KnowDis Announces the KnowDis Award for Excellence 2021 to SPIC MACAY and Dr. Kiran Seth

Dr Kiran Seth, founder of SPIC MACAY and winner of the KnowDis Award for Excellence 2021

New Delhi (India), April 13: KnowDis, an innovative AI startup, has announced its KnowDis Award for Excellence for 2021 to SPIC MACAY and its founder Dr. Kiran Seth.

The past winners of this award include Prof PCP Bhatt and Prof SN Maheshwari.

Announcing the award, KnowDis founder Saurabh Singal said that SPIC MACAY and Dr. Kiran Seth have changed the landscape of Indian Classical Music and Culture in India, by popularising it through the length and breadth of the country, and even in several countries abroad. He said that instituting this award is a CSR endeavour for his company and a way to give back to society. KnowDis also honours contributions to Machine Learning research and has instituted an annual award called the KnowDis Machine Learning Award. The past recipients of the award—all of whom are eminent researchers in the field of Machine Learning—are Prof Mausam and Dr Manik Varma (2019), Dr Parag Singla (2020), and Prof Partha Talukdar (2021).

SPIC MACAY (Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth) is a non-political, nationwide, voluntary movement founded in 1977 by Dr. Kiran Seth, Professor-Emeritus at IIT Delhi, who was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution to the arts in 2009.

SPIC MACAY’s intention is to enrich the quality of formal education by increasing awareness about different aspects of Indian heritage and inspiring the young mind to imbibe the values embedded in it. It seeks to inspire youth through the experience of the mysticism embodied in the rich and heterogeneous cultural tapestry of Indian and World Heritage, with a hope that the beauty, grace, values, and wisdom embodied in these arts will influence their way of life and thinking and inspire them to become better human beings. For this, the most accomplished artistes of the country render programs of Indian classical music and dance, poetry, theatre, traditional paintings, crafts & yoga primarily in schools and colleges. In 2011, SPIC MACAY was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana award in recognition of its contribution to youth development.

Every year, they arrange more than 5000 programs in more than 1500 institutions, across almost 1000 cities, touching over 3 million students. All these programs are organized by thousands of volunteers—largely students, teachers, homemakers, retired people, professionals, young and old. SPIC MACAY celebrates Nishkaam Seva—the spirit of volunteerism—of giving selflessly without expectation, a value that is intrinsic to our culture, and important to nurture in today’s world.

Dr. Seth, while acknowledging the award, said that the success of the movement is all due to its volunteers.

KnowDis is an innovative AI startup that has built and deployed world class applications, specially catering to the fast-growing E-Commerce domain. Its Deep Learning models empower IndiaMART’s B2B platform. KnowDis has also made a foray into using AI for drug discovery.

The chief strength of KnowDis lies in the use of “language AI”, also known as Natural Language Understanding, or NLU. KnowDis is using cutting edge language AI technology in powering remarkable breakthroughs in real-world business situations. Currently, the focus has been using NLU to consider the relationships between words, even if they are far apart in a text, and to determine which words and phrases in a passage are most important to “pay attention to.” The company’s NLU based products and solutions are highly successful in the ecommerce and fashion industry.

Another “language” in which today’s cutting-edge NLU has begun to generate remarkable insights is the “language of life”. AI is playing an increasingly important role in the biomedical field, and solving complex problems in domains such as genomics as well as protein design. In collaboration with IIT Delhi’s Chemical Engineering department, KnowDis is also involved in cutting edge research to design antibodies using Artificial Intelligence.

KnowDis was founded by Saurabh Singal, a computer scientist from IIT Delhi and Carnegie Mellon. In addition to being a scientist at heart, he is deeply passionate about Indian classical music and believes that classical music is a form of meditation which transcends barriers of nationality, language and religion, leading to a more peaceful and hamonious society—a belief very much in line with the philosophy of SPIC MACAY.

Therefore, music finds a prominent place at the prestigious annual KnowDis AI conference, which is inaugurated by an invocation to the gods by a classical musician. At the most recent edition of this conference, the inaugural ceremony featured a recitation of Sarasvati Vandana by Pandit Shrinivas Joshi and Viraj Joshi, the son and grandson, respectively, of the legendary Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.

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