ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy hosted the second edition of the Engineering for Research (E4R) symposium in Pune on January 19, 2019. This edition focused on the need and approaches to understand, and compute complex systems. Discussions centered on how the noble missions of grand exploration and big science need engineering excellence to become a reality.
The E4R symposium hosted leading academicians, scientists, engineers and professionals from a diverse range of fields like physics, biology, economics and software engineering. The event saw representation from ISRO, University of Delhi, NIAS, IIM-A, IIT Mumbai and TCS Research who are at the forefront of the complex systems space.
Gunjan Shukla, Head of ThoughtWorks’ Engineering for Research Initiative had this to say on what E4R aims to accomplish, “We want to build a community that will work with research organizations to craft tools for scientific exploration. This exploration will go on to discover patterns, frameworks and the computer science of the future.” On the event, she said, “The E4R symposium is a platform for multidisciplinary collaboration. This year, we chose the theme; complexity in systems – an important scientific concern that emerges from interactions of parts within a system.”
On the pursuit of studying complex systems, Dr. Sanjay Jain, Head of Department of Physics and AstroPhysics, University of Delhi, who was the keynote speaker said, “Complexity is an integral characteristic of several systems that are crucial for human survival. The biosphere, a thin film just a few tens of kilometers thick on the earth’s surface, is one such system. This film harbours within itself several other complex systems and much of what we value: all life, ecosystems, human civilization including societies, intelligence, technology and more. Today, the integrity of several of these systems and the film that holds them is in question, but the tools to understand such complex systems are in their infancy. For our own survival we need to understand complex systems, and preserve, enrich and go beyond this thin film.”
On the partnership with technology companies, he added, “Technology companies can bring a new kind of focus and energy to the study of complex systems. They can also help build platforms that can be used by citizens at large, to catalogue and monitor changes in these systems, and transparently integrate disparate data and models.