Department of Science and Technology Current Affairs

VAJRA Scheme: Government receives 260 applicants for visiting researcher programme

The Union Ministry of Science and Technology’s Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty Scheme has received 260 applications from foreign scientists of whom 70 will be shortlisted.

The scheme is meant to attract top international talent to country’s research and development (R&D) ecosystem. The applicants will be screened now and the shortlisted scientists will begin work by December 2017.

VAJRA Scheme

The pilot project of the scheme was launched by Department of Science and Technology (DST) in May 2017. The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of DST is implementing the scheme. It intends to select 1,000 scientists every year.

The DST will look for scientists with experience in fields of renewable energy, water and other technology in which Indian lack expertise. Public funded academic institutions and national laboratories are eligible to host VAJRA faculties. The residency period will be for minimum of month and maximum of three months.

These institutions should appoint them as adjunct visiting faculty and involve them in co-guiding and mentoring students and developing collaborative programmes. The faculty can also be allowed to participate in other academic activities.

The applications received from interested foreign researchers will be evaluated by Selection Committee of eminent scientists. The Committee will meet twice a year in January and July and make recommendations.

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India joins quantum computing race

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is planning to fund project to develop quantum computers in order to tap into the next big advance in computing technology.

In India, Physics departments at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, so far have only forayed into theoretical aspects of quantum computing. Experts from across country are expected to gather in Allahabad for a workshop to develop such computer.

Quantum computing

Quantum computer is computer design which uses principles of quantum physics to increase computational power beyond attainable limits of traditional computer. It employs complex principles of quantum mechanics to store information in ‘qubits’ (quantum bit) instead of the typical binary ‘bits’ of 1 and 0.

Qubit is two-state quantum-mechanical system, such as the polarization of a single photon (either vertical polarization or horizontal polarization). Qubit allows for far greater flexibility than the binary system. It works faster because of way such circuits are designed and can do intensive number-crunching tasks much more efficiently than the fastest comparable computers.

For instance, quantum computer require 3.5 million fewer steps to sort billion numbers compared to traditional machine and it can find the solution in only 31,623 steps. Quantum Computing help in solving complex computing physics problems, which were earlier not possible on traditional computers.

Quantum computers have been built on small scale and work continues to upgrade them to more practical models. Internationally, Canada’s D-Wave Systems, is pioneer in developing quantum computers and has sold machines to Lockheed Martin and Google.

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