MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

How Indian MIT and IIT Graduates Have Shaped Computer History

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[Recorded July 15, 2010] In the last fifteen years the very names Bangalore and Silicon Valley have become evocative of the important connections between India and the United States in the global IT industry. Historian Ross Bassett argues that the linkages between the two countries are far older and deeper than is widely known. In the course of his research, he found that Indian graduates of MIT significantly influenced the creation of modern technological India. In the colonial period, a small group of Indians, including some associated with Gandhi, went to MIT as an anti-colonial act and as a way to develop technological capabilities for India. Indian graduates of MIT played a key role in the founding of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), and in the years after 1947, were central figures in the Indian steel industry, the atomic program, and the space program. The Indian IT industry today is to an astounding degree the product of Indian graduates of MIT. Since 1965, Indian graduates of MIT and graduates of IIT have also played an increasingly important role in American technology and computing.

Bassett’s research is based on numerous research trips to India and scores of interviews. For this project he created a database of every Indian graduate of MIT in the 20th century. Bassett has published articles on Indian graduates of MIT and on IIT Kanpur. His work was profiled in the Economic Times of India and he presented at the Godrej Lecture in Business History in Mumbai in October, 2009.

This lecture features Dr. Bassett and T.M. Ravi an IIT graduate, Silicon Valley businessman, and member of TIE discussing the roots of the Indian IT industry and its influence on the computing history.


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  • who cares? the fact remains IITians have contributed a lot with other great minds in the world. Go and whine somewhere else or better think what good you can do to world if you cant appreciate good done by others

  • The plight of IITians, they get educated on Indian Tax payers' money, they exit India the moment they graduate, grow to be filthy rich, years later they feel guilty that they robbed the hopes and dreams of their fellow Indians, so they make a video to claim all the hard work Indians in India saying "We did all of it, that's why India is progressing". Why don't you just go fuck your Lamborghini man.

  • wow…coming from an american…well, can come only from eople who have their heads high up their own asses….not only individually, but also collectively as a country….

  • indian IT professionals have had a leading role to play in all of these…dont you know that,and sir we are not stealing obs,we are creating them ,indians have created a lot of jobs in the US ,please do ur own research and dnt get caught up in the hype

  • whats interesting is,we taught the world maths and science and then after british rule when most of indias glory was destroyed by them,we again didnt hesitate to take others help to build ourselves again.

  • when the british came to india,thr was no concept of education system or universities with them,so they learned from indian grukul system and setup institutes thr,and from thr the US caught on.

  • Jews Worship only Yahweh
    Christians Worship only Jesus Christ
    Muslims Worship only Allah
    And WE Hindus Worship More than Everybody
    We Have a 330 million gods and goddesses
    And Hinduism is Older Than This Earth
    So Hinduism is TRUE Religion We Have a Great Knowledge of All Aspect of Life

  • Please Note: The Graduates in Science & Technology…(10%) continue in a career
    in science & technology…(90%) enter into other fields i.e. business, finance, marketing etc..
    1. All the Computer engineers from India for one (1) company
    were brought to this country to work & to replace other workers because of their skills.
    2.The Computer engineering jobs lasted (8) years and they all returned home to India.
    3. No jobs were available even with their (8) year portfolio.

  • you need to understand how college admissions work. having a sibling that goes to harvard, and knowing numerous kids at the top schools, the last thing ANY college wants to see is a "student who stays all home studying". i guarantee you that these indians (and all students, for that matter) do not get accepted to harvard/stanford. the ones who get into harvard stanford are the ones described by the video

  • totally agree with you , also in the English language the alphabets from A to Z are not arranged in any logical or rational manner. There is no reason why F is followed by G or why P is followed by Q, etc. The alphabets in English are all arranged haphazardly and at random. On the other hand, Panini in his first fourteen Sutras arranged alphabets in the Sanskrit language in a very scientific and logical manner, after close observation of the sounds in human speech.

  • yes,there was a research done in which it was found that talking and reading in english uses only one part of the brain whereas reading and talking in hindi uses both parts of the brain which makes IQ better.

  • if u r frm us don't forget that ur prez has put an indain's(M. GANDHI) pic in his office.if u r frm uk then remember that prince Charles invited a simple bussinessman frm mumbai to india on seeing the biz's determination.
    andif u r frm any other nation eventhen i can bet dat there must bmany indians inur country earning more than what'sur income cuz theyr intelligent.and indians dont divide da world like ur doing byur comments.seeing ur attitude i can bet that u havedone nothing gud widur lyf

  • I respect those indian dudes. Most of them don't come from well off families, which causes them to work hard to attain the future that they want. Therefore they try reallyhard in school, and get really involved in their studies, thats why they usually kick ass in engineering and math. Americans usually just want to make profit, instead of a good product.

  • stuffs made in india r 4 the indians only…
    youtube fb & internet r all owned by indian??jst bcoz of some indian employees?? bullshit!!
    and most of all stop seeking for jobs in US…. :)

  • You thought the world maths and science? Hahahahahaha. What a small tiny tiny world you live in. Math is a collective effort accumulated over thousands of years from the Egyptians and even older cultures. You thought the world… riiight.

  • I have learned about India that is how I can say that you claim is wrong. The one with the over inflated ego here is you. It took the combined effort of many many cultures over hundreds and thousands of years to get math to where it is and yet you claim that "India taught the world maths." So no, my "ego" is not getting the better of me. Foolish claims should be checked.

  • Well my part in this "conversation" is done. You made a claim, you were unable to back it up. The only thing you keep saying is India has done "x" for the world. Speaking with someone who only thinks their country has done "x" for the world although it is wrong is pointless. 

  • Bcoz in India government don't have perfect track of income for everyone in India. and think now only 60 % of Indians are educated . . . what will happen to USA when 95% Indian would be educated . . . there might be more Indian on top jobs than American so start scare the pants off dude . . .

  • yes all this info you are getting on your tip of finger by google : CEO :Nikesh Arora : sounds Indian right ? laugh on your self . . . Miss America 2014 : Nina Davuluri sounds Indian like . . . here youtube keeps word limit meet me on Wikipedia and search out the CEO or CFO of most leading company . . . 

  • combined effort of cultures not really,it was done by indians,what is it that you have learned about india? would you care to share it? the only fool here is you,you know very little about history,which culture are you talking about? greeks,chinese arabians babylonians among others came here to study

  • the collective effort of thousand of years by other cultures came later effort and contribution of india continues to be ignored,credit continues to be given to arabs,europeans,greeks,chinese ….,you live in an ignorant world tiny or not

  • Look, I dunno about the "History" , but in the 21st Century, the biggest contribution an IITian has made to CS, is opening up . Indians today are devoid of a certain "aspiration", at least those Indians who NEED to have this quality. As a result, we are neither significant contributors to research nor entrepreneurship.

  • +ComputerHistory You state that there is an updated video, but both here and at the updated video you don't state the reason for the update. Why should I watch the new other video instead of this one? Why didn't you delete this old version?

  • I am a student of iit and i am disappointed to tell you that now iit's are not getting the same success it had during its peak time 20 years ago this is because the standard of iit students have gone down and also MNC's have stopped hiring indians for us jobs and the administration of us have also narrowed down the limit of migration for indians so that they do not overthrough them in startup success.

  • as i get from the lecture iit's were so successful for its initial stage because of the association of iit's with the us and foreign universities but now the state of iit's have degraded a lot because the foreign support have ended now.

  • This report proves how Indians have played a key role in shaping many fields of research in many areas from Maths to Computer History. Such success stories inspire budding engineers to achieve milestones in our field!

    Mohan Bajaj,
    Engineering student at Glocal University,
    U.P. (India)

  • I do not see any IITiand and IIMS did something for India. They are highly successful only in USA, they flee India by study with subsidy money and ditch India and work for USA.

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