Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The second year experience at IITB

The second year at IITB really transformed me from a muggle to a wizard. We were taught so much of CS in the second year, that now I really feel that I am into CSE.
It brought more new opportunities for me and I learnt and explored lots of computer science in my second year.
I remember leaving on 14th July 2014 for Delhi to catch a flight for Mumbai. It was an all new level of happiness - after all I was to meet my buddies after two and a half month long summer vacation. At the same time, I was missing my family.
Never mind, I reached my new hostel (all of us were relocated to different hostels in second year), settled my luggage.
Odd semesters face heavy rains of Mumbai, giving the city its real beauty (and sometimes flooding :P)

The year began with my greatest surprise - Institute academic award for excellent academic performance in the year 2013-2014. This award is given to the top 10 performers of the entire batch (around 900 students). I was ranked 7th in the institute (another friend had the same CPI but his roll number was above me so he was ranked 6th :P). This was indeed a big achievement for me considering the level of competition at IITB.
Further, I also got a chance to serve as a teaching assistant for the calculus course, tutoring the first year students, This was a great experience and it helped me to know a number of freshmen of my institute.
Something interesting happened as well - trip to Lonavla.
10 of us planned a trip to Lonavla - a famous tourist destination near Mumbai. It was a terrific trip.
Firstly, the plan was almost ditched because of conflicts on mode of conveyance. Also, my parents told me not to go because it was rainy season and the Lonavla is a hilly area as well and so, it might be risky. I agreed and so I slept.
It was around 1 AM in the morning, friends came to my room, woke me up and told me that we gotta leave for Lonavla fast, the train departs at 2 AM from Mumbai :P
I just didn't think anything, packed stuff and left with them :D. 5 of us went via train and 5 via taxi (we had to split because some were not in favor of taxi and some were against train journey).
Finally, we reached Lonavla sometime around 3 AM in the morning. It was scary and we decided not to stay at station because it might not be safe. Also, we came to know that the taxi guys will leave in the morning.
We had heard of a place called Tiger's point. It was 12 kms from the station and so, we decided to walk all the way to that place from railway station - teenage blood you see :P
Anyway, that turned out to be the most foolish decision for us. It was raining heavily and we had just 2 umbrellas and a raincoat and the darkness made it worse :/
It was raining cats and dogs and we were walking on the main road all in the dark, with smartphones and cash with us and limited number of umbrellas.

I face some of the harshest conditions I ever faced, but we kept on walking. I occasionally checked GPS to check how far we were. It was just endless walking in heavy rain, we all were really freezing.
(ignore my hair :P)

Then we came across a village. It was dark, haunted - just as you see in movies :P
A man with his daughter was coming, with a torch in his hand.
"Holy shit, he has 4 legs", shouted pranjal and we all were scared to death :P :P :P
Soon we realized there were 2 people :P
Anyway, we continued. We saw damaged cars (who met with accident), mountains, darkness, rains and what not. I was just praying to God that we return safe :P
Finally, after endless walking, GPS told us that we are nearing Tiger's point and we were happy.
On the way, we saw a car turning right, towards the edge of mountain. We all thought that he was going to commit suicide :P. Curious, we all went ahead to see what was going on. It was too foggy and visibility was only a few meters.
We we neared, we saw more people and one of them told us that this place was Tiger's point.
We laughed to death at that moment. Expecting some food/stall and seeing just plain land on the top of a mountain, we just went mad. Above that, endless rain and freezing cold air made us really go mad. We sat there, hopeless, wondering if someone can drop us back to Lonavla :P
After some time, we finally decided that there is no hope and so we must walk back 12 kms :/
We had barely walked 2-3 kms and God heard us. A bus came from behind heading straight to Lonavla station. We sat on it and finally reached the place. Our other 5 friends also joined and finally the trip was enjoyable :)

The semester was super hectic. We had some really heavy courses - Data structures and algorithms (+Lab), Discrete mathematics, Software systems lab, Data analysis and interpretation and also my statistics minor course (introduction to probability theory).
The courses were really heavy and the semester was really hectic.
This used to be my Thursday's schedule:
  • Lecture from 8.30 AM to 12.30 PM
  • Lab from 1.00 PM to 6.30 PM (Data structures and algorithms lab)
  • Tutorial from 6.30 PM to 8.00 PM (discrete mathematics)
The CSE curriculum is really hectic. The scheduled time for DSA lab was from 2.00 PM to 5.00 PM (3 credits). However the assignments were so heavy and coding intensive that the lab used to begin early and also used to end late. Similarly, discrete mathematics wasn't supposed to have a tutorial, but we were made to sit in the tutorial for 1.5 hours after a long hectic day (but that was indeed important because the instructor himself guided us in the tutorials and that was really required for us to understand the course).
Added to this was the hectic software systems lab - assignments released at Friday night and deadline on Monday/Tuesday night - weekend gone in solving the assignments :/
We used to be teams of 3 - that too top 50 rankers (all 3 of us) and still the assignments used to hit us right on the face. However, those assignments really really helped us to become a "Code warrior". Initially we used to abuse the professor for giving such heavy assignments. But today, I really thank him from the heart (no joking) that he made us do such hard assignments and this is the reason that I am today able to develop Android applications, home pages, do online courses, code in a new language and understand new software easily. I really wish he reads this, I would be glad :)
We learnt a lot in that course - HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Java, Python, Django, Graph plotting software, drawing software, Bash scripting, shell scripting, linux commands, makefiles, and lots and lots of geeky stuff which only CSE people know. Ah, you might say you know HTML. Come on, then can you really code a website from scratch? We can B-)
There was also a data analysis course, which was quite similar to statistics minor course (introduction to probability theory).
IIT Bombay offers a highly flexible curriculum. You can do a minor in ANY department of your choice. Meaning, you get a degree saying: B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering with Minor in Statistics. All you need to do is complete 30 credits in that department (around 4-5 courses). I am pursuing a minor in statistics because statistics and data science is the new sexy ;)
We also had an electrical engineering course (compulsory for all CSE students). We did all the boring semiconductors stuff :/
The third sem ended with another awesome gift - summer internship at TU Braunschweig, Germany, that too on my birthday :)
I remember, 12 am on 19th November, my ass was banged with slippers (the usual GPL tradition in IITs) and at 12.40 am (40 minutes after heavy ass banging), I received a mail saying that I have been selected for the internship. After doing the necessary confirmations, I called my parents in excitement to tell them :D. Friends were ready to give me another banging, but I somehow managed to convince them to leave me :P. I still remember, I wasn't even able to sit for a few days :P
We also went to a trek some fort (I forgot the name :P) - department trek, all four years of B.Tech and the 2 years of M.Tech along with 2 really cool professors of our department. Yes, not all professors are boring. We have some of the coolest professors here and I feel proud to say that we have professors like Akshay sir, who are just too good.

At the end of the semester, we also went to Essel world - all of us together, 29 overall. It was a great great experience and I really enjoyed a lot :)

Sem ended, endsems ended, it was time to go home and enjoy winters with family.
I decided not to chill out in winters and so, I convinced a prof from IIT Kanpur to take me for a winter project and seeing my resume, he happily agreed (I mailed 3 of them and all of them agreed :P)
Enjoyed a lot in the winters and finally went back to the institute - Techfest time after all!
Enjoyed a lot at Techfest - its really awesome and IITB guys get special treatment, because all the organizers and coordinators are friends :P

Fourth semester was another amazing experience, with lots of interesting courses - Computer Networks (+Lab), Digital logic design (+Lab), design and analysis of algorithms, logic for computer science, economics and statistics minor course (introduction to derivative pricing) - its not the derivative you are thinking, nothing to do with dy/dx :P
Computer networks was really an amazing course. We are really taught the building blocks of the internet. You are reading this on your mobile/tablet/desktop and I know what all happened behind the scene when you opened this web page - and that's really awesome, isn't it ? The cool terms you wonder - torrent, proxy, Lan, DHCP, etc, we get to learn in detail about them! Yes, I know how bit-torrent works B-)
We also had a flipped classroom model in this course - a new experience for me. Meaning, the professor will release the lectures on the internet and you can see them whenever you want. Of course there are weekly evaluations to check your progress. But this was useful for me because I finally managed to develop the patience needed to complete a course on coursera :P
Another good course was digital logic design. We were taught a lot - the basics of computer building blocks and the structure of RAM! It was more about boolean algebra, but it was really interesting. In the weekly labs, we programmed in FPGA as well. Infact, in the end semester exam, we were asked to design Mumbai monorail system. Interesting, isn't it ?
Then there was this interesting algorithm design course, in which you really learn to design your own algorithms.
Sem 4 also ended, and I am half engineer already :). It was a great experience altogether and the ending was more interesting - summers outside India (my first such trip).


  1. Interesting narration , perfect style even a layman like me enjoyed reading. God bless you .

  2. Thanks a lot! For making me right but reading your story I am Glad that all this is happening to me also but the difference is of teachers and parents thoughts are like yours I hope you to reply my last comment as I have no time now for 2016 only 11 months for JEE Advance 2016

    Q:It takes me hours to read the theory.What would me mine changes to it?

    Q:As I have lots of Books,Is it good that If I do particular Topic for different Books?

    Q:What would be my Strategy to complete my Study Material in 3 months of Aakash as it contains 30000 questions?

    Please Reply in details so that I will comment you that momemet when my Jee Advance result will come

  3. Enjoyed the reding,keep posting.

  4. awesome !!! its really inspiring to see what all iitians like you do . enjoy and at the same time be the topper. keep up the good wprk . keep posting . have fun

  5. If this is the kind of work you get to do at IIT, then working my ass of for it is going to be worth it!