29 December, 2006


On 23rd and 24th December, I visited IIMC for guest lectures on "OR applications in airlines industry". It went well and enjoyed it a lot, I hope students found it interesting.

I started off by asking students to imagine that they are going to start an airline and think about the things that they would need and decisions they need to make (leaving out HR, Finance, Govt. Permissions).

Students came up with flight schedule, markets, aircrafts. I added profitability analysis (which includes passenger demand forecast), fares. I added that we willl need to take decisions about types of fleeets, aircraft scheduling and crew scheduing. Then I went in details of fleet assignment model and shows some demo using spreadsheet solver.

Later Prof. Nag gave me tour of the IIMC campus. Its beautiful, quiet, lots of trees, apparently it has 7 natural ponds, should be great relief in Kolkata summer. In the picture you can see the auditorium.

Later, I visited Victoria Memorial, will upload more photos of this 90+ yrs old building made of marble stone. I would like create a 3D model of the building and also understand how exactly it was built in 1912.

18 November, 2006

Say No To Corruption

PM’s keynote address to conference of CBI & State Anti-Corruption Bureaus

"Our Government is also intending to bring forward a Public Services Bill before Parliament. The Bill will define a public services code of ethics and management. It will also protect whistleblowers and have the overall objective of developing public services as a professional, politically neutral, merit based, and accountable instrument for promoting good governance and better delivery of services to all our citizens.

When I recently watched the popular hindi movie, Lage Raho Munnabhai, the one incident that touched me most was the ordeal of a senior citizen trying to get his pension without having to pay a bribe. In stripping his clothes, as an act of protest, this pensioner was stripping our system, exposing the ugly nakedness of the self-aggrandisement of those who man our institutions of governance. Any system in which a retired senior citizen is required to pay a bribe to secure his legitimate dues is a most despicable system. Such corruption must be visited by the sternest action to reform, restructure and rejuvenate the system. The very legitimacy of the State and its various institutions is brought into question by such illegal exercise of power and authority."

For full text :
PM’s keynote address to conference of CBI & State Anti-Corruption Bureaus

For Right To Information Act related information:

11 November, 2006

Algorithms and Optimization Job In Mumbai

My employer SkyTECH solutions is looking for engineers with background in operation research, optimization, algorithms, programming, travel/transportation/airlines industry.

The job will consists understanding business problems in transportation industry, creating a model (LP/MIP etc.), programming the model (in MathProg, AMPL, OPL or using C API).
This is a ideal job for those looking for small innovative companies with lot of freedom (to decide direction of the project), opportunities to meet clients and design solutions. Also you will work with small team of passionate, smart people with similar backgrounds.

Skills required will include passion for mathematics, algorithms, computers and motivation to use this technology to solve problems in the industry, government etc.

Specific skill requirement includes C/C++, basic knowledge of simplex algorithm, and mathematical programming languages. Experience with LP, MIP, CPLEX, GLPK will help.

The job location is Mumbai (India), may have to visit USA and other countries.

Update: You can send your resumes to me. I have a gmail account, id is vijay.patil.

01 July, 2006

Story of Indian Children In Villages

For last few weeks, I have been watching TV program Being Indian on BBC World . It covers lives of underpriviledged kids in city slums and remote villages. It focuses mainly on child education, and how children from poor families have to work instead of going to schools. Although things are improving, lot needs to be done. Following are some thoughts in my mind.

In one episode of the program they show how teacher in villages in Orissa is NOT doing his job. He just leaves student in the class to study themselves. On second day he is absent. I heard similar stories from 12 year old's in Kolkata about how his teacher beat him and them he stopped going to school. Lack of good teachers in Indian villages is known problem for long time. Some innovative ideas are needed to improve quality of teachers in villages. Incentives ("Best village teacher in the district award" ?) needs to be designed to motivate them.

One more disappointing thing I noticed is lack of resposibility on the part of parents. The excuse they provide is "we are poor, we cannot afford to send our children to school, he/she must work in fields" etc. Well, then why did they produce them, if they know that they cannot take proper care of their children?. Also primary education in India is almost free, is it not? Why do parents want to keep their children illiterate? Do they not know importance of education, and its co-relation with quality of life? May they need to informed, encouraged to be good parents.

30th July episode of "Being Indian" told story of a girl from a village in Karnataka. I know that Infosys Foundation is doing some good work in villages in Karnataka. There might be other NGOs working on these problems. I would be interested to know your ideas.

06 May, 2006

Copyrights, Plagiarism, Young Students

Recent contraversy about book "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" by Kaavya Viswanathan, made me think that many young people (especially young students in India) may not have clear knowledge about Copyrights. No, I am not implying that Kaavya Viswanathan did not know about Copyrights. The book contraversy is not the topic of this post.

From my experiences, students do create and submit project lot of reports, articles, poems, cartoons during their college days. Manytimes, they obtain work created by others from internet, books etc. and use in their work, which is perfectly fine as long as one mentions the reference and not claim the work as his/her own.

My effort is to help them avoid plagiarism (claiming someone else's work as your own, intentionly or otherwise).

Q. What is Copyrights and Why should I care?

You must have seen copyright notices on books. Something like (C) All rights reserved.

Copyrights give you certain rights to decide how your work should be used by others. Its relevant if your work is original and has commercial value. This includes books, articles, poems, software source code etc. work which exists in some forms. This will prevent somebody using your work for commercial gains without consulting/paying you.

Q. What can be protected by Copyrights?

Your expressions is some form can be copyrights, not underlying ideas. For example you can Copyright your particular poem (written on paper/on computer)about a train telling her emotions, but not idea that machines can express their emotions.

See http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/index.html
for more information. I quote paragraph relevant to above question.

"Facts are not protected even if the author spends considerable time and effort discovering things that were previously unknown. For example, the author of the book on Neanderthals takes ten years to gather all the necessary materials and information for her work. At great expense, she travels to hundreds of museums and excavations around the world. But after the book is published, any reader is free to use the results of this ten year research project to write his or her own book on Neanderthals -- without paying the original author."

Important point is it also means that you cannot publish somebody else's work, claiming it to be your's. It not legal in India and may other countries. However fair use of the other's work is allowed.

I hope this makes you aware of basics of Copyrights. Do your own research for more information on fair use, patents, and related topics.

Some more useful links.
Myths about copyright explained http://www.templetons.com/brad/copymyths.html

01 May, 2006

Coping with Chennai weather

May has started, yet another hot, humid day in Chennai, temperature are high, traffic is congested, autos/buses are not air conditioned. By the way there are not many cabs available in Chennai.
It really affects your productivity and limits things you can do on weekends. I am looking for some tips to cope with the extreme weather, here is my list (mostly of obvious things), your ideas are welcome.

# Short Term
  • Buy good sun glasses and cap to protect you from UV rays, glares etc.
  • Wear cotton clothes, shorts, deodarant.
  • Drink plenty of water, fruit juices, milk shakes.
  • Avoid going outdoors between 11 AM to 4 PM, especially to high traffic places like mount road. Basically hot vehicle fumes are no good for your eyes and lungs.
  • Do not underestimate the weather, it can get extreme, read weather reports and contact meteorological department if required, to plan your activities.
# Long Term
  • Get good air conditioner for your office and home.
  • Air conditioners are no good without electricity, power outages are not rare, so consider installing portable power generators, or solar power.
  • Keep in touch with relevant government departments and advocate them use of solar power. If we don't do this then we deserve power cuts.
  • Talk to your representatives in local government, demand for more trees, parks, air conditioned public places, in buses, suggest solutions, ideas.
I am curious about engineering solutions which can harness solar power to keep temperatures of whole city low, a kind of artificial winter Is is possible?

Ain't no cool breeze when she's gone
It's not fresh when she's away
Ain't no cool breeze when she's gone
And she always gone too long anytime she goes away Ain't cool breeze when she's gone
It's not fresh when she's away
Ain't no cool breeze when she's gone
And she always gone too long anytime she goes away

See original lyrics by Bill Withers.

08 April, 2006

Kahn, Gandhi, Simplicity

I got opportunity to meet Soha Ali Khan, on flight to Mumbai. She was nice.

Me (nervously) > Excuse me, can I get your autograph?
Soha > Sure
Me (still nervous) > thanks
I got my diary and pen for her to sign
Me > here
Soha > what's your name?
Me > Vijay, V-I-J-A-Y
while she is signing
Me > I haven't seen any of your movies.
Soha > Huh
Me > but I have read article written by you, one about your stay in Italy, it was good, I liked it.
Soha > Ok
Soha > Watch Range De
Soha > Range De Basanti
Me > Ok

She was cool. Good luck Soha !

Attended National Conference on Management Science and Practice at IIM Ahmedabad. It was good. I talked on airport ground service teams scheduling.

Need to follow up on some presentations on lp/mip formulations, job scheduling, excel/VBA apps.

IIMA campus architecture is so simple, beautiful, brilliant. Use of bricks (instead of lot glass and steel), no colors. Old campus architect is Louis Kahn.

Later we visited Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram, on the banks of Sabarmati river, around 10 Kms from IIMA.

15 January, 2006


Panya was in Kolkata for office work. He impressed me with his knowledge and insights on stock markets, mutual funds etc.