Tag Archives: Anna University

The Higher Education Bubble in Tamil Nadu

   Many people, particularly in TN don’t get a picture of the bubble which is all set to burst in few years. I’ll try to explain it in a simple way.

Time line of Tamil Nadu’s Higher Secondary Education:

Government Forms a committee to design a new challenging curriculum for 12th and 11th students and succeeds in designing one, For some reason the same Government thinks the curriculum is too hard for students and for few teachers too and then decides to scrap *most of the portions* of it. Then the government sets up a simple question paper for the final board exam with just one or two *twisted/thinkable/knowledge-based* questions. Then after few weeks the Govt., decides to give grace marks to those twisted questions in a result to beef up the pass percentage of students. In Parallel to this, the state approves a shit load of colleges under its mighty *Anna University*.

What the high scores in board exam means to parents of students from rural areas ?

The parents of those children from rural areas don’t think that the score which their child has got is a result of monopoly played by the Govt., [On a side note, most of the parents from urban areas too don’t realize it] according to them, their child has scored a good score in their higher secondary, so most of them decide to sell their *agriculture land, cattle, property*   etc to fund their children’s higher education.

What happens in Engineering Colleges?

*MOST* of those students who were pushed to be passed by the government find it next to impossible to clear their exams. And many students in the fear of thinking that they had taken a wrong decision and now that their family is in risk of losing everything they had earned till now sadly end up in taking choices like this, this and these. Other students who survived their 4 years of engineering life in a –not-so-worthy- college  obviously might not have got a good education [see teachers in college and their mindsets for clarification] end up either getting unemployed or taking up a M.E course at another –not-so-worthy-college and chose to be lecturers in engineering colleges.

Bubble Burst:

At a particular period of time, the elite professors in engineering institutions will be replaced by these students who failed to succeed thereby diluting the quality of teaching rapidly. And what if a mass IT recruiter didn’t turn up for recruitment for a year ?. How many investments made by those poor people are at risk ?. Can they repay their loans on property ?   Who is responsible for the miserable state of TN students ? You do not need to be a detective to figure it out. It’s the Govt., which rakes money from private engineering colleges as well as colleges owned by politicians, approves them and adds it to their Anna University affiliated colleges kitty, sets easy question papers, gives good marks to most of the students irrespective of the easy question paper and not so great answers thereby driving/manipulating them to invest in a engineering college. On other words, it’s all a fuckin  evil Plan laid out by the then Govt., which said it contributed a lot to the higher education reforms in the state.

My suggestion:

Readers need not mistake me for being a hypocrite over rural students on this issue, after all I’m not a urban student, I won’t say I’m a rural student either, I’m from this awesome town. I’m not generalizing that students from rural areas don’t perform well in engineering education, there are many bright students too; but this post focuses on those not-so-bright students.  My suggestion is to give quality-uniform education to all at the school level and based on competitive exams they should be given admissions in engineering colleges so that a deserving student gets his dream accomplished and a non-deserving students doesn’t ends up in losing his life and his family won’t get bankrupt.

Cloud Computing with Amazon EC2

Cloud Computing with Amazon EC2

Audience criteria: This article is written for beginners in cloud computing so if you are a pro I would recommend you to skip this article

Cloud dem(y)istified

Wherever I go I hear people around me using the term cloud computing but their understanding of the concept is barely Minimum. Here is the popular youtube video which shows how much cloud computing is being misunderstood due to its catchy name.

An unorthodox definition to cloud computing would be “ The method of computing in which the physical machine which processes or gathers your data is present in the cloud. ” Cloud is nothing but The Internet

Note: The above mentioned definition is completely unorthodox and you’ll definitely not get 2 marks if you write this answer in Anna University examination.

Example for cloud computing:

Note: This is a very basic example, if you have a basic idea of cloud and its example i would recommend you to skip this paragraph.

Knowingly or unknowingly every one of us use one or the several features of cloud computing in a day-to-day routine, the best and simplest example for a cloud based service is Gmail. The service offered by Gmail is SaaS [ Software as a Service]. It means Gmail offers its software for people over the cloud. Now lets do a bit of substitution, what software does Gmail offer? A web based email client. What is a cloud? It’s the Internet. So after substituting the answers to these questions we get this “ Gmail offers its web based email client over the internet. “ All the emails in your account are physically stored in google’s data centers which is in the cloud aka hooked to the internet and you are accessing it from your computer via internet.

Why Cloud ?

I’ll walk you through this question using a case study. Lets take Anna University results publication as our example. http://results.annauniv.edu is the web server maintained by Anna University (Ramanujam Computing Center, i guess) for publishing its affiliated college’s semester examination results. Every one will experience the bottleneck effect at least for the first 6 hours  right after the results are published. Though Anna University hardly cares about this effect, lets presume Anna University as a more of student friendly university and it plans to do something about this bottleneck effect during results.

The Problem

   The problem here is too simple to identify, the HTTP requests from ferocious students eagerly expecting their results flood the TCP queue of the server (See DDoS). So a logical solution is to add a Load Balancer and widely distribute the requests to some 3 or 4 servers depending on the results [Some times 3rd to 7th semester results are published at same time, which will definitely need more than 2 servers to handle the load; one the other hand some times these results are published individually so 1 or 2 server would be enough to handle the requests at peak time.]

Solution A proposed by some leet Admin at Anna University:

Buy a Load Balancer                        –      Apprx cost $2000

Lower High-end Core i7 server with 6 Gigs RAM  X 4   –  900$ X 4 =  3600$

Power charges for these machines                –  xxx$

Consolidated cost  =    5600 $ + xxx$ per month + Network Maintenance charges + Server Upgrade Charges   ~ 7600$ per year

 

Solution B – The cloud way

2 * Rent a Extra Large Hi CPU on Demand Instance from Asia Pacific Zone for the first 24 hours  -0.76$ per hr

Change the Extra Large Instance to  Small on demand instance for the rest period –  $0.095 per hr

EBS storage  –  $0.1 per GB – month. At the max  our data won’t cross 10 GB mark so lets assume – $1/mo

Imagine EBS as a block of storage (HDD) attached to your instance

Load Balancer cost  – 0.025$/hr

Consolidated cost =   36.48$ + 68.4$/mo + $1/mo + 0.6$  = 37.08$ + 68.4$/mo

Results are published twice a year, so 2 days in a year we will be needing the 2 Extra Large instance with load balancer and for the remaining days a small instance is enough for handling the traffic.

For a year the cost will be =  2 * 37.08$ + 68.4$ * 12 = 74.16$ + 820.8$ =  894.96$

Solution B can serve the University 7 to 8 years with the cost spent on solution A

 

Pros on Solution B

  • Terrible cost cutting method
  •  Completely scalable architecture

“ Say if the university decides to publish the result for 3rd semester students alone separately then according to solution A we can’t save anything as the hardware is already up and running, but according to solution B we can opt for a Medium Hi CPU on Demand Instance or something more corresponding, we could add and remove memory just in few clicks or even we could automate the process using amazon’s api.”

  • Going Green.  ( I Don’t want to speak more about it in this post )

Cons on Solution B

  • Remember the Virginia Zone  Amazon Data Center’s Blackout, which pulled several famous sites along with it. So wise decision would be to host your instance in two different zones or at least have a mirrored EBS volume of your instance in some other zone for redundancy.

Plagiarism

Yes My work got plagiarized, Before going further i can blindly say that plagiarism is a global phenomenon but more often i find Indian people getting attached to it closely. Right from Ankit Fadia to some teen sitting in the dorm room copying articles by others and posting on his/her blog for gaining reputation among the masses.

We can attribute the boom of  Engineering education in Tamil Nadu to the mass plagiarism in the south. I, with the help of my friends had published a article on mass copyright infringement which happened in a technical symposium of a engineering college in Chennai. you can find the report here. The responsibility lies on the event organizer to cross check the received papers/articles for copyright infringement , however as  most of the  organizers themselves being a Asst.Prof doing Ph.D in Anna University who publishes plagiarized work for getting a Ph.D doesn’t bothers about plagiarism at the Under Graduate level. I wish to quote one of my friend’s comment on Anna university Ph.D’s

Ordinary persons like you and me will never be able to see the extra-ordinary intellectual capability of “THE” Anna Univ Phds 😛 U should be a Anna Univ Phd yourself to be able to recognize their immense contribution to research! 😛

Well said. OK enough rants, let me arrive at the point. The Research paper which my friend varun and i published at NIT-T [check out the computer science tab] and at packet storm got plagiarized by someone here. I’ve done a cross check and she seems to be 2o12 batch CS student from KLN college of Engineering, Madurai. I had just posted a comment on her blog.

Edit: The issue is resolved after having a conversation with that person

Peace 😀

University Lab Fun (in)security

As an Ex Electrical Engineering Student, i didn’t have opportunities to take many computer science lab courses, as neither the course work nor the electives were flexible.

You know it right, its ANNA UNIVERSITY.

But,thanks to the IT boom, i had

  • Fundamentals of Computer Lab
  • Data Structures Lab
  • Objected Oriented Programming Lab
  • Communication Lab [English]
  • Power System Simulation Lab

Let me walk you through the fun stuffs which i/we had during these labs.

Fundamentals of Computer Lab:

As I was a Fresher,I stayed below the radar and didn’t try anything adventurous. So it typically went like normal lab sessions.

Data Structures Lab:

The lab was entirely based on C, so we were given an unique user id and password, which was merely our roll numbers [ee199 is mine], sadly there was no provision to change the default password. The user id-password was for mounting the user specific directories to the system, so that students could store their programmes on their respective shares. As I was a sophomore at that time, I limited myself to logging into other user’s account and deleting their programs, nothing other than that because i was a bit coward at that time, yeah you read it right i was coward at THAT TIME.

Objected Oriented Programming Lab:

We did C++ and Java, it was the third year and, I was peaking in presentations and coding competitions. The only difference between data structures lab and OOP lab setup was the GUI. We had access to the windows ME machine in OOP lab, whereas in the DSA(Data Structures and Algorith) lab we were given with DOS & Turbo C. The storage part was lamer than the previous lab, as the programs were saved in /bin/ of C drive, and guess what, the c Drives were Shared over the network, so i had to just browse down to a specific user’s bin directory [//system22/c/] and change his/her programs to some random shit, like displaying weird characters on the screen in different colors and running through a infinite loop.

However during the later part they [system admins], were smart enough to change the program storage/execution directory to a NFS, which used to get mounted at the time of logging in. But they were not smart enough to change the password of the server to anything other than “peccc5lab”, so my job became easier. start->run-> //cc5server/c$/eee would list all users’ directories starting from ee101 to ee230 where their programs are stored. Pwnd!

Communication Lab [English]:

It was the same laboratory as the OOP , the lamest lab which I had, it was something similar to the TOEFL exam, The questions used to be generated from a database, and the database file was luckily running from the cc5server which I mentioned above, so I was able to change the questions to anything I want.The funniest part was that, I could have even done the same for the university exams. The procedure was, to send the users database file to Anna University in which the marks were present according to the answers they provided. Before the University Exam, I had the opportunity to view the users.mdb file [//cc5server/c$/exam/users.mdb], surprisingly the marks were encrypted, i thought of copying the encrypted value of my class topper to mine, but what if the marks were encrypted with the roll number as key. So, if i had swapped my marks, it wouldn’t have been able to decipher it, and i would have got landed in a lot of trouble!, so I refrained from doing it.. I even tried to take a look at the .asp file which pulls the questions and reports the answer back, but time didn’t permit and the staffs walking around the lab was watching me as if i looked like a Alien.

Other than this, I used to cause havoc between students using net sent commands. It was a simple trick, As the c drives used to be shared, I used to change the autoexec.bat of system-y to something like

  • @echo off.
  • net send system-x hey as***le !
  • start c:elclient.exe

and change the shortcut link for EL client to open the autoexec,bat file. So when the user in system-y opens his EL client, System-x used to recieve a message displaying as***le! sent from system-y. So it was fun to see the users in system-x and system-y fight with each other.

Ps: EL client is the software in which we used to work, i hardly opened that software.

Power System Simulation Lab:

I have already blogged about this, you can check it here

Operating Systems Lab at SVCE:

Thanks to the Jump start 2 for bringing back the fun part again. This time it was OS lab and we were taught with basic linux commands like ls,chmod,cat,editors [vi] [for some reason the instructor never mentioned emacs, emacs FTW] ,and some pretty basic stuffs. It was easy for me, no i’m not blaming the instructor. they had to cover each and every student, and many of them did not have any idea on either Linux and computers or Rankine cycle, but they used to brag about that they were the mec*sterz ,meh. But she [ the instructor] did not ask me to close my terminal, in which I was teaching my friend about grep and pipe, Never mind. And in the exercise, each user was asked to create files on their home directory i.e exam01…. exam01 was the username given to 90% of the users on that session. Again it was a NFS [Network FIle System], as the files created by each user started appearing in every users’ home directory, some mothafucka created files with filenames that hurt my friend. So the evil inside BORIS stepped out to cook a bash script [evil.sh]

	#!/bin/bash
	for((; ; ) )
	rm /exam/exam01/*
	sleep 60

chmod a+x evil.sh

../evil.sh &

and the charming script was running in the background, which deleted every file users created to learn on that lab. I’m now guilty of making no one to use of the OS lab, I wouldn’t have done it, if the file names were not that rude.

Ps: If you are creating a lab environment for students, then better rely on NFS with different passwords or share less local system disk with limited user privileges.

Pps:Try these at your own risk

Thats it for now, I’m tired of typing from 6:30 pm, and now the time is 9:09pm & thanks to vignesh for editing this post

Good Bye,alvida!