The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras) has launched a BTech programme in artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, with student admissions beginning in the upcoming academic year 2024-25.

Admission to this programme will be through the JEE (Advanced) exam and 50 students will be admitted. The joint seat allocation authority (JOSAA) counselling for the 2024 batch is currently in progress.

This undergraduate degree (course code - 412L: Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics), aims to equip students with essential skills and knowledge. The course will cover various aspects of AI and data analytics, emphasising mathematical fundamentals, data science/AI/ML foundations, application development, and responsible design. It will also offer an interdisciplinary approach, according to a statement.

“AI is evolving across engineering, science and humanities disciplines. It is extremely important to understand these multi-disciplinary connections to be successful in this field. The BTech in AI and data analytics is uniquely positioned to address this aspect. It is the first of its kind in the world,” said Prof V Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras.

The BTech Programme is offered through the Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI, established with a ₹110-crore endowment from Sunil Wadhwani, a distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras and co-founder of iGATE and Mastech Digital.

The programme, which has been designed from the ground up to focus both on the fundamentals of AI and how to build applications and a system-oriented design of AI, will offer academic flexibility, allowing students to tailor their learning journey through a wide range of electives from within the department and outside.

“AI is at a stage similar to where computer science was 30 years ago. It is poised to be a transformative technology and will be the defining technological development of this generation and possibly the next. We will ensure that students have a strong grasp of AI fundamentals, enabling them to pursue research careers if they choose,” said Prof. B Ravindran, Head of the Wadhwani School of Data Science and AI at IIT Madras.

The curriculum is divided into four parts: ‘Foundation in Sciences,’ which covers mathematics, sciences, and statistics; ‘Modeling Techniques,’ including convolutional neural networks and deep nets; ‘Training and Deployment of Models,’ focusing on algorithms; and ‘Domain Applications,’ integrating all these elements.