Panel 14: Technology for Development - Computing at IIMA

Panel 14: Technology for Development - Computing at IIMA

IIMA's tryst with computing dates back to its first full-time director, Ravi Matthai, who encouraged the acquisition of a minicomputer-based time-sharing system in 1970-1971. With the formation of the Computer and Information Systems Group in the mid-1970s, several programs on computers in management were launched and many research assignments taken up. In the late 1970s, IIMA acquired another advanced mini-computer (PDP-11/70) with Network DBMS under multiprogramming, multi-user environment.

The 1980s saw a number of projects on the application of computing to development (for instance, the design of branch canals and distributaries of the Narmada network of Gujarat). The Institute upgraded its computing infrastructure to VAX (super-mini), with multiple languages (FORTRAN, COBOL, Basic and Pascal), DBMS and Cathode-Ray Tube terminals.

The early 1990s were the years of 'networking', with IIMA transitioning from mini-computer-based computing to end-user and distributed computing environments. Faculty and the administrative departments were provided personal computers with shared services through local-area-networks. Campuswide connectivity and the internet gave a boost to research and consulting assignments. Asynchronous communication and electronic notice boards became the norm. A major plan for state-of-the-art distributed computing services was put in place in 1999. The new millennium saw the enhancement of a distributed computing environment to a powerful and robust switch-based network with optical-fibre cable backbone covering all parts of the campus.

Recent years have seen the development of an integrated information and communication technology infrastructure, a closer integration of IT and learning approaches, and sophisticated administrative applications.

Faculty members and staff associated with computing at IIMA, for instance, N. R. Narayana Murthy, and a few alumni, have contributed significantly to India's emergence on the global IT stage.