Skip to main content

Virtual Labs launched

[21 March 2015] Update: The original URLs for the Software Engineering and Advanced Network Technologies Virtual Labs are temporarily not working. You can access these labs here:
vlssit.iitkgp.ernet.in/isad/isad/
and 
vlssit.iitkgp.ernet.in/ant/ant/

The Virtual Labs project has been formally launched today.

This is a day perhaps many of us have been waiting for long. The Virtual Labs is an ambitious project undertaken by Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) as part of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT) program. This project, I believe, has the potential to bring considerable improvement in science and engineering education in India. The world has changed, and learning (or teaching) is no more confined to the traditional books. Rapid progress in technologies and increasing accessibility to Internet gives ample scope to gain clear understanding of the subject matter. However, something still lacked there. Contents available online tend to provide theoretical knowledge. In many cases one doesn't get a hands-on exposure to related things and techniques.

Virtual Labs attempts to provide a online laboratory to overcome this lacking.



I've been involved with the development of two virtual labs (Software Engineering Virtual Lab and Advanced Network Technologies Virtual Lab) for more than a year. I've joined this project in 2010 after the pilot phase was over. I remember the initial days when we were struggling with the idea of a virtual experiment:
  • What could be called as an experiment in Software Engineering?
  • How could one possibly work online on a problem on say, class diagram?
  • Even if he is able to do so, how does the user get to know whether he is correct?
And there were many such questions. Not to forget, different technical issues that came along the course. For instance, I had a hard time in finding a software that could automatically generate UML diagram from user input. PlantUML finally saved me.

Apart from Software Engineering Virtual Lab, I've also been a part of the Advanced Network Technologies Virtual Lab. This lab, too, has been quite challenging. Nevertheless, together with other team members, all such challenges have been met till date.

That am a developer of these labs, of course, makes me proud. This is the largest project that I've undertaken till now. Work on these labs have given me exposure to the recent trends in web technologies. This is my first real-life work with Python and Django. And I feel I'm growing a taste in UI design as well. But what is more important: this project gave me a scope to contribute something towards my country and society. Being a "software guy", this is possibly the best way I could do so :)

Work on these two labs would be over in the coming few weeks. Kudos to the qualified team (Tuhin Chakraborty, Sujata Pal, Bibhudendu Pati, Arijit Roy, Tanay Chaki) who have contributed largely to these projects. Hope Virtual Labs would benefit the future scientists and engineers of our country!








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Text Highlighting in Latex

While preparing a manuscript with Latex, it is often useful to highlight the changes made in the current revision with a different color. This can be achieved using the \ textcolor command provided by Latex. For example, \textcolor {red}{Hello World} would display the string "Hello World" in red color. However, the final/published copy of the manuscript does not contain any highlighted text. Therefore, if a large volume of changes were made, it becomes tiresome at the end to find and remove all the individual portions of highlighted text. This can be circumvented by defining a utility command to switch highlighting on and off as desired. In the following, we define a new Latex command, highlighttext , for this purpose. The command takes only a single argument—the text to be highlighted.     \usepackage {color}    % For highlighting changes in this version with red color   \newcommand { \highlighttext }[1] { \textcolor {red}{#1}}   % Remove all text highlighting

The ONE Knowledge Base

The Opportunistic Network Environment (ONE) simulator has become largely popular and widely used in research on DTNs and Opportunistic Networks. The simulator has an associated friendly community, where users can ask questions and get their doubts clarified. Indeed, the community is vibrant and its members are useful. However, there are two issues with this community. First, the archives of the community's mailing list are not public. This is unlike many other similar lists hosted using Mailman, which are public and, therefore, can be searched using Google. Hence, time and again people have asked the question -- how to search the email archives? The second issue is largely due to the first. Due to the lack of searching facility over the archives, often same question tend to be asked by the new users repeatedly. People here are patient enough to reply to them. But such necessity could be entirely discounted had there been a facility to search the archives. In particular, it w

The ONE KB has a new home

The ONE Knowledge Base is now hosted at http://theonekb.pythonanywhere.com/ If you are unaware, the ONE KB allows you to search the old email archives of the simulator's community. Therefore, if you have any question related to simulation, you may query the existing database at the above link. Chances are good that your question might already have been answered previously. If not, you can still post an email to the community's mailing list. Have you tried the ONE KB already? How was your experience? Was it helpful? Let me know in the comments!