Kathmandu University (KU) is the third oldest university in Nepal located in Dhulikhel, Kavrepalanchok District, about 35Km east of Kathmandu. KU was established in 1991 with the motto “Quality Education for Leadership”. The university operates through its six schools and from premises in Dhulikhel, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.
Divon Lan, Product Manager, Next Wave Emerging Countries, Google Inc
with Kathmandu GTUG, we visited KU School of Engineering, especially Department of Computer Science & Engineering faculty and students.
I personally have never visited KU before but liked the overall surrounding and educational environment there. After visiting KU, their computer science faculty and interacting with engineering students – I would recommend KU to anyone if living outside Kathmandu Valley for education is not a big concern.
KU environment captured in snaps
Meeting the faculty
Meeting with KU faculty was good experience for Kathmandu GTUG as well. KU faculty are well versed with their educational requirements and have clear idea of how their research wings would contribute to the ICT development in the country. We had one hour meet with faculty but all those intellectual discussion, I could have listened to those discussions forever.
KU faculty have contributed to localizing Linux distribution. On Divon’s question about usefulness of this effort, Asso. Prof. Bal Krishna Bal pointed out that localized linux distrubution (NepaLinux) is not used widely in urban areas but is liked by people from rural villages.
I found one topic about localizing “Google Chrome OS” intriguing. Actually, in Nepalese context most people use computers for internet/communication purpose. Rather than focusing on localizing whole set of desktop environments and apps if we could work on localizing Chrome OS, which is particularly designed to be used as internet for everything – the discussion concluded – it would leave larger impact.
KU R&D has been involved in developing machine translation system for Nepali to English translation. They worked on “rule based” machine translation with 100K parallel words, output was satisfactory but not as expected. Work is going on for building Nepali OCR – recognition engine for Nepali language.
Faculty were positive to finally have a direct communication channel with Google. We are hopeful that this visit would open lots of possibilities for both KU and Google. On discussion about topics for research Divon emphasized to “work on one thing that is global.“
Giving focus to student’s tech inclination, KU department is positive to collaborate with Kathmandu GTUG for bringing android workshops in the university.
One important thing I noted during discussion was different views on current status of open source development and contribution in the country. People here in Nepal are aware of Open Source technologies, this is a good thing. But, when it comes to actually contributing to development of the projects and implementing algorithms for building software systems we find very less talent. Lack of expertise in open source contribution should be taken seriously. Everyone involved in Open Source sector in the country should work on transforming their open source knowledge to actual implementable development skills.
Q/A Session with Google representative
The students of engineering and computer science were very curious to know more about possibilities of working at Google. They were eager to know more about Google as a company and also Google as a helping hand for emerging countries like ours.
During the informal Q/A session at KU, Kathmandu GTUG have circulated quick feedback form to the students. We got 29 filled responses.
Participants : Overview
Gender wise participation seems better than TU but still is less.
The “other” response were Yes and with some explanations.
KU students seemed more interested in Android and Google Data APIs development. Thanks for https://www.dataxdev.com/.