Who could have thought of implementing Blockchain in order to enhance cybersecurity before Ms Vyshnavi Garipelly? The answer is simple- No one. That is why Ms Vyshnavi has been able to secure a Guinness Record with her pioneering research “Using blockchain technologies implemented on cybersecurity”, which was published on International Conference on Recent Challenges in Engineering and Technology (ICRCET) on 30 October 2020. Ms Vyshnavi is currently in the final year of her Computer Science and Engineering undergraduate degree.

Blockchain enables security systems, deployed in organizations, to use distributed key public infrastructure to authenticate devices and users. Blockchain’s robust DNS entry approach can improve security by removing a single target that can be compromised. At the same time, it provides the ability to resolve single attack points and multiple targets, such as a database, network, or data centre, at a single access point, and provides the ability to resolve a single point of attacks while simultaneously resolving multiple target attacks, such as a server-sided attack. She has explored the possibility of Blockchain Technology into two significant areas of Cyber Security¬

1. Implementing Security in Private message
As conversational commerce becomes more popular, a lot of metadata is collected from customers during these exchanges on social media. While many messaging systems use end-to-end encryption, others are beginning to use Blockchain to keep that information secure. At the moment, most messaging apps lack a standard set of security protocols and a unified API framework for enabling “cross-messenger” communications. The emerging secure blockchain communication ecosystems tackle this issue and work towards creating a new system of unified communication. Blockchain is an excellent solution for that as it secures all data exchanges and enables connectivity between different messaging platforms. Many companies are looking at Blockchain to secure their personal and private information exchanged over chats, messaging apps and social media. They hope to make it into a secure platform with the help of Blockchain and impenetrable to foreign attacks. Ms Vyshnavi has improved the security through these three methods-

A. Improved PKI
PKI or Public Key Infrastructure keeps messaging applications, emails, websites and other forms of communication secure. But they all rely on third-party certification authorities to issue, revoke or store key pairs. These certification authorities can become an easy target for hackers with spoof identities, trying to penetrate encrypted communications. On the other hand, when keys are published on a blockchain, it leaves no scope for a false key generation or identity theft as the applications verify the identity of the person one is communicating with.

B. Intact Domain Name System (DNS)
The DNS is an easy target for malicious activities as hackers can bring down the DNS service providers for major websites like Twitter, Paypal and others. A Blockchain approach to storing these DNS entries can improve the security extensively because it removes that one single target which can be compromised.

C. Diminished DDoS attacks
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is an attack in which multiple compromised
computer systems attack a target, such as a server, website or another network resource, and cause a denial of service for users of the targeted resource. This forces the system to slow down or even crash and shut down, thereby denying service to legitimate users or systems. This problem can be solved by integrating Blockchain into decentralized solutions which can protect against such attacks. “Nowadays, multiple measures for security are being developed and adopted, and yet threats develop and adapt itself accordingly. However, with Blockchain, we now have a vast scope of ensuring that the data is safe,” says Vyshnavi.

2. Transaction security developed by COIN APP.
COINAPP is an easy-to-use cryptocurrency application for resource-constrained businesses, that are not currently equipped to handle the ledger information securely. COINAPP replaces third-party transaction vendors, and it keeps all transactional data between two peers encrypted. The boosted level of security helps companies to keep transparent records in a public sphere.

With the internet shrinking the world into a global village, more and more people are joining social media. The number of social media platforms is also on the rise. More social apps are being launched with each dawn as conversational commerce gains popularity. Vyshnavi’s research has a massive impact on society, as in the recent past, numerous attacks have been executed against social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. These attacks resulted in data breaches with millions of accounts being hacked and user information landing into the wrong hands. Blockchain technologies, if well implemented in these messaging systems, may prevent such future cyberattacks. COINAPP also has huge industry impact as it can be easily integrated with platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger etc. No matter where or how it is applied, the key factor in using Blockchain as a cybersecurity method is decentralization. When access control, network traffic, and even data itself are no longer held in a single location, it becomes much more difficult for cybercriminals to exploit. This research has the potential to strengthen security, decreasing vulnerability.

“Joining SRM University-AP was the best decision of my life. The continuous support from the faculty has completely moulded me into thinking more logically and creatively. It was wonderful to explore the possibilities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the Semester Abroad Programme. I came across with success when I won some of the hackathons at Denver and California with the bounties. The opportunity to work on Blockchain and cybersecurity knocked on my door while I was staying here,” exclaimed Vyshnavi.

Ms Vyshnavi is now willing to take her research further. She always wanted to do something that can contribute to society meaningfully. Hence, she is looking for industry collaboration to implement her research in the real world to make a difference.

Enhancing surveillance by enabling CCTV cameras to produce actionable insights using AI-ML technology

With the vision of bringing surveillance cameras to life, Sourav Sanyal, Miran Junaidi, and Saurabh Ghanekar, 4th year, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, founded OurEye.ai, an automated, end-to-end video intelligence solution for enterprises to monitor surveillance camera recordings, leveraging pre-existing CCTV-IP infrastructure. The young entrepreneurs extend their gratitude to SRM AP for shaping their career from the inception of their erudite journey with the university. Miran says, “The pioneering active learning pedagogy at SRM AP in place of a memory-based rote learning method enabled us to evolve as learners. Also, the approachable management at SRM AP supported and encouraged our ideas, steering us to the path of success. Today we feel honoured for achieving the ability to give back to the university that made us. We have the best talent at SRM AP and have employed 6 students on a part-time role.”

The idea of starting a company infused with innovative technology was instilled among the students by the student-run technological club of SRM AP, Next Tech Lab. Miran narrates, “ SRM AP gave us something that no other university has, which was Next Tech Lab. I met my batchmates, the co-founders of OurEye, at Next Tech Lab, where we built so much every day round the clock while having fun with technology. We could not be more grateful for the opportunity and freedom that we got at the lab. Also, SRM AP has Introduced us to mentors like Adithya and Anshuman, founders of Next Tech Lab, who have been there for us every single day and helped us in developing a problem solving and curious mindset.”

Along with sponsoring over 5 international conferences, SRM AP enabled the brilliant students to study a semester at the University of California, Berkeley as part of the Semester Abroad to broaden their horizon of knowledge. The trio envisioned this start-up while they were pursuing their semester at UCB. Miran remembers that when he lost his mobile phone in a park, they had to wait for 10 days for the CCTV supervisor to analyze the cameras. The three students identified that capital expenditure by businesses on setting up cameras is huge and return on investment is low. This drove them to ideate a platform that will send real-time notifications to the supervisors through embedded Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology. OurEye enables businesses to deploy a remote auditor/quality controller through existing cameras. Based on industry requirements, the platform is programmed to observe and monitor, producing actionable insights to improve the business operations and scale.

Initially, the students commenced their journey by showcasing their platform in international hackathons. Recalling, Miran says, “The biggest challenge was to raise funds as it entails the daunting task of sharing your idea and vision with the rest of the world.” OurEye received $35000 from Sanjay Mehta led 100X.VC, and currently, comprises of 23 team members including the 3 co-founders. Being used by 11 companies across 17 outlets, the start-up generated a revenue of Rs. 1.7 million in the recent financial year. The students inform, “We’re learning so many new things and growing so very fast. We are now attempting to raise a new round of funds from foreign institutional venture capital. We also plan to add more features to the platform, hire a sales team to expand the client base to hospitals, schools, and commercial spaces. Very soon after the pandemic, we would be opening an office in Bangalore that would house 35 engineers, and other employees.”

Dr Goutam Kumar Dalapati, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, published a research paper “Improvement on Photoresponse Properties of Self-Powered ITO/InP Schottky Junction Photodetector by Interfacial ZnO Passivation” in the reputed Journal of Electronic Materials, Springer. Photodetection has emerged as the key technology in contemporary science because of their wide range of applications in daily life and in industry, including astronomy, surveillance, environmental monitoring, machine vision, and cameras in smart phones. Commercial photodiodes should meet the criteria of high charge carrier mobility, small exciton binding energy, and higher stability. This intrigued Dr Goutam to indulge in the study of photodetector which is essential to improve several electrical parameters such as low power consumption, and higher sensitivity.

In this research, Dr Goutam developed a high-performance photodetector using Indium phosphide/indium tin oxide (InP/ITO) semiconductor metal junction. He explains, “Photodetection in semiconductors follows the principle of generating electron-hole pairs under incident light higher than or equal to its bandgap. In Schottky type photodiode, at thermal equilibrium, the Fermi levels of the metal and the semiconductor are equalized, and a transfer of electronic charge occurs from the semiconductor to the metal. Moreover, these charge transport properties can be simply tailored by compositional engineering, which provides plenty of space to modulate the performance metrics of the photodetectors. During my research, the atomic layer deposition of zinc oxide (ZnO) on the InP surface was found to increase the valence band offset for current conduction in the photodiode. Photoresponse properties were believed to improve through effective hole blocking by the ZnO interface layer which further prevents the surface recombination of photo-induced generated electron-hole pair. Through my research, I deciphered that the ITO/ZnO/InP photodiode exhibited a maximum photoresponsivity of 44.2 mAW−1 under a 520 nm laser irradiation with an illumination power of 1 μW at the zero bias voltage.”

For the successful implementation of the proposed ITO/ZnO/InP photodiode in the manufacturing levels, significant efforts are essential. Dr Goutam acknowledges that device to device variability must be addressed which arise from the deposition condition of the ZnO layer by atomic layer deposition. Surface defects reduction and selection of charge collecting electrodes must be optimized to improve the performance of the photodetector. Thus, Dr Goutam will dedicate his future research work to study patterned 2D graphene-based electrode to improve the performance. Also, n-type 2D MoS2 and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) passivation will be studied by him on the III-V semiconductor surface for better photoresponsivity.

Dr Lakhveer Singh, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh published an article titled “Remediation strategies for mitigation of phthalate pollution: Challenges and future perspectives” in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, with an Impact Factor of 9.03. In recent times, there has been an escalating concern over the risk of phthalate exposure leading to adverse effects on human health and the environment. Dr Lakhveer acknowledged the necessity of understanding the current status of phthalate pollution, their sources, exposure routes, and health impacts, along with understanding the remediation technologies for mitigating such issues.

In this collaborative work between Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and SRM AP, Dr Lakhveer enumerates the major phthalates in use today, shares insights on the ever-increasing data on health burdens posed by phthalates and simultaneously, highlights the recent advancements in research to alleviate phthalate contamination from the environment. Tracing their environmental fate, he addresses the growing health hazard concerns imposed by phthalates, along with focusing on understanding the different physical, chemical, and biological treatment of phthalates that are currently being used.

Dr Lakhveer explains, “Depending on the degree and nature of contamination, PAEs can be eliminated from different environmental matrices via various available processes such as adsorption, coagulation-flocculation, microbial biodegradation, phytoremediation, photocatalysis, and advanced oxidation processes. However, the efficiency of all these processes depends on various factors including inherent Physico-chemical nature of phthalates, environmental factors, and technological sufficiency.” Thus, advancing his research work in the future, Dr Lakhveer will opt for a holistic approach to develop novel processes for the remediation.

Dr Tousif Khan N, Head of the Department, Electrical and Electronics Engineering at SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh has been elected as a Joint Secretary (2020-2023) of the prestigious Automatic Control and Dynamic Optimization Society (ACDOS), Indian national member organization of International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC). The objective of ACDOS is to promote automatic control and dynamic optimization fields in academia and industry across India. The society aims to host international conferences and technical workshops regularly in order to promote close interaction between industry professionals and academia. The society also participates in curriculum development for graduate and under-graduate studies in addition to facilitating productive research in this area. The society volunteers to honour eminent persons who excelled in this field in industry and academic circles.

Dr Tousif Khan N is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering at SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh. He has obtained his PhD from Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati. Apart from performing his duties as a teacher, he is pursuing his research career in Control systems, Power Electronics and Optimization Techniques. The very young and talented professor has been honoured with several awards and recognitions for his pursuits in the domains of Teaching and Research. As a Joint Secretary of ACDOS, Dr Khan wishes to contribute further to the versatile worlds of Research and Academia.

The other members of ACDOS are eminent researchers and scientists such as Prof. Sukumar Mishra (IIT Delhi) as President, Dr Jayesh Barve (GE, Bangalore) as Vice-President and President-Elect, Dr Shaik Faruque Ali (IIT Madras) Vice-President, Prof Bidyadhar Subudhi (IIT Goa) as Vice-President, Dr Arnab Maity (IIT Bombay) as General Secretary, Dr S. N Omkar (IISc-Bangalore) as Treasurer and Prof Radhakant Padhi (IISc Bangalore) as Director of Operations.

To know more about ACDOS, please click the link: https://www.acdos.org/

Students of SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh bagged the runners up award in the Technological Business Hackathon organized by AIESEC in Amaravati from October 30, 2020, till November 1, 2020. AIESEC is the world’s largest, global youth-run organization which acts as a platform for young minds to explore and develop their leadership potential. AIESEC works in accordance with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) devised by the United Nations and is recognized by UNESCO. Technological Business Hackathon was the first-ever virtual Hackathon hosted by AIESEC in Amaravati that aimed at developing innovative technological solutions for Sustainable Development Goals. It provided an opportunity for students to learn, ideate, solve, and present ideas on how to address some of the global challenges that the world is currently confronting.

30 teams hailing from reputed colleges such as VIT AP, Christ University Bangalore, SRM AP, VVIT, KLU, Bennet, NID AP, NIT AP, JNTU Hyderabad, participated in the hackathon. The competition was split into a technical round and a business round, where 7 teams from SRM AP showcased their expertise in innovative technology. While two teams from SRM AP became the finalist, the second prize for the hackathon was awarded to one of them. The group developed a project inclined towards SDG 2: Zero Hunger, which involved the use of Hydroponics to grow fresh and sustainable food.

Dr Nimai Mishra, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh, along with his research group comprising of students pursuing PhD under him, Ms. V.G.Vasavi Dutt and Mr. Syed Akhil, have published a comprehensive mini review titled “Surface Passivation Strategies for Improving Photoluminescence and Stability of Cesium Lead Halide Perovskite Nanocrystals” in the Journal “ChemNanoMat” (Wiley-VCH) with an Impact Factor of 3.4.

Cesium lead halide (CsPbX 3) perovskite nanocrystals (NCs) is emerging as an intriguing subject for the optoelectronics for its excellent optical properties and exceptional colour tunability. However, applicability of the materials become a major challenge due to their degenerative property. Consequently, researchers focus on developing various approaches to enhance the photoluminescence properties and stability of CsPbX 3 perovskite NCs. In the paper, Dr Mishras’s group reviews some of the promising approaches such as post‐synthetic modification, ligand exchange, and insitu addition.

Further, the strategies summarized in this paper will enable the production of high-quality nanocrystals having the potential to be used as active material in LED devices. In the future, Dr Mishra and his group plans on utilizing some of these surface passivation techniques to develop prototype LED devices using high quality nanocrystals.

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Initiation of Faculty Development Programme (FDP) on “Recent Advancements in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence” at SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh

Faculty Development Programme (FDP) orchestrated by the Department of Computer Science Engineering, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh was inaugurated by Prof VS Rao, Vice-Chancellor. The ten-day special programme is designed to provide insights on the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology. Prof VS Rao said, “AI is the emerging branch of science which has its application in the fields of healthcare, entertainment, banking and finance, and marketing. The country’s progress would be accelerated due to the advent of AI that is so closely linked to human life.”

Similarly, Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice Chancellor spoke of the immense opportunities provided by the emerging AI technology. He said, “AI will be impacting human life in more ways than comprehendible. Considering its growth, demand for AI skills will continue to rise exponentially. As AI will continue to act as a technological innovator in the foreseeable future, there will be immense opportunities and prospects for the young professionals in this domain.”

The guest lecturer of the inaugural programme, Prof V Masilamani, Associate Professor, Computer Engineering, Indian Institute of Information Technology Design and Manufacturing (IIITDM) Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India, discussed the importance of Machine Learning for digital image quality assessment. The other technical session was conducted by Prof Dipti Prasad Mukherjee, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, who demonstrated how computer vision problems can be solved using machine learning techniques.

Further, the event was graced by the presence of Prof T Raghunathan, Professor, and Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, along with other faculty members, and students as the audience. In addition, the technical sessions were coordinated by Dr Manikandan V M and Dr Sobin C C, Assistant Professors, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh.

Enthralling talk on “Data to Discovery in Information Security”

Prof N Balakrishnan, Honorary Professor, Super Computer Education and Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bengaluru, delivered an enthralling talk on “Data to Discovery in Information Security” under the auspices of University Distinguished Lecture Series organized by SRM University – AP, Andhra Pradesh. Prof V S Rao, Vice-Chancellor, along with Prof D Narayana Rao, Pro Vice-Chancellor, and the conveners welcomed him. Extending his warmest welcome, Prof V S Rao emphasized on the significance of Data and Information Security and the great interest and concerns it imposes in the recent times as well as the future. He says, “In the last two decades, data security concerns have increased exponentially along with emerging data reserves. Abundance of data without proper security with pose more threats than solutions.” On that note, he requested Prof N Balakrishnan to enlighten the audience on various issues pertaining to raw data security.

Prof T Ragunathan, Head of the Department of Computer Science introduced Prof N Balakrishnan to the participants. Prof N Balakrishnan lecture encompassed the explosion in data and the “Revenge of Silicon”, which made the emergence of Artificial Intelligence inevitable. He emphasized on the storage revolution which is reflected in the smaller systems comprising of more complex networks, as compared to the earlier version of computers which were used primarily for computing and processing. He enlightens, “Characterized by explosion in velocity, volume, and variety, the data generated by humans and machines coexist in the big data scenario. Earlier, we spoke of the convergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and now we have moved ahead with Nano, Bio, Info, and Cogno (NBIC) convergence.”

Prof N Balakrishnan dedicated the second half of his lecture by explaining the “Revenge of Silicon”. He used the periodic table to explain that although Carbon and Silicon belong to the same 4th group in the periodic table, mankind preferred Silicon over Carbon. Further, the paradigm shifted with the advent of computers which were programmed to mimic humans. In addition, the communication revolution resulted in its enhanced capability along with numbers. Presently, 1.72 billion websites are operative, there are billions of mobile phone users, the Internet of Things (IoT) have been established, wireless networks, and other complex systems. Dr N says, “Technology has become an integral part of the society with emerging Cyber-physical systems, and social networks. In the near future, computers would begin behaving more and more like humans, which is referred to as the Revenge of Silicon. Further, NBIC will enable biological complex systems (human body parts) to be replaced by silicon engineered parts, heralding towards a new doctrine.”

Drawing examples from his research sprawled across four decades, Prof N Balakrishnan expressed concerns about the tremendous data being stored and used across networking platforms. He explains, “Data storage speed doubles every 9 months. All the information known to mankind since the beginning of civilization can be stored in a single computer. The social network of computers has its negatives in the form of terrorism which has recently entered the computer world. Security of such a world is an important issue.” Prof N Balakrishnan concluded his lecture by stating that mathematical predictive models can be used for a better understanding of the data attack detection. He established that Community Detection based BOTSPOT will provide a faster detection algorithm to estimate attacks thereby aiding concerns of data attacks.

Sai Rishvanth Katragadda, Final year, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM University-AP, Andhra Pradesh shone in the recruitment drive conducted for the first outgoing batch of the university. Sai Rishvanth got selected by the recruiters of PayPal who offered the brilliant student a package of 24 LPA for the position of Software Engineer. PayPal is a reputed company that provides a worldwide online payment system, online money transfers, and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods.

Sai Rishvanth has consistently exhibited his mettle in academics and has been scoring excellently in all the examinations conducted by SRM AP. He was also selected by the university to visit the University of California, Berkeley for the Semester Abroad Programme. In addition, he grabbed the opportunities presented by SRM AP and worked on projects where he developed applications to provide solutions in the domain of travel, predictive data analysis, crowdfunding, crypto-token, and environment.

Guided by the faculty, and founders of the student-run Next Tech Lab at SRM AP, Sai Rishvanth participated in innumerable national and international hackathons to win several accolades and awards. Further, the student at an immensely young age received the opportunity to present papers in international conferences and publish his paper in the esteemed journal Springer Journal for Engineering and Sciences.

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