Dr. Divakar Singh Yadav is working as Professor of Computer Science at Institute of Engineering & Technology, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow. He earlier served as Founder Director of Rajkiya Engineering College, Banda, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow, Director, Bundelkhand Institute of Engineering & Technology, Jhansi, Chairperson, Department of Computer Science, South Asian University, New Delhi (An university established by SAARC nations) besides serving as Head, Department of Computer Science & Engineering for two terms and Head of Training and Placement at IET Lucknow.
Born and brought up in district Etah in Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Yadav completed his primary and secondary schooling in Etah. He obtained B.Tech in Computer Engineering from G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, M.Tech in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southampton, Southampton, U.K.
Dr. Yadav is an author of four textooks in the area of computers and information technology including best seller ‘Foundations of Information Technology’ published in 2001. He has successfully supervised many Ph.D. and, M.Tech dissertations. His research contributions appeared in the international journals and refereed conference proceedings published by Springer-Verlag, Elsevier, and IEEE. He has delivered many lectures/keynote address in India and abroad. He has been conferred with ‘Young Scientist Award’ by Government of Uttar Pradesh in 2003, ‘Commonwealth Fellowship’ in the U.K. during 2004-2008, and a ‘Distinguished Author Award’ of Federation of Educational Publishers in India at India Education Conference, New Delhi in 2008.
1. Why you have chosen the area of Computers and Information Technology to build your career?
During my early childhood and school days in the late 70s/early 80s, I was fascinated with new technological development coming into our society. It was the time people witnessed infusion of the low-cost automobile, household electronic appliances, televisions, telephones, an introduction of computers and digital communication in our day to day life. Also, there were many success stories coming in about scientific development related to automobile, aviation, robotics, nuclear energy, satellites etc. During those days, there was much talk about electronics, computers, communication, and automation in industries. As a result, I became interested in building my career in computers. I often used to think about how I can be part of these development activities. One of my teachers those days encouraged us by saying you first strengthen your foundations in mathematics and physics; earn good marks in 10th and 12th and then go for formal education in engineering.
After 12th, I appeared in engineering entrance examinations, opted for computer science and engineering and took admission in B.Tech at G.B. Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pantnagar. Since I had school education in Hindi medium schools, these years I also realized how difficult it was for a student, especially a science student, to take higher technical education in English medium after twelve years of education in Hindi medium.
2. What motivated you to move to academics?
After completing B.Tech, I joined an industrial unit as an Assistant Engineer which was primarily in the manufacturing of polyester chips, films, and other polyester products. In this industry, I got the opportunity to work on industrial computers with the fully automated production line. Indeed, it was a learning experience for me and there was a definite change in my perception of how computing will be used in the process industry in the time to come. After serving industry for one year, I thought of moving to academics to further strengthen my knowledge and skills. I joined Pantnagar University, taught there for one year, then moved to Lucknow in 1991 to build a permanent career in academics. It was always my dream to study at IIT Kharagpur as it was the first Indian Institute of Technology in the chain of five IITs established in the country. I was successful and completed M.Tech in computer science from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. At a later stage, I obtained Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Southampton, U.K.
3. What has motivated you to write books?
In the earlier part of my job at Lucknow in the early 90s, I played a significant role for several years in the conduction of state entrance examinations for admission to engineering, technology and management courses in the state of Uttar Pradesh and Regional Engineering Colleges in other states. We extended the computers to complete mammoth tasks related to pre-examination, post-examination, and counseling which earlier used to be carried out manually. During these years, it was a learning experience for me to understand how information technology can be used in reducing huge workloads, obtaining accuracy and to bring transparency. In the late 90s, during my couple of visits to Germany and Australia, I visited some universities, laboratories, and industries there. It was again a learning lesson for me to understand the scale to which western countries were upgrading their IT knowledge base and skills and applying it to the welfare of society. It was the time of emergence of IT applications, mobile communication, Internet and e-commerce. As a technologist, I was interested in the application of Information Technology for e-governance; IT enabled services especially in the education sector. I thought of writing a book on Information Technology with the purpose of introducing theories and applications of Information Technology. First edition of my textbook ‘Foundations of Information Technology’ was published by New Age Publishers erstwhile Wiley Eastern in the year 2001. This book gained a lot of interest from readers and it was prescribed as a regular textbook in many universities.
4. How was your research experience abroad?
In the year 2004, I was awarded prestigious ‘Commonwealth Scholarship’ by British Government for doctoral studies at University of Southampton, U.K. During 2004-2008, I got an opportunity to work with renowned computer scientist Professor Michael Butler and his research group at Southampton. My work was primarily based on technologies for construction of formal models of business-critical software systems, transactional information systems and discovery of invariant properties to reason about their behavior. This work primarily addresses the issues of safety, dependability and trust in software systems used in public domain for delivery of services in various sectors, such as, in banking, business, e-commerce, and e-governance. During those years, I also got an opportunity to contribute to European Union funded project RODIN (2004-2007), a joint project of leading European universities and industrial partners located in U.K, Germany, France, and Finland. The objective of the project was to develop a methodology and open tool platform for the cost-effective rigorous development of dependable complex software systems and services. One of the memorable experiences was to participate in prestigious Dagstuhl Seminar Series held at Schloss Dagstuhl, Trier, Germany in the year 2006. It was one of the great moments for me to present and discuss the methodology for the development of software systems before a group of established researchers including ACM Turing award winners. This methodology was included in the final report on methodology as a successful conclusion of this EU project.
During my stay at U.K, I also got the opportunity to participate in World Wide grand challenge instituted by the UK Computing Research Council (UKCRC), Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) and British Computer Society during 2006-2008. The first pilot project in the challenge was to study Mondex electronic currency. Eight international research groups tackled the problem. The challenge was to achieve a significant body of verified programs that have precise specifications and machine-checked proofs of correctness. After a series of meetings of various international research groups held at Abingdon, Oxford, and York, the experience of various groups was published in a special issue of reputed computer science journal ‘Formal Aspects of Computing’, jointly published by British Computer Society and Springer-Verlag in 2008.
During these years, I also got the opportunity to visit many universities and laboratories in the U.K and other European countries along with participation in many meetings, workshops, and conferences. Professionally, these years were very fruitful and rewarding.
5. How can you describe the learning outcomes of your research?
Now a day, often software solutions are integrated with hardware/machines and they are being used in many business critical applications, such as, in banking, automobile, health-care, trading and stock control, voting in elections, transportation and in governance. These applications are built on top of various methods, algorithms, and protocols. Verification of these protocols and their proof of correctness always remains an issue before computer science researchers. I firmly believe that before deployment of any software/hardware solution in public domain to be used by common man, the specification of these systems, design solutions and corresponding proof of correctness must also be provided in public domain to enhance the trustworthiness of these solutions.
6. What is your view on increasing use of Social Media?
I remember, in the year 2008, I was invited as a guest speaker for a talk at a seminar on Blogging/Tweets; Bane or Boon at IETE foundation day. It was the beginning of the use of social media by the common man and not many people were aware of either the positive or negative effect of using social media. I mentioned that social media if used amicably, may solve many perennial problems related to governance in this large country; and if not controlled properly, it may be used in a manner similar to writing on the wall of public toilets. It has created a heated debate after the seminar if the social media can be stronger than electronic and print media. Since the cost of hardware/software, mobile and computing devices along with the cost of communication coming down every day, it is imperative that with new technologies in the time to come, social media may completely replace electronic and print media in the years to come. Later, as many platforms, such as, in the meetings, conferences, and workshop I always maintained that dissemination of over information, spurious information and ill information using this strong medium may adversely affect psychological health of the society. I still advocate an independent regulator to monitor the use of social media.
7. How you used unique and different skills for professional service to the community?
As a technologist/engineer, I have a keen interest in the application of Information Technology for e-governance; IT enabled services especially in the education. During last several years, I have participated in various knowledge dissemination activities to the masses, professionals and government officers relating IT awareness either as speaker/trainer and by organizing many faculty development programs, workshops, training programs, tutorials etc.
I worked as Project Coordinator (2009-2011) on the project ‘Virtualization of Technical Education’ sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Govt. of India. The main objective of the project was to create an infrastructure for IT-enabled teaching and learning and to provide quality education to the students studying at Institutions located in rural and remote areas in the state of U.P. and Uttrakhand. We have successfully developed and demonstrated the methodology for conduction of the classes/lectures in virtual space. It has been successfully demonstrated that how a lecture in real time by a teacher at one location can be delivered in multiple classrooms located at different locations with live interaction with teacher and students. The necessary equipment, software, and technology were made available to selected engineering institutions in the state of U.P and Uttrakhand.
On another occasion, during my tenure (2013-2014) as Pro Vice-Chancellor at Uttar Pradesh Technical University, Lucknow, I played a key role in strengthening of various academic and administrative processes by restructuring research degree committees, board of studies and bringing reforms in admission at UG, PG and Ph.D. level. We have taken several steps for introducing IT for transparency and extending various services in online mode for the benefit of students. First online counseling for admission of candidates through UPSEE in 2013 was planned and executed successfully wherein more than 1.5 lakh candidates participated in that exam. We also introduced completely online counseling for M.Tech and Ph.D. admission for the first time in UPTU in 2013. Unique measures like fingerprints and photographs etc to curb impersonation were introduced in the conduction of UP State Entrance Examination. We were also successful in getting MOUs with premier industrial players and organized several training programs for benefit of students and faculty. Being a very large technical university with approx four lakh of registered students in more than five hundred colleges across the state of Uttar Pradesh, with the objectives of addressing and brainstorming on the issues related with students, faculty, management in particular and health of technical education in general, we came up with a concept of directors conference to provide a platform to address and resolve many such issues. Many such conferences were organized in various part of the state.
8. How was your experience of establishing a new Engineering Institute?
In January 2015, I was appointed as first and founder Director by the Government of Uttar Pradesh for the establishment of Rajkiya Engineering College at Banda. During 2015-18, it was a great challenge to establish an engineering college at a very remote location in Banda. I feel happy and satisfied that against all odds, we have been successful in the establishment of this new engineering institute with modern facilities for the welfare of students that include modern computer center with workstations/servers, over 30 laboratories for mechanical and electrical engineering, and a fully equipped central workshop. The institute is now fully residential with campus-wide wifi access, LAN on optical fiber and leased line connectivity for internet access.
We have also established virtual classrooms and several electronic classrooms equipped with modern teaching-learning assisted tools and state of the art audio visual, recording and video conferencing facilities. One of the finest Language Laboratory for strengthening of communication skills along with first of its kind RFID based Electronic Library was also established in this college. It is also one of the first institutes among state-run institutions to have fully implemented ERP for monitoring of various academic and other administrative activities. Realizing the importance of extracurricular activities, we developed indoor and outdoor sports facilities, state of the art gymnasium at campus along with facilities for cultural activities. First approval of the AICTE for all courses obtained within a year and within two years the institute was selected for World Bank assisted Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP phase III) by MHRD, Govt. of India.
During 2017, I also worked as Director at Bundelkhand Institute of Engineering & Technology, Jhansi, one of the premier fully residential engineering institute established by Government of Uttar Pradesh in 1986 over 250 Acre of land. As a principal administrative and academic officer, I supervised Work Bank assisted TEQIP program, AICTE accreditation activities and the establishment of electronic classrooms, organization of conferences and Faculty Development Program and tried to resolve many perennial problems related with Electricity, Water and Roads in addition to several steps for the strengthening of academic ecosystem.
Overall, it was a wonderful and learning experience for me to serve as the head of these institutions. Working with various government departments at district and state level, coordinating with various statutory bodies, university, and other organizations; and meeting targets in the timeline to the satisfaction of various stakeholders, was an amazing experience. During these three years, I learned why it is necessary to face challenges in life and how to enjoy responsibilities and difficulties.
9. How was your experience at SAARC university?
I got the opportunity to work at the newly established South Asian University, New Delhi during 2011-2013. It was the first international university established by SAARC nations at New Delhi. Besides being a computer science professor, I also served SAU, New Delhi as Chairperson of Computer Science Department, Asst Dean of Student Welfare, member of Academic Council, Admission Committee and Scholarship Committee. Interaction with faculty hired from various countries and students coming from various SAARC nation were very meaningful. It helped me in the understanding of Social, Economic and Political issues and challenges in the neighboring SAARC countries. This has further strengthened my belief that quality education at primary and secondary level is key to many solutions.
10. Please share your journey of life till now.
It has really been enjoyable, rewarding and full of excitement both at professional and personal level till date. At the professional level, during the last twenty-five years, I had to face many challenges and difficulties. By the grace of God I faced all challenges successfully and every time I came out with full satisfaction along-with certain distinct accomplishments. At family, I have parents living in Noida, the younger brother who is also a professor, younger sister married and living at Noida. Back home at Lucknow, I have a wife, a homemaker who help synchronize various activities and a younger daughter studying B.Tech in computer science. My elder daughter, after completing MS in computer science from the State University of Newyork at Buffalo, is presently working in the software industry in California, USA.
Personally, I have liked visiting places, knowing cultures and meeting people. This profession has given me lots of opportunities to work/travel to many places in India and Abroad. I consider privileged to have got formal education at variety of academic ecosystems, from schooling in Etah, to State University at Pantnagar, to Indian Institute of Technology and to university in the U.K. At work, I got opportunity work at many places Banda, Jhansi, Lucknow, Delhi and Aboard in various roles as researcher, academic, working for government and in educational administration. Truly, the accumulated experience of education, research and learning at various levels and different places is one of the big assets to me. It has always helped me in understanding real-world issues and challenges related to youngsters and possible next-generation challenges.
11. What is your planning for the future?
Professionally, I would like to spend more time with postgraduate and doctoral students, more involvement in research and working on new pedagogical techniques aimed at enhanced learning of UG students. I would like to avoid any administrative assignments in the future. At personal front, I always had a casual attitude of ‘no worries and take it easy’ towards myself, family, friends, and relatives. In the future, I will work on this aspect and try to find more time for myself, for travel/visiting new places and fulfillment of my hobbies.
12. Your way of handling emergencies and the workload:
During excessive pressures and workloads, I always convince myself with three rules. First, ‘don’t panic and stay cool, the sky is not going to fall’; secondly, ‘you are not the only one in this world handling these situations’; and lastly ‘follow your inner conscious and act with the rational mindset’.
13. What is your routine on a daily basis?
Usually, I am extra alert for scheduled lectures. I always spend some time on preparation of lectures, notes and other material before the lecture and try to adhere to long-term lecture plan for the subject. During free hours, I like discussions with faculty colleagues, especially, talking to students on academic and various other issues for addressing their needs. On weekends and holidays, I always try to find out some time for outing/movies. At home, I spend most of the time reading newspapers, books/magazines, net surfing, listening to the radio and watching television.
14. Do you have any weakness or strength?
One of my weaknesses is that though I set long-term goals for me yet do not focus much on short-term goals. I always try to spend every day free from any stress. In my opinion, the capability to judge the circumstances, rational thinking and to take fair decisions are my strength.
15. What are your achievements till date?
Satisfaction and Happiness are the biggest achievements for me.
16. What is your ability to face the challenges both professional and personal?
Understand the challenge, analyze possible implications, don’t hesitate to take advice from trusted ones and take appropriate decisions on your own. I always maintained that workload and responsibilities must be enjoyed.
17. Is this your dream job?
Yes. Truly, after spending so many years in the profession, I now realized that it is my dream job. In academic, you often interact with young minds who continuously update you about changes in social, political, economical, technological and other parameters in the society. It also helps you to remain young and to take correct decisions. In this job, one also gets enough time and opportunities for reading/writing, up-gradation of knowledge and skills and to apply them for betterment in society.
18. In your profession do you have any preferences?
I have no preferences except to enjoy my work and to satisfy myself that whatever I do, it should be just and right; and it does not harm anyone. There is a popular saying that if you enjoy your work the success is always inclusive. If you are happy and satisfied with your work you will also make other people around you happy.
19. What is one of your key message/advice to the society?
Stay connected, help everyone, and appreciate the good work/achievements of fellow near and dears. The older generation must also apprise next generation of possible opportunities and challenges in various facets of life and profession, and help them make decisions on their own.
20. Your contact details including email.
Dr. Divakar Singh Yadav Professor Department of Computer Science & Engineering Institute of Engineering & Technology Sitapur Road, Lucknow-226021 UP India Email: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.ietlucknow.ac.in/people/dsyadav