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Homi Bhabha and The Computer Revolution

Homi Bhabha and The Computer Revolution
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Item Code: NAT954
Author: R.K. Shyamasundar and M.A. Pai
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9780198072461
Pages: 364 (30 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: HARDCOVER
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
About the Book

In February 1960, India's first full-scale digital computer—the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator (TIFRAC)—was launched largely due to the efforts of Homi Jehangir Bhabha (1909-1966). Paying tribute to the remarkable vision of Bhabha, this book looks at India's past, present, and future in global IT and telecommunications.

Tracing the country's growth trajectory from habha's time, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Nandan Nilekani, Sam Pitroda, F.C. Kohli, and M.G.K. Menon among several leading scientists, olicymakers, and industry leaders address digenous efforts in telecom revolution and ow computer and IT can bring about positive changes in our lives. From computerization of services and e-governance to the computer's impact on biotechnology, IT for power infrastructure, and transport—the essays address wide-ranging issues of tremendous topical relevance. Setting the tone of the volume, the Introduction looks at the contribution of Bhabha and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to the computer revolution in its nascent stages, and later, when India gained prominence as a global player.

With a Foreword by Ratan N. Tata highlighting the country's journey towards self-reliance in IT and telecom, this volume will appeal to students and teachers of computer science and telecommunications, IT and telecom industry professionals, policymakers, and anybody interested to know more about the India story.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

About the Author

R.K. Shyamasundar is Senior Professor, Faculty of Technology and Computer Science, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai.

M.A. Pai is Professor Emeritus, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

Foreword

This book is part of the birth centenary celebrations of the founder of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Homi J. Bhabha. Bhabha’s visionary role in the development of diverse branches of science and technology in India, most notably nuclear technology and molecular biology, is well known and documented. This volume focuses on a not so widely known or acknowledged contribution of Bhabha which has been of great significance—the role of TIFR in the creation and evolution of India’s computer industry, where India’s prowess is recognized globally today.

Right from the inception of TIFR, Bhabha had been aware of the key role of electronics and instrumentation, not only for nuclear electronics but also for a wide spectrum of applications ranging from the space programme to health physics. He was among the early ones to recognize that electronics was one of the most vital and essential branches of modern technology that India needed to master if it was to become self-reliant.

The imperatives of conducting research at TIFR also acted as a spur in furthering Bhabha’s involvement with the then nascent field of digi- tal computers. The workforce of high calibre that Bhabha put together at TIFR, expectedly, created a robust demand for instrumentation for scientific experiments at a time when the institute was still dependent mostly on analogue computers. In response, Bhabha, drawing on his personal knowledge of the work being done in overseas universities in building computers for physics research, set up a special group commit- ting TIFR to build its own digital computer.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator (TIFRAC), India’s first full-scale digital computer, made its debut in 1960, and TIFR scientists became among the early users to use computers and its applications for a large-scale professional effort. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator came to be subsequently widely used by the atomic energy establishment, defence sectors, educational institutes, etc., as these users learnt to trust the ability of TIFR to build large and complex systems with simple and basic components.

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator was followed by the setting up of the National Computation Centre at TIFR in 1964 when it imported the then state-of-the-art CDC 3600 160A.

Around that time, IIT Kanpur, set up with the help of the US, also became a hub for the new and exciting world of computers. Thus it was through their academic work and the creation of a critical mass of computer scientists in the country that TIFR and IIT Kanpur sowed the seeds of excellence in electronics and computer technology in India, contributing to making India a global force in the computer industry.

This book, jointly edited by R.K. Shyamasundar of TIFR and M.A. Pai of the University of Illinois, is a fitting tribute to Bhabha for his role and vision in sowing the seeds of the IT industry in India. The volume also traces the subsequent developments in indigenous efforts in India’s telecom revolution and concludes with an overview of some key fields in computer science and IT that have potential applications in the betterment of society. | am pleased to commend this welcome addition to the corpus of Indian books on the role of science and technology in improving our quality of life.

**Contents and Sample Pages**














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