Centre for Modeling and Simulation
Savitribai Phule Pune University All Models Are False, Some Are Useful

CMS in Hindsight: Rashmi Kulkarni /* 2016 Feb 13, 12:33:14 */

Rashmi Kulkarni
Rashmi Kulkarni
Web Profiles
ResearchGate

Association with CMS
M.Tech. Programme in Modeling and Simulation

Epoch of Association
2008-2010

Pre-CMS Education, Occupation, Field
M.Sc. Microbiology

Post-CMS Education, Occupation, Field
Currently doing Ph.D. at IISER-Pune in Computation Biology, mainly focused on type-2 diabetes physiology.

Honours and Achievements
CSIR-NET JRF 2006/2009

Curricula and teaching programmes

The curriculum is suitable for students from various backgrounds, and for those who like to work in computational and mathematical application-oriented fields. It has enough exposure to learn and apply the concepts. The teaching approach is unique. Elective modules are very useful and could be organised as per the interests of the student.

Teachers

Coming from biology background, I was totally unaware of programming and computational techniques. It would suffice to mention that the teaching approach was to make us independent in learning and applying the techniques. It has helped me a lot during my Ph.D. Teachers were open to queries and discussions. There was in-house faculty and visiting lecturers. They were experienced in their teaching and research fields. Overall, emphasis was on learning the concept and then using it for computational application. This helped me to understand theory better.

Overall experience

Prior to M.Tech. in Modeling and Simulation, I had done M.Sc. in Microbiology. It was a shift to change the field. Initially, it was a bit difficult to go through mathematical and programming jargons – due to first-time exposure. But it was rewarding. The statistical tools and techniques covered, as well as the programming skills (especially R language) helped me a lot during my Ph.D. period. I got a quantitative perspective to look at biological problems. The only little drawback I feel is, there was less emphasis on differential equations modeling and real analysis. It was kind of a quick review. But apart from that, the programme was well organised with exposure to different skillsets required. Really suitable for multidisciplinary research.

Impact on career and growth

Yes, I could make a shift into computational biology due to M.Tech. easily.

Advice for current and future students

There is ample opportunity in research areas for students with computational and mathematical skills which can then be applied in their respective fields. For example, the number of researchers working in Pune-based institutions (IISER, NCL, Pune University) in mathematical biology has increased substantially in past 3-4 years. There is an active discussion group in computational biology (NNMCB) which meets once in month. Even there are biocomputing wings in the IT companies like TCS. Multidisciplinary collaborations will increase in coming years, and people with sound technical and multidisciplinary knowledge and backgrounds will be in demand.

Which direction should CMS grow in?

With advent of multidisciplinary areas like mathematical biology, biophysics, and computational chemistry, there is need to have such programmes where interested students – at least at M.Sc./B.E. levels – from ANY discipline would be eligible to learn computational and mathematical techniques. Applying computational tools in the domain area of research is a plus point and help people look at it from quantitative perspective. I feel that CMS is the right place to learn this. The entrance should be open to M.Sc./B.E. students from any discipline.



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