Deekshatulu: IISc’s computer legend

The IISc Alumni Global Conference, which took off here at the IISC campus, saw the get together of legends from diverse fields with major accomplishments to their names. Dr B L Deekshatulu, a Padmashree awardee, is one such legend who goes back to IISc 55 years growing up with the institute when the Computer Science and Automation (CSA) Department took birth as school of automation. He was instrumental in setting up the department and laying its conceptual foundation. He designed and fabricated for the first time in India, grey scale and colour drum scanners for computer picture processing that has won him NRDC Award. Born on October 31, 1936, Deekshatulu is an eminent researcher considered a legend by IISc for his pioneering work in Digital Image Processing and Control Theory. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Deekshatulu said: “I have worked in several domains and I have worked in national institutions including the IISc. I did my ME in 1958-60 and PhD at IISc between 1960-64 and I was able to become a professor by the age of 33. I then joined the department which was known as the School of Automation, which in the later years became Computer Science and Automation Department. After many years, I went on to serve at the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad, CSSTEAP, Dehradun and the University of Hyderabad. During my days at IISc, I was able to institute digital image processing and control systems at the CSA as frontline courses. It is a matter of pride that after all these years, the courses remain and the students prefer to learn them. No better thing than students sustaining the courses by taking them as options.” What is the best memory of the department 55 years after first stepping into it? “In all my experience over these many years and having seen the way department is functioning, I feel the department is doing cutting-edge work. I remember how cutting edge was insisted on even in my times. The same trend continues even today. The contemporariness of the department remains as it was decades back. The students are all into hot domains and I am sure they will do very well outside. I remember very clearly the need to stress on research that is contemporary.” Deekshatulu’s academic range was awe inspiring – he worked also in areas like artificial intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, game theory, power systems, pattern recognition, neural networks and remote sensing. He is a Fellow of multiple academic bodies both in India and abroad and has served as director of NRSA. Prof Jayant Haritsa, faculty at CSA, said: “Dr Deekshatulu is one of the founding figures and architects of the CSA. The range he has covered laid a solid basis to the department.” A student, who has been following Deekshatulu’s work, said: “We have been engaged with his vision for a long time. We consider him a legend in our institute. His conceptual strength makes a strong difference to our learning.” He is currently the Chairman of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, College of Engineering, Hyderabad. He is also Distinguished Fellow at Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology, Hyderabad.

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