IIT Kharagpur Enhances the BRICS Network University Strategic Partnerships

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IIT Kharagpur (IITKGP) has hosted the Second International Thematic Group (ITG) online Meeting on, “Computer Science and Information Security” (CS & IS) of the BRICS Network University (NU) on August 31, 2021. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur is the lead institution of the Computer Science and Information Security Group at BRICS Network University.

BRICS Network University is a consortium of higher education institutions of the five BRICS member countries, comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, formed with the objective of developing bilateral/multilateral short-term joint training, master’s and PhD programmes along with joint research projects in various knowledge fields as well as organizing of the academic mobility for the students, university faculty and staff of the BRICS NU participants. BRICS NU is organized in six strategic thematic groups: BRICS studies, Computer Science and Informational Security, Ecology and Climate Change, Economics, Energy as well as Water resources and Pollution Treatment.

The CS & IS thematic group meeting was organized by IITKGP in association with the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal and the National Institute of Technology, Warangal.

The participants included several national as well as international faculty and administrative staff members from the BRICS nations who made presentations on scientific research as well as on student and faculty mobility in an effort to explore and enhance academic collaboration between the various partner universities. The students of the Secured Embedded Architecture Laboratory (SEAL) at IITKGP along with Computer Science Students from the NITs also attended the meeting.

Dr. Sandeep K. Shukla from IIT Kanpur, shared his experience on ‘Cyber Security of Cyber Physical Systems at IIT Kanpur’. Dr. Shukla maintained that in the age of digital revolution, the primary objective of cyber security is to safeguard data from various online attacks or any unauthorized access. While addressing the meeting, Dr. Shukla observed that there is an increasing number of cyber-attacks in the national infrastructure, which necessitates countries like India to develop Cyber Resilient Infrastructure and design intelligent Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) for automatic detection of malicious attacks. Detection mechanisms such as the Online learning-based intrusion detection- Robust Attack Detection Online Learning Technique (RADOLT) and use of ‘Honeypots’ have been observed to successfully detect and collect malware.

Dr. Michele Nogueira of Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil spoke about, “Security, Privacy and Resilience in the Internet of Health Things.” Dr. Nogueira, in her address, highlighted the importance of Cybersecurity in the area of Healthcare. Healthcare is an essential part of life. Healthcare IoT based systems are multiple and vary from wearable to mobile sensors. Internet of Health Things (IoHT) can greatly improve a patient’s health and help in critical situations. IoHT include implantable and wearable devices connected among themselves and/or to the internet. Dr. Nogueira emphasized that the continued implementation of IoT within the healthcare system will lead to a drastic increase in productivity and analysis of available data.

In his presentation, Dr. Aleksei Lizunov from ITMO University Russia, discussed about Russian Government’s support for faculty and students mobility among BRICS Nations. He provided an overview of the cyber security related programmes at ITMO University. ITMO University offers Master’s degree programme in Computer Systems Information Security which not only focuses on training highly qualified professionals in the area of information security, but also the students have an excellent opportunity to learn from top-ranked professionals. Also, ITMO University has launched the Safety and Security of Critical Information Technologies international research center, where the students would receive practical training on dealing with cyber threats while working on real-life projects. Additionally, to enhance the collaboration in academics and research, ITMO University allows for academic mobility for the students and faculty of the member universities. IITKGP and ITMO university has signed an MoU in 2017 under which students and faculty members can benefit from this mobility arrangement.

The Presentations were followed by, a brainstorming session and the discussion on the future roadmap.  Dr. Turgay Celik and Dr. Joey Jansen Van Vuuren from the University of Witwatersrand of South Africa shared their valuable perspectives on how to provide continuity and continued effectiveness to this collaborative venture. Participants from India, Russia and Brazil contributed effectively as well.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the CS & IS Partners decided to develop online courses or workshops which could be held during the summer or winter breaks and which would create opportunities for the students from the partner institutes to explore courses. Dr. Rajat S Chakraborty of the department of Computer Science Engineering at IITKGP, suggested two to three attractive course modules where each collaborating partner institute could teach a module. These courses could be for zero credit with students obtaining a certificate of participation at its successful completion. The idea resonated strongly among the participants and member universities identified the strong potential such initiatives carry in increasing the momentum of the BRICS NU activities. The workshop concluded on a hopeful note that the second ITG on CS & IS would usher in new opportunities of research and academic collaborations among the BRICS thematic group partners in the immediate future.

Contact: Paramita Dey, Junior Assistant

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