop. So, there wasn't any tangible benefit that I could see while making that decision, and hence I was a little sceptical about it, because I couldn't reason out the step I was taking. However, one parameter was that the people in Mech are more competitive and ambitious, which means that I would always be on my feet, always trying to work harder. I saw this as an opportunity to grow even further. Another thing was that Mechanical had more diverse exit options and various fields that one could enter into, if I happened to develop an interest in core (or even a core-noncore hybrid) - Robotics, Automobile, IEOR, Research, Plant Management etc. Also, I learnt that more companies were open to Mechanical students, both in internships and placements (I had heard about FMCGs). Plus, a lot of my friends were shifting to Mechanical or other branches, and I knew that I will get a FOMO later on. Finally, the very mentality ki Mech toh Civil ke upar aata hai according to IIT JEE rank list. Hence, with these reasonings and a positive inner intuition, I took a leap of faith and went for the change, and although my DR  has gone down and I may not like the courses, I still think it's was one of the best decisions.

Anuj Diwan (Going to 3rd Year, B.Tech EE to B.Tech CS) - 


Being a resident of Mumbai, choosing IITB EE at the time of admission was a very natural thing to do since I liked electronics and computers nearly equally well at the time. I have always loved pure mathematics, thinking hard on math problems. After a year in the institute, I realized that I find CS-related subjects like graphs, algorithmic design, data analysis and ML/DL more enjoyable, prima facie, than EE. After talking to seniors in both CSE and EE, as well as people who changed from EE to CSE, I took the decision of changing my branch and I think it has been a great decision.

To decide whether to change branch, my advice would be to ask yourself, ignoring thoughts about job prospects, salaries, and other such factors, whether you will be truly happy and feel joy when in the new branch. If your motivations for changing to CS are driven solely by things like job prospects and income, you might not have a very good time. Asking seniors about second-year courses, life in second year, etc. also helps tremendously in deciding. Research extensively on both your new and old branch to take an informed decision.

Personally, I feel my decision was correct and I have enjoyed my second year immensely doing CS work. While CS has heavy workload and has pretty intense competition, it is a wonderful department to be in for anyone who is really interested and passionate about it. The well-known CPI drop in CSE second year does happen, but is nothing to really worry about if you’re working hard and giving your best to your work. Think carefully, explore both branches in your summer break, and choose wisely! All the best!!

Mrigi Munjal (Going to 3rd Year, DD MEMS to B.Tech MEMS) -


Don't go after the traditional hierarchy of branches. That's only the first year. Get out of the JEE state of mind. Only pick a branch if you're ACTUALLY interested. Don't go for the glory. There's no glory in dropping grades and being a mediocrity in a more competitive branch. All departments have the same international reputation if you're eyeing higher education. All consult companies pay no attention to your department, just your CPI and other achievements.

Shyam Thombre (Going to 3rd Year, B.Tech Aero to DD EE)-


I would strongly advice the students BCing into specific branch to go through the curriculum of that branch and roughly get the idea what it all is about. Then compare it with what the seniors have to say. But most importantly one must be very clear why one wants to change his/her branch. What exactly do they expect in the new branch and is it really the case. Do NOT follow the "Herd Mentality".

As for BCing into Elec, BTech is the obvious choice for many, which is correct. However, if one cannot get BTech and is going to take Dual, then remember, you CANNOT change your specialization easily, as it was possible in the past. So be sure about the specialization. Microelectronics and CSP are very diverse branches. So go through the topics of each and look which of them you find more intuitive. Finally, don't be afraid of BCing, thinking you will be alone in the new branch. There will be many BCs into that branch who will be your first friends in the new branch and the family definitely grows.







To Exchange, or not to Exchange

A semester abroad at a different college is something a lot of us consider at least once in our time in college. The prospect of spending...


A semester abroad at a different college is something a lot of us consider at least once in our time in college. The prospect of spending an entire semester at a foreign university can be equal parts tempting and terrifying - exploring a brand new country and way of life versus leaving early everything familiar behind for nearly half a year, not to mention the expenses involved. So, how many people do go for it?


The answer: definitely more now compared to a couple of years ago. The number of outbound students across the years has shown a generally increasing trend, in large part due to more and more people getting to know about exchange programs and students having more options to choose from, given the increasing number of MoUs being signed. When it comes to universities, Singapore based National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are the most sought after, together accounting for a third of outbound exchanges probably due to the TFlearn funding available for exchange to Singapore.

That was a general overview. Here’s a look at the department-wise and program-wise representation of students.




The number of exchange students from EE and Mech are almost equal to all other departments combined. While this could be attributed to the large number of students enrolled in these branches, the number of exchange students have been small from similar-sized departments such as Chemical, Civil and CSE. Across programs, nearly 90% of our outbound exchange population comprises of UGs, out of which Dual Degree students make up more than two-thirds.

Considering an exchange yourself? Odds are, you’re trying to figure out which semester would be best for it. We investigated to find out historical trends, shown below. The vertical axis indicates the semester of exchange and the horizontal axis tracks the percentage of total students (in the specific program) on exchange in a given semester.


During 3.1 (the first semester of third year) and 4.1, most BTech students are occupied with career decisions and therefore, the even semesters (3.2 and 4.2) have a large chunk of students going on exchange. On the other hand, Duals tend to highly favour 4.2, followed by 3.1 which is a close second. The more interesting part is that historically, 2nd year is the least preferred, often because students are late to realize that such an opportunity exists.

For those of you who are interested to know more about these programs, there’s ton of resources available online. For starters, here is a compilation put together by the International Relations Cell, IIT Bombay.

Footnotes
1. The data was sourced from the IIT Bombay International Relations Office
2. The source code used to create the visualizations is available on Github

IITB Alumni and Where to Find Them

The IIT Bombay alumnus is a rare creature, native to the marshy swamps of Powai. But over the last few decades the IITB alum has migrated...


The IIT Bombay alumnus is a rare creature, native to the marshy swamps of Powai. But over the last few decades the IITB alum has migrated to all parts of the world, constantly adapting to its new-found habitat. As avid zoologists enthu punters data scientists, we’ve foraged through the wilds and mapped out the creature’s nesting habits across the globe.


Let’s start with the country they reside in. Preferences have changed over the years, and the specimens who graduated in or before 2000 have been dubbed ‘pre2000’, while their newer counterparts, ‘post2000’.


As we can see, a significant percentage (~40%) of our alumni who graduated before 2000 have settled abroad. This number drops down sharply to <16% post 2000, which seems surprising.

But ‘abroad’ is a big term. Let’s look at exactly where in the world our alumni live.



As expected, most alumni live in India. USA takes up a good chunk of the second bar. In fact, four in every five alumni living abroad live in the United States.

But, over the years, has the brain-drain problem really changed for the better?


In recent times, alumni seem to prefer US less and less. Most of the slack has been picked up by India. This can be attributed to the rising opportunities in India, research and industry wise.

Here’s how the global distribution of alumni has changed over the years:


While the US dominated the charts in the past, recent times have seen a significant increase in the number of alumni in other nations. The main beneficiaries of this attrition from the States have been countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Let’s have a better look at the scenario back home.


Mumbai is clearly the city of choice for the IITB alum within India. 29% of all IITB alumni who have graduated till date are currently residing in Mumbai. Another surprising element is Pune’s third position in the charts. As a matter of fact, more than half of our alumni living in India currently are settled in Maharashtra. Cities like Bengaluru and Hyderabad have also gained good numbers in the recent years due to the IT boom.

Some other interesting facts that we found out

A majority of the Alumni in Kolkata are from the departments of Earth Sciences, Chemistry and Energy, which is unsurprising considering the fact that the cityscape and its surroundings are dotted with relevant industries.
• Considering the Middle Eastern countries are among the global hubs for infrastructural development and innovation, it is not surprising that nearly 30% of our alumni there are Civil engineers.
Around 50% of our Chemical Engineering alumni who are in India have settled down in Mumbai.We will soon be releasing another analysis of the work-sectors and job-profiles that our alumni are currently in.

We would love to hear from you on what more insights would be of interest pertaining to the alumni community. As for our alumni, we wish you the best, wherever you are. Remember, we know exactly where to find you.


Footnotes

1. Data from close to 20,000 alumni was used. All data used was provided courtesy of the institute.
2. All data obtained is through voluntary self-reporting, and may contain some inaccuracies or biases.
3. We have taken utmost care to ensure anonymity and privacy of all the individuals involved. Please share your concerns if you have any.

How IITB's Departments Fare in terms of Patents

IIT Bombay has always been a frontrunner in terms of ideas and innovation. In fact, IITB was awarded the National Intellectual Property Aw...


IIT Bombay has always been a frontrunner in terms of ideas and innovation. In fact, IITB was awarded the National Intellectual Property Award, 2015 for being the Top India Academic Institution for Patents. Of course, we wanted to see the numbers behind the scenes, and decided to take a look at all the patents IITB has filed in the last few years. Since 2000, researchers in the institute have filed over 500 patents.


As you can see, the growth in recent years has been phenomenal, with over a hundred patents filed just in 2015. However, a large chunk of these patents are coming from a few departments. Here's a look at the number of patents filed by each department, over the years, since 2005:

Circle area denotes the number of patents filed in year x by department y


Most of the larger circles are clearly concentrated among the Electrical and Mechanical departments. The difference has been more stark in recent years. In fact, the top 4 departments (Elec, Mech, Bio, Chemistry) together contribute 65% of all the patents filed by IITB!  To some extent this is because of the nature of the work done in each department - certain departments tend to focus more on product-centric output, while others lean towards theoretical research.
It can also be seen that while certain departments have been ramping up the patent activity over the years, others are still producing these in bursts.

A surprising thing we noticed in our analysis was that the month of June sees almost twice as many patents filed as most other months! So the next time your guide tells you that students don't work hard over the summers, point them here ;)



Footnotes:
1. Data for some departments has been combined in cases when the departments merged - e.g. Bio-Medical Engineering with Biosciences & Bioengineering
2. All data was obtained courtesy of IRCC, IITB
3. The source code is available on Github if you want to play around with the visualisations


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