International Tech festival at BITS Pilani

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Jaipur: BITS Pilani is oarganising its annual technical fest, APOGEE 2016 from 25th Feb – 28th Feb-2016. The ThinkAgain Conclave, an integral component of the fest, has featured talks by some of the brightest and most creative minds on the planet, including Walter Lewin, Ryan Woodward, Jeff Lieberman and Walter Bender. This year, the speakers present will be the free software movement founder Richard Stallman, leading Indian journalist and author M. J. Akbar, and independent historian Rohit Gupta as the scheduled guests.

A nouveau addition is the introductory literature fest, Papyrus Trails. Noted poets and authors will be visiting to deliver lectures as a part of Papyrus, including Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi, former BITSian Ajay Chaturvedi, eminent linguist and award winning critic Rukmini Nair, and author of the novel Asura, Anand Neelakantan. Another new introduction are exhibitions, which will be organised by the National Disaster Response Force and Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute.

The trend of startups has begun to catch on and to promote this spirit of entrepreneurship, the first iteration of Startup Weekend is being introduced which will have successful entrepreneurs such as Sandeep Komaravelly, the senior VP of Marketing of Snapdeal and Karthikeyan Vijayakumar, founder and CEO of acting as judges for budding entrepreneurs. In a 54 hour long session, startup enthusiasts get the opportunity to pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation. The entire process will be overseen and guided by mentors, who will attempt to convert abstract ideas into successful startups. In addition, there will also be workshops taken by various professionals, related to a number of technical fields, including app development, 3D modeling, financial markets, surface computing and ethical hacking. The workshops attempt to inculcate important practical skills in students through an interactive hands-on approach. There are a plethora of events that will take place over the fest that range from paper and project presentations, to challenging coding competitions, to innovative designing competitions. The more established events such as Hackathon and Checkmate will pit the best of the programmers against each other while events such as JAM, Taboo, Ahvaan and Armageddon will test the creativity of participating students. There are multiple events for the financially curious such as Business Master, Stock Market Simulation and Espoir that will employ business strategies and intensive business-minded thinking to introduce students to the real time trade experience. A technical fest would be quite incomplete without the presence of quizzes, and there will be multiple quizzes covering every topic imaginable, from Science and Technology to Literature to Indian culture and traditions.

The fest also has performances by the musical beatboxing and cappella group, Aflatunes, along with Indian standup comedian, actor and musician, Abish Matthew. Over the years, APOGEE has instilled a sense of novelty in the minds of the audience and added a different dimension in their thinking. This year’s iteration aims to inspire the students and attendees to rediscover and refurbish their minds and ambitions, and enjoy the intellectually stimulating events of the technical festival of BITS, Pilani.

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