non-intelligent systems.

bhOndOO’s cousin Tingu who is undergoing a BTech in Computer Science comes to IISc on a weekend visit. bhOndOO takes him around campus on Saturday afternoon.

“This is the juice center.”.

“Oh! Quite reasonable prices. Let’s have Orange juice.”.

bhOndOO’s face portrays worry and he tries, “We will have it later.”.

“No, no. It is good to have juice after lunch.”.

“But I am full.”.

“But I want Orange juice.”.

“Okay. Actually, … I forgot to bring my wallet.”, bhOndOO.

Tingu looks at bhOndOO as if he is looking at a beggar.

“Alright. I will pay.”, Tingu offers and continues, “Two Orange juice.”.

After both of them finish the juice without speaking a word, Tingu pays the bill. bhOndOO feels embarrassed.

I should make sure I do not take him near tea-board and Prakruthi.

They start walking and to break the silence, bhOndOO starts, “Tingu, this is the new hostel complex that is coming up. Unlike most other buildings in campus, this is going to have seven stories and is probably going to be the tallest building in campus.”.

“Nice. When will it be ready?”.

“After a couple of years.”.

“Oh! So you will get a chance to stay in this!”.

bhOndOO feels it almost to be an insult and he replies firmly, “No, I will graduate before that.”.

Tingu looks compassionately at bhOndOO. A faint mocking smile appears on his face and he utters the three googly words that always form a dominant strategy in conversation, which can make any research student simply shut up, let alone bhOndOO. The words are “Are you sure?”.

They continue walking.

“This is a courier shop. The other side is bicycle shop.”.

Tingu looks at bhOndOO without any expressions. bhOndOO does not understand the meaning but gauges that something is coming — and it does, “Do you have better places to show in IISc?”.

bhOndOO keeps quite and he understands that his only hope is the Main Building.

bhOndOO takes him to the open area near J N Tata statue.

“This is the Main Building where administrative offices of big-shots are located. And this is Jamsetji Tata, the founder of IISc.”.

Tingu looks at the building, then at the statue, “Impressive.”.

A smile of satisfaction appears on bhOndOO’s face, but lasts only for a short while.

“This is a government institute, right?”.

“Yes.”.

“Then how come you don’t have the Indian Tricolor on the building?”.

bhOndOO appreciates the observation in mind, realizes that he should defend his institute and remembers some conversation on iiscstudents Yahoogroup to start, “Oh! That! That is a long story. According to the National Flag Code of India, the Tricolor can be erected only from the sunrise to the sunset on regular days.”, and bhOndOO looks at Tingu as if the explanation in his long story is over.

“So?”.

“So… a person has to do it everyday at sunrise and sunset.” and bhOndOO stops again.

“So?”.

“Can’t you see, it is going to be tough doing it everyday. Further, climbing there is risky.”.

“And therefore you have devised a mechanism of taking it down permanently?”.

“Not permanently, we do hoist the flag on the Republic Day and the Independence Day…”.

bhOndOO has to stop his sentence receiving a stern look from Tingu. The silence between them lasts for just over three seconds, which is finally broken by Tingu’s sarcastic remark.

“I am impressed.”.

bhOndOO is now worried. What impression of the institute I am giving to this young man! I should encourage him to join research and all my attempts are turning out to be futile. I must do something.

“Okay, Tingu. Let’s go to CSA department.”.

“CSA?”.

“Computer Science and Automation.”.

“Oh! Your department!”.

bhOndOO smiles and feels confident. CSA is a place where I can sure impress him.

“What is this Ashoka Marg?”, Tingu asked looking at the board in front of CSA.

“Oh! We have all Ashoka trees on this road. Hence this road is named that way.”.

“That’s marvellous. The road really looks royal with the presence of Ashoka trees on both sides of the road.”.

“Thanks.”, bhOndOO’s involuntary happy response.

“You planted all these trees?”.

“Why? No!”.

“Then why are you taking the credit?”.

bhOndOO gets a slap on the face. For lack of options, he enters the department. He knows that he is on a difficult mission with Tingu around and has lost several battles; but he wants to win the war.

“Good morning Vaidya Ji.”, bhOndOO greets the security guard at the CSA entrance.

“Good afternoon, Sir.”.

bhOndOO asks Tingu to make an entry into the visitors’ book.

“Why so much security?”, Tingu enquires as they start going towards Computing Lab.

“To secure some intelligent brains in the department.”.

bhOndOO manages to add humour to the situation and the three of them laugh.

“What are the rooms on that side?”.

“That is Theory Lab.”.

“What work is done in that lab?”.

In mind: They watch movies. Verbally: “Well, … they do theory work.”.

Tingu’s questioning face forces bhOndOO to elaborate, “Okay, let me explain. CSA has three main groups of research: Theory, Systems and Intelligent Systems. Theory covers areas like Algebra, Algorithms, Graph Theory, Verification. Systems covers Architecture, Compilers, Database Systems, Operating systems. Intelligent Systems covers Machine Learning, Data Mining and Game Theory.”.

“Which area do you work in?”.

“I work in Compilers.”, bhOndOO announces proudly.

“That means… you work in non-intelligent systems!”.

bhOndOO is clean-bowled. bhOndOO has never thought that his area of work would ever be classified as “non-intelligent” — almost allitering with the meaning of his name “non-intellectual“. For a couple of seconds, bhOndOO does not know what to say and they both keep staring at each other.

Tingu’s inference puts not only bhOndOO’s but the work of all the great researchers in the areas of Compilers, Architecture and Database Systems at stake. If bhOndOO does not respond, then he confirms that all of them are non-intelligent. But he cannot simply respond anything, Tingu is a young man with clear thoughts. If bhOndOO’s answer is unsatisfactory, Tingu is going to tear him down with more questions.

But we all know that bhOndOO is b-O-n-d. He thinks deep and replies, “Actually, you are right. I work in non-intelligent systems. Therefore, to get work done in this area, we researchers have to be doubly intelligent. In contrast, in case of intelligent systems, the systems are themselves so intelligent that even a dumb person can become a researcher there.”.


With due apologies to the appropriate researchers.

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14 Responses to “non-intelligent systems.”

  1. sunil Says:

    Quite Impressive !!!!

  2. Sudhira Says:

    LoL! Good one!!

  3. Satish Says:

    Good one

  4. Jk Says:

    In mind “They watch movies” – Awesome. Whats the procedure to get into this course 😉

  5. vinay Says:

    best!!! comic, sarcastic and also touching upon the issue of our national flag on the main bldg…you have given some cues there..
    loved Tingu…younger crop are invariably like him
    and the last answer was a winner 🙂

  6. Balaji Vishwanath Says:

    Its funny that co-incidentally, I visited the campus to meet a senior same time, same day and half of what you have written in this post, really happened. It was lime juice though, not a Btech student, security was wished in a similar way and visited the buildings in almost the same order. Conversations between this senior and myself were pretty close to the stuff written here, in some places.

  7. iisc Says:

    Balaji, I never said that the stories here are work of fiction ;). No don’t worry, I was not spying on you. But really it is interesting to know the similarities.

  8. iisc Says:

    Vinay, after your comment on the bicycle drive story, your current comment almost puts me in the relief of refinding myself. Thanks.

  9. Balaji Vishwanath Says:

    The way he showed the main building with pride and how we moved on to the departments was very similar. Till I read fully and then of course till logically thinking about it, I had a strange feeling that my friend could be this blog’s author. Good post. It felt incredible. I have to visit again soon!

  10. Kiran Tikare Says:

    lol, wonderful bhondoo, intelligently un-intelligent guy. 🙂

  11. Thirumalesh Says:

    I think our national flag is hoisted even on regular days………..

    Why did you not mentionopearating systems under your systems classfic……

  12. iisc Says:

    Thirumalesh, OS is added. Thanks for pointing it out.

  13. Swaprava Says:

    I’m not sure if any tingu existed, but even if it doesn’t, your conversation with you (tingu) is interesting. Why don’t you visit Tingu’s institute someday and ask a few similar questions and post it as well?

  14. Vamsi Says:

    Awesome ! one of the best of bhOndOO’s till date 🙂

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