Founding Director (15th January 2010-30th June 2020)
Prof. Gonsalves continues his association with IIT Mandi as Professor Emeritus (Honorary) since 1st July 2020.
A native of Ooty in the Nilgiris, Tamilnadu, Prof. Gonsalves studied in local schools in Ooty. After graduation from Breeks Memorial School, Ooty, he joined IIT Madras where he completed his BTech in Electronics. He continued his education in Electrical Engineering, first at Rice University in Houston where he earned his MS, and then at Stanford University for his PhD. During his PhD, he did path breaking experimental research at Stanford and Xerox PARC that established the capabilities of the then nascent Ethernet data LAN for real-time voice traffic.Career Profile
He began his career in teaching as an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department in WPI, Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1989, he joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras. He served IIT Madras for 21 years, becoming Professor and Head. He also served as Head of the PG Senapathy Centre for Computing Resources. On 15th January 2010, he took charge as the first Director of IIT Mandi. He held this office for over a decade, till 30th June 2020.Institution Building as Founding Director, IIT Mandi (January 2010 – June 2020)
After joining IIT-Madras, along with 2 colleagues he started the TeNeT (Telecommunications and Computer Networks) Group with its vision of "world-class technology at an affordable price". Subsequently, he was a founding Director of the IIT-Madras Rural Technology Business Incubator (RTBI). Through TeNeT and RTBI, he helped IIT alumni and others found R&D and service companies that work towards the TeNeT vision. He placed a special emphasis on developing sophisticated telecom software with small-town talent. He accomplished this by choice of location in the Nilgiris, and by guiding programmers drawn mostly from towns and villages to develop telecom software products that are in commercial use in India and many other countries around the world.
Prof. Gonsalves is perhaps the first computer scientist working in academia in India to develop commercially successful products tailored to the needs of India. He was the software architect of award-winning telecom products including the corDECT WLL, DIAS, NovaSwitch and CygNet NMS. Some of these products are based on the pioneering soft-switching concept.
At IIT-Madras, he has been a Principal Investigator for R&D projects worth over INR 7 Cr., with sponsors from India and the US. He was actively involved in many other projects with a total value of more than INR 15 Cr. He collaborates with academia and industry in India, UK, US, Sweden and Ireland.
Prof. Gonsalves took charge as the first full-time Director of IIT Mandi in January 2010. Under his leadership, IIT Mandi has grown to from an Institute with only 97 students in 2009 to one with 1655 students (2019-20) and has graduated over 1500 alumni. It has a vibrant research culture, with 125 faculty who have brought in external research funding to the tune of INR 110 Cr. among others.Retirement from IIT Mandi
From a green-field project initiated in 2009, IIT Mandi today has 1.4 lakh sq. mt. constructed space with residential, academic and recreational facilities at par with the best higher education institutions in the world.
In the NIRF 2019 (National Framework Institute Ranking) of the Government of India, IIT Mandi was ranked 20th among all engineering colleges in India. It was also adjudged the best Institute among all categories in Himachal Pradesh. In the ARIIA 2020 (Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements) it was ranked 7th in a nationwide survey. Within a decade of its establishment, IIT Mandi has earned praise, including from the Indian Vice-President, and the Governor and Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, for establishing its unique identity in the education map of the country.
Prof. Gonsalves was instrumental in setting up IIT Mandi Catalyst, the first technology business incubator in Himachal Pradesh, in 2016. He also serves as the Chairman of its Board of Governors. Catalyst has helped over 75 startups since 2017, and is changing both the industry profile and entrepreneurial mindset in Himachal Pradesh. So far, Catalyst has secured external funding of INR 24 Cr. from various funding agencies.
Prof. Gonsalves has been appointed the National Project Coordinator for FarmerZone, a project that harnesses artificial intelligence for crop management advisories to small and medium farmers, initially helping over 1000 potato farmers in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. This prestigious project is funded to the tune of INR 9.7 Cr. (2018-2021) by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Another example of IIT Mandi achieving national leadership during his tenure: in 2018 IIT Mandi was nominated as the nodal institution for Germany in the nationwide SPARC (international researchers’ mobility) programme of Ministry of Human Resource Development.
In 2019, IIT Mandi became the first IIT to introduce a BTech programme in Data Science. Prof. Gonsalves has mentored other educational institutes in Himachal Pradesh by serving on their board. He has served as the Vice-Chairman of the State Higher Education Council, Himachal Pradesh (2014 – 2017), and as the Chairman, Board of Governors, Jawaharlal Nehru Government Engineering College, Sundernagar, Himachal Pradesh (2012 – 2017).
In 2017 he chaired the Joint Admissions Board (JAB) sub-committee for increasing female enrollment in BTech in IITs. The committee recommended increase in female enrollment in IITs from 8% in 2016 to 14% in 2018-19, 17% in 2019-20 and 20% in 2020-21 by creating supernumerary seats. As a result of this effort, and additional efforts at IIT Mandi including scholarships for female students and the setting up of a help-desk, IIT Mandi admitted 20.22 percent female students to its BTech programme for the Academic Year 2019-20. That is, there were 53 female students among a total of 262 BTech students admitted that year. This is the highest proportion of female students in a BTech programme in any of the 23 IITs. This effort has been a national success as well: Female enrollment in BTech in all IITs more than doubled from 8% in 2016 to 18% in 2019.
Since 2016, under Prof. Gonsalves' leadership, IIT Mandi has organized a unique, fully faculty-mentored induction or orientation programme for its new BTech students. The aim of this five-week programme is to provide training to the new students and help them in the transition from school to college, to improve their respective skills and proficiency, and to help them to appreciate the significance of engineering’s societal connect.
In keeping with IIT Mandi’s vision to bridge the gap between academia and the local community, Prof. Gonsalves initiated ‘Prayas’, a citizen’s forum with residents and administrators in Mandi town, and serves as its Chairman.
After over 10 years of his contribution as founding Director of IIT Mandi, he stepped down on 30th June 2020, leaving IIT Mandi with a strong foundation. Thereafter, Prof. Ajit Kumar Chaturvedi, Director of IIT Roorkee, took the charge of Director of IIT Mandi temporarily. Prof. Gonsalves continues his association with IIT Mandi as Professor Emeritus (Honorary) since 1st July 2020.Research, Teaching and Fellowships
An inspiring and popular teacher, Prof. Gonsalves has taught diverse courses. These range from introduction to computing and programming for freshers, to core courses such as computer organisation, networks and operating systems, to electives including distributed systems, device drivers practicum and network management systems.
Working in the areas of Networking and Distributed Applications, he has published over 70 papers in journals and conference proceedings, and 2 chapters in books. He has guided/co-guided 6 PhD and 30+ MS theses, and 100+ MTech/BTech projects. Prof. Gonsalves is a Life Senior Member, IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Senior Member, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) and Fellow & Life Member, IETE (Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers).