Open source software for numerical computation

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Keynote: National Mission on Education through ICT: Open Source Software

By Kannan MOUDGALYA, IIT Bombay

To improve the levels of education in India, the ministry of human resource development has launched an ambitious educational mission with an outlay of about US $ one billion. It is proposed to be implemented through information and communication technologies. The following minimum requirements are placed to fund a project through this mission:

  • It has to be inter-institutional
  • It should be development oriented, in any general field of college level education
  • Any material developed through this mission has to be delivered as open source
  • It should belong to any one of the about twenty sub-missions identified in the mission document, available at www.sakshat.ac.in

One of the main activities of this mission is to create 1 GBps connectivity to every one of the 30,000 colleges and research institutions in India.
Open source software creation and use is one of the thrust areas of this mission. Some of the activities undertaken in this area are:

  • Promoting the use of open source/free software through workshops and other publicity
  • Creating educational content around existing open source software
  • Promoting the use of open source software in audio/video courses and virtual labs, the other thrust areas of this mission
  • Creating documentation, books and courses in the area of open source software
  • To take necessary steps to include open source software in the syllabi of various universities

At IIT Bombay, we are focusing on Scilab, Python and Sage in the area of numerical computation, and Blender in the area of 3-D animation.