Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineeing(GATE) for Instrumentation

There are not many materials available to guide Instrumentation Engineering students who have qualified in Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). Having faced this difficulty myself earlier I'm posting the information I've gathered on higher studies available for instrumentation engineering graduates in India along with the syllabus.

Instrumentation being a not so common course for graduate studies, there are only limited seats as well. The GATE score and not the rank is the sole criterion, apart from test and interview in certain cases for selection. So even if you have got a rank of less than 100 it doesn't guarantee you a seat. A score in excess of 600 is needed for getting popular courses in IITs. This year only around 4300 students took the exam where as it was 5300 last year. This doesn't mean that the competition has become easier as the score depends on the number of persons taking the exam as well. In 2006 the first ranker got a score of 1000. This year its less than 900.

IISc, Bangalore and IIT Kharagpur offer specialized courses in Instrumentation. Control System courses are offered in all IITs except IIT Guwahati. Those interested in Microelectronics can take up courses at IISc and IIT Bombay. Now I will expalin the admission process at each IITs and IISc. Core branches are highlighted.

IISc Bangalore
IIT Bombay
IIT Delhi
IIT Kanpur
IIT Kharagpur
IIT Madras
IIT Roorkee

IISc Bangalore

1.M.Tech Instrumentation: There is not interview for this course. And usually they select only those among top ten. The remaining seats are left vacant. But from what I have heard the courses are mainly based on material sciences and sensors. One more thing to tell. Make sure you contact some one studying there before taking this.

2.M.E. Aerospace: This course is related to control and dynamics. There are about 1 to 2 seats and admission is directly on basis of GATE rank.

3.M.E. MicroElectronics: This is a VLSI course. Selection is based only on GATE rank. Only 1 or 2 seats for Instrumentation (varies every year)

4.M.E. System Science and Automation: Only one seat for Instrumentation. Mostly a Computer science course. The areas of study are Signal Processing, Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, Manufacturing Systems, Robotics, Computer Vision, Decision and Control theory, Real Time Systems.

5.M.Tech Electronic Design & Technology: Selection is on the basis of written test and interview. Generally basics of electrical and electronics are asked in the written test. Cutoff for call for test is 98 %tile (around Rank 100 for Instrumentation) which is very low compared to other courses.

6.M.Tech Computational Science: Proficiency in programming is a prerequisite.This is a multidisciplinary program addressing : supercomputing, parallel and distributed computing, computational issues in large scale problem solving and simulation in science and engineering, numerical techniques and algorithms, data management and scientific visualization.

IIT Bombay

Direct admission is offered to those with high GATE score. The remaining seats are filled by test and interview. Also one can opt for 3 year M.Tech through research assistantships. This requires exceptional laboratory skills and selection will be through tests and interview.

1.Control and Computing: This is a control system course. The areas of study are Linear Systems Theory, Optimal Control & Optimization, Systems Modeling & Identification, Control of Distributed Parameter Systems, Nonlinear Systems, Modern Filter & Network Theory, Behavioral System Theory, Computational Methods in Electrical Engineering etc.

2. Power Electronics & Power Systems: The main areas of study are Power System Analysis and Computation, Power System Protection and Switchgear, FACTS, HVDC and Power Quality, EMI, EMC and EM field computations, Electrical machines: modeling, analysis, design and control, Power Electronics Converters. As you can see this is a course meant for EE graduates though instrumentation students can also apply

3. Microelectronics: This is a VLSI course. Probably the best in India and most sought after EE Dept at IITB.

4. Electronics Systems: This is a course mainly on embedded systems with some amount of VLSI in it. The main areas of study are Signal Processing Applications, Speech Processing, Electronic Instrumentation, Biomedical Electronics etc.

5. Dynamics & Control: This course comes under the Aerospace Engineering Dept. The areas of study includes Dynamics and control of smart flexible structures, Spacecraft attitude control, cooperative control of autonomous agents, theoretical issues in dynamics and control of non linear systems, Control design for MAVs, Kalman filtering and sensor fusion.

6. Biomedical Engineering: This is a course even doctors can apply. In the first semester students with backgrounds in physical sciences and engineering take courses in physiology. In the second semester, all students have to go through a core course on Biostatistics and Design of Experiments. Students with backgrounds in physical sciences and engineering undergo a compulsory course in Clinical Physiology. Elective are offered in bioelectricity, biorheology, ergonomics, medical instrumentation, medical optics, medical physics, physiological systems modeling, signal processing, etc. A rank of around 50 can get you direct admission.

7. Reliability Engineering: This interdisciplinary program aims to offer a balanced training in the scientific and technological aspects of Reliability Engineering. For 2007 admissions there will not be any tests or interview and admission will be only on the basis of GATE score.

8. System and Control: This is a pure Control engineering course and recommended only for those who are very much interested in theoretical aspects of Control theory. Most of the seats are for GATE Instrumentation students.

9. Industrial Engineering and Operations Research: Students from any discipline can apply. Only a low GATE score is required. The group is interested in research related to modeling, quantitative analysis and optimal resource allocation from decision problems. Broad areas of application are in manufacturing systems, supply chains, logistics, transport including railways, finance, services, infrastructures and other industrial systems.

10. Technology and Development: Only a low GATE score is required. The core courses will deal with important rural resource assessment (land, water, energy), techniques for choice of technology, development theory and policy, social science research methods and system dynamics models, and project management.

IIT Delhi

For IIT Delhi you have to apply to each department separately paying separate fees.

1. Control & Automation: A control system course. (Cut off score for 2006 – 613)

2. Power Electronics, Electrical Machines & Drives: Mainly for EE students. (Cut off score for 2006 – 613)

3. Power Systems: Hard core EE subject. (Cut off score for 2006 – 613)

4. Industrial Engineering: Similar to Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Bombay. Conducted by Mechanical dept.

5. Instrument Technology: Very good subject as far as instrumentation is concerned. Most of the subjects are instrumentation related. Placements are also good. Also the cut off is very low. Last year the cut off for interview was only 425.

6. Telecom Technology & Management: Nothing much to relate with instrumentation. . (Cut off score for 2006 – 570)

IIT Kanpur

I’m not so sure of the admission procedures at Kanpur. I’m just repeating the information available in the net. They are not giving specific names for courses in the brochure. It appears that one has to apply to the electrical dept. specifying our field of interest.

1. Power & Control: This course is about Power Electronics and Control Engineering. Selection is based on test and interview.

2. Microelectronics, VLSI and Display Technology: This is a purely VLSI course. Selection procedure is same as above.

IIT Kharagpur

1. Control System Engineering: Pure control stuff. Have some signal processing as well. Earlier if was preferred to Instrumentation. (Cut off score for 2006 – 605)

2. Instrumentation: Hard core instrumentation along with signal processing and electronics. Now preferred to Control Systems due to better placements. (Cut off score for 2006 – 626)

3. Reliability Engineering: Same as Reliability Engineering at Bombay. (Cut off score for 2006 – 595)

4.Industrial Engineering and Management: Similar to Industrial Engineering elsewhere.

5. Human Resources Development and Management: It is an interdisciplinary course and covers different aspects of management of human resources and problems of human management systems in industrial and other organizations. Offered by Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

6. Computational Seismology: The course was launched in 2005 to train manpower in Seismology to tackle earthquake disasters.

7. Media and Sound Engineering: This course started only last year. It is offered by Centre for Education Technology.

8. Medical Imaging and Image Analysis: This course starts from this year. Offered by School of Medical Science and Technology.

IIT Madras

1. Power Systems and Power Electronics: One can specialize in Control and Instrumentation. Selection based only on GATE score.

2. Applied Mechanics: One can specialize in Biomedical Instrumentation. This is a highly specialized field and the most of the topics are related to sensors and material science.

3.Aerospace Engineering: Focus is on aerodynamics, space technology, design, propulsion and structures. Instrumentation students will have to undergo certain basic core courses during the first two semesters.

4.Aerospace Engineering (Composite): The program includes study of core courses in the Aerospace Engineering stream and specialisation in composites technology giving training on the development, manufacture, design and use of composite materials

5. Industrial Mathematics & Scientific Computing: The curriculum is interdisciplinary in nature and the course contents provide a broad understanding of the different aspects of applied mathematics and computer applications to train the manpower required to deal with the problems faced by industry through knowledge of mathematical modeling and scientific computational techniques so as to achieve reduced costs, flexibility and high quality.

6. Solid State Technology: This discipline aims at teaching students the basic concepts of solid state technology and its recent applications. The topics include synthesis and characterisation of materials, semiconductors, magnetic materials, optical and optoelectronic materials, superconductors, solid state ionics and semi conductor devices.

IIT Roorkee

1. Measurement and Instrumentation: Conducted by the EE Dept. this is a core instrumentation course.

2. Control and Guidance: Conducted by Electronics and Computer Engineering Dept. Only 7 seats are there altogether.

3. System Engineering and Operations Research: Conducted by the EE Dept. Similar to Operations Research elsewhere.

4. Corrosion Engineering: Conducted by Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Dept. Interdisciplinary program.

Apart from these course work oriented M.Tech and M.E. there are research oriented M.S. programs. These are offered at IISc, where it is called M.Sc(Engg) and IITs at Delhi and Madras. These require only a lesser GATE score (some times a mere qualification in GATE) and mostly the selection is performed only on the basis of test interview. But I have one word of caution. Take up M.S. only if you have genuine interest in research. International papers in a must for completion and the duration of the course can extend well beyond two years.

Selection of a guide among the faculty is the critical factor. So in case you are planning to take up any of these keep in constant touch with some students of that dept. and try to know more about the faculty. I have heard the cases of guides prolonging the award of degree forcing the students to convert their post graduate studies to doctoral level. I'm in no way trying to discourage you. But better be cautious.

Hope this blog has been useful to you. If I have missed out anything or if there are any mistakes please feel free to post your comments. You can post your queries too. I'll try to reply as fast as I can.