A prestigious engineering and research school born of the city's ambition to gain Silicon Valley status, IIIT Hyderabad as a college has remained something of a mystery. While the rest of the city is swarming with engineering students, this lot stays hidden away, and only emerges from its hallowed hibernation to host the occasional rock concert at college's immensely popular annual festival, Felicity.
IIIT Hyderabad was founded on the principle that the best technical education is the kind that closely involves the industries it affects. The institute was set up jointly by the Government Of Andhra Pradesh, NASSCOM and corporate partners including IBM
. These companies have also set up corporate schools on campus to encourage research.
Research is big on IIIT-H's agenda; it operates state-of-the-art labs in areas like Embedded Systems, Communication Networks and even Robotics (in collaboration with CMU). But ask the students what they love about college, and it's unlikely they'll gush over the infrastructure. At least not right away.
One of the top reasons IIIT-H scores high on the students' charts is the complete freedom they're given, academically and otherwise. Being IT-oriented, the college offers B. Tech. degrees only in Computer Science and in Electronics and Communications. The difference at IIIT-H is that you're introduced to the intensive techie subjects in the first year itself. Even though there are mandatory electives to be taken, you can do them at your own pace during the 4-year course.
And being so far away from civilization (and here we mean Hyderabad) has its advantages. Students have the run of the campus any time of day, labs are open almost 24hrs, each hostel room has Internet connectivity thanks to wireless LAN, and best of all, no wardens stalking the corridors! The wildest event happening after midnight will probably be a yak-session at someone's room, but still.
The crowd chills out playing cricket and football, and the most active clubs include the Quizzers and Debate. Which is not, of course, to say that there isn't any cultural activity happening. Apart from Felicity, there are also many intra-college events like Splash, to release creative energy. For hanging-out purposes there's always the canteen, but if you want to actually eat something, your best bet is travel to Madhapur.
As mentioned earlier, students here are in charge of their own agenda. They can take up Teaching Assistantships, and they're give full responsibility of all campus events, technical and cultural. So while IIIT-H has a whole lot going for it, from building Asia's largest digital library to student research exchange programs to Microsoft and MIT, it's really the institute's attitude that puts it on top.