Rendezvous with Prof. Manish Okade
I would like to be recognised as a good teacher.
On a comfortable and cosy evening, when classes for the entire day had gotten over and everyone else was busy with post-lecture activities, team MM visited the Department of Electronics Engineering to add one more professor to the “Cool and Glamorous Professor’s Adda”, Prof. Manish Okade who is famous among the students for his warm and friendly nature. He is not only a fine academician but also an avid reader. Listening Music, travelling and trying various cuisines are some of his hobbies which he pursues in his leisure time. In a brief talk with MM, Prof Manish Okade shares the myriad experiences of his journey from childhood to the present day of being a faculty in this renowned institution.
Hailing from a small town called Hubli in the state of Karnataka, Prof. Okade developed his interest in research since his teenage. He began his tryst with Science and technology from BVB CET of Karnataka where he did his B.Tech and went on to pursue his M.Tech from IIT Kharagpur, his field of interest being “Automation and Computer Vision”. He also took a one-year work experience as a faculty from NIT Surathkal before enrolling for Master’s degree. Past this, he joined his alma mater BVB CET of Karnataka as a senior lecturer and worked there for three years. In 2009 he again went back to IIT Kharagpur for a full time Ph.D. in the area “Computer Vision and Image Processing”, which he completed in four years. He believes his personal development took place in IIT Kharagpur as he was exposed to people from different background and culture which helped him change his outlook and get a new perspective for life.
Prof. Okade enlightened us on his works and publications during his Ph.D. He presently has 9 publications under his name. He has primarily worked on the area “Video Analysis”, and by 2015 he had a publication on “IEEE Transactions on Circuiting and Systems on Video Technology”. He was working on this field with Mr. Prabir. Ku. Biswas, who had been his supervisor during M.Tech and Ph.D too. Out of a number of conferences he has attended, one which needs special mention is the “International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME)” held at Melbourne, Australia in 2012 where he had presented his paper on "Fast Video Stabilization in the compressed domain”. Based on his research work, he had achieved the “Microsoft Travel Grant Award” to attend the aforementioned conference. Besides his works based on research, he was also awarded with the “IBM Great Mind Challenge Award” on the project OPEDALE when he was a faculty at NITK, Surathkal in 2008. This was a student project for which he was the mentor.
After completing his Ph.D, Prof. Okade chose NIT Rourkela over BITS Pilani because of the better research scenario in NITR. The research environment is what he likes the most about this institute. Students are given lot of flexibility to choose their research topics and discuss it with the faculty without any hesitation. They are free to take extra classes and use labs without any interference. This particular NIT is modelled on the lines of IIT Kharagpur and we can expect significant research output provided the hard work and dedication of both students and faculty go hand in hand. He believes that the cooperation among the mentors and the students matters much more than the name tag of an institute.
Pointing out the flaws he says that there is necessity of new laboratory equipments rather than increasing the number of buildings in NITR. There is a need to update laboratories for smoother research activities. Moreover, the administration should make effort in bringing in more dedicated faculty as well as students for research. According to him, professors need some kind of motivation in form of recognitions and awards which would give them a push towards working harder for their students. It need not be a cash prize, but just recognition would do well. Lastly he added that there should be more flexible funding for conferences and other research works for the professors so that they do not confine themselves to fewer opportunities.
Apart from this, being in NITR has been a very good experience for him till date. He thinks that NITR is an institute where there are as much activities as there are in any other top ranked institutes of the country. Students are involved in many extra-curricular activities which gives them an all-round development. Pointing out the club culture in NITR, he says that as he has already been in an institute like IIT KGP, he has well observed the Under-graduate students and the students of NITR are no way different than them.
After a long talk on his research and life at NITR, we were interested in his personal viewpoints on being a teacher and how he enjoys it. It was very surprising to see that in his drawer he had bundles of handwritten feedback from the anonymous students from his theory classes. On asking him about these feedbacks, he says, “These feedbacks have always been my motivation, not the money which I am given in form of my salary. Hence, I never fail to take such feedbacks and ask for it to the students in my last class.”
He ended this conversation with a message for the students of NITR,
For those who wish to pursue post-graduation courses, I would advise them to join NITs, IITs, IISc, or any other international institute among the ones ranked top 10 in the world for M.Tech and Ph.D. On a lighter note, you’ll understand the value of NITR when you go out of it, when you face the world. You would realise that certainly you have enjoyed the best facilities during these four years of engineering. I would suggest that whatever time you spend with your friends in this institute, enjoy it to the fullest.