Let the FestiviTIes begin! Part I - A meaningful Dussehera celebration

C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments

The winter is approaching and the festive season is upon us.  In India, the celebrations begin with Dussehera, reach a crescendo with Diwali, re-ignite with Christmas and come to a glorious end with the ringing in of the New Year.

I had posted a blog post last year on the tradition of worshiping tools, which is an essential part of Dussehera festival.  The kings worshipped their weapons, the farmers worshipped their agricultural tools and the bullock carts, the craftsmen worshipped their hammers and chisels.  The stove, the pestle and the stone grinder in the kitchen were also worshipped! With industrial revolution, automatic machines began to replace the hand-operated ones, but the tradition of offering worship to the machines continues.  On the ninth day of Dussehera, every vehicle is washed and decorated with flowers.  It is a tradition to distribute sweets and puffed rice.

During Dussehera, it is also customary to worship books. After all, knowledge is the most powerful tool ever! In fact, the lighting of rows of Diya (earten lamps) during the festival of Diwali symbolizes the triumph of light (knowledge) over darkness (ignorance).

A Celebration

When I reflected on the activities of the TI India University Program team in the last few weeks, I cannot help but notice that it has been a celebration of sorts. We have been busy with tools and we have been busy with knowledge dissemination. Let me tell you the whole story.

We were trying to emulate Moore’s law when we estimated the number of proposals for the Texas Instruments Innovation Challenge: India Analog Design Contest. Moore’s law predicts a doubling of device density with every scaling of the MOS transistor. Likewise, we predicted that the number of proposals would double in comparison to 2012. Our predictions went wrong – we had approximately a 3.4X rise in the number of proposals!  After a scrutiny by a team of reviewers, 360 teams made it to the first phase of the contest. When the tools began to arrive for these 360 teams, it was time for Dussehera.  In the Hindu mythology, there are stories of heroes who performed rigorous penance and offered prayers to a deity to acquire weapons. Arjuna, the Pandava prince, prayed to Lord Siva and acquired the Pashupatastra. Vaibhav performed a similar trick to get not one but thousands of tools that the teams had sought. Hitesh and Anirudh were his able assistants in this tough endeavor.

We could not click a picture of all the tools piled up in one place, since the lens of the camera couldn’t quite cover the expanse. But I will include below a glimpse to satisfy your curiosity. Like the Pandava princes who went on to conquer a war with the help of all the tools they downloaded from the heavens, our teams are now getting ready for the challenge. Come to think of it, some of them are chanting mantras and saying passwords to download (software) tools such as the Code Composer Studio (CCS) which is descending down from the “clouds” above as I write these words!

The tools for the Electronics Engineer are of two kinds - Hardware and Software!

The tools are here – let the challenge begin!

What are our teams going to fight and conquer with these tools? I invite you to take a sneak peek at the list of projects that have been shortlisted. There are teams that wish to make this world a healthier place by creating medical gadgets – a war against disease. There are teams that wish to make this world a safer and more secure place – a war against crime and danger. Some teams wish to make this world a greener place – a war against e-waste and for conserving energy.  There are teams that wish to create gadgets for education and entertainment – a war against ignorance and boredom.

Texas Instruments is proud to put the necessary electronic tools in the hands of thousands of students who are ready to take on the innovation challenge. It has been a meaningful Dusshera celebration for us! In the next part of this blog, I will tell you how we are celebrating a meaningful Diwali