It is much easier for me to write about these programs now than it was in 2011. The reason is that I haven't traveled to most of the departments that are perceived as good for many years, and as I wrote in my blog in 2011, I wouldn't want to include any institute unless I have good information about it. So, my list is going to be rather small this year. It has three institutes from the older list:
- International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad
- Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani
Indeed, I am so impressed with the growth of IIIT Delhi, I have decided to join the faculty of IIIT Delhi from the next academic session. (Here you go, take everything I say on this blog with a pinch of salt. I am totally sold on IIIT Delhi. That could also mean that I may have some biases.) I will write a separate blog article on what all is great about IIIT Delhi some time in near future.
BITS Pilani is a place that I admire a lot. Every time I go there, I learn something new about how to be student friendly. I admire their flexibility, particularly their dual-degree programs, their admission process (BITSAT is any day better than JEE), and so on. One of their strengths is the diversity of people on the campus. It is not an IT focused institute, and has a large number of departments. The interaction with people from different disciplines can only help the students. Of course, they have a fantastic brand name and a very active and helpful alumni group, which is a huge plus for anyone joining BITS. But purely in terms of their IT/CSE strengths, I would rate them after the two IIITs. (You, the student, should be able to combine the pluses and minuses and decide the relative ranking for yourself. Everyone's mileage will vary.)
Now the newcomers. I have only one to add. And surprisingly, it is not an engineering college. It is a new university, which prides itself in being one of the finest universities for liberal arts education. Yes, I am talking about Ashoka University. It started just a few months ago, and the first under-graduate batch is in its second semester. They have several majors from humanities and social sciences, but they also offer a major in Computer Science. Of course, it is a three year program as of now, and not a BTech degree. So it is perhaps not a good fit on this page. Also, they have not been able to hire many faculty members. So there are issues. However, considering the quality of people whom they have recruited in different disciplines, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that we are seeing emergence of a truly world class university. The quality of students they have attracted in the very first batch is fantastic. The infrastructure they are building is great. The best part of the program is that you get a very liberal education. All under-graduate programs are supposed to be broad based, and in any engineering college when you do a degree in Computer Science, you will be exposed to other engineering disciplines, other science subjects, some humanities and so on. Ashoka too will give you a broad based education, but those non-CS courses would be mostly from liberal arts and may be a few from science, and I think this kind of broad education will be really useful and interesting for a whole lot of students.
Let me comment about some other institutes as well. While I have not visited DAIICT for many years (surprising since I have been to Ahmedabad dozens of time in this period, and I have many friends in DAIICT), I am told that the faculty student ratio has declined a bit in the last 4 years, but not to any worrisome degree. A few older stalwarts have retired, but the new faculty is continued to be recruited carefully. A real big problem is that there is tuition control by the state government, which means that the resources at its disposal are less than what they used to have, or what other similar institutions have. The admission is also regulated by the state government. They also had a change of leadership recently. We will need to see how it pans out for them. But overall, I am confident (even without a visit) that it remains a good place for IT education. If I visit them before the admission season, I will add more comments here.
IIIT Allahabad used to have a serious leadership issue. They now have a new leader (since last one year). I hope things are improving there.
Prof. I K Bhat moved from NIT Hamirpur to NIT Jaipur. And there have been several improvements in the department. My ranking for NIT Jaipur has improved as a result, though I wouldn't put them in the same category as the first three places.
I may add more information in the coming weeks.