By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN, 5 Sep: UPES added yet another feather to its cap with the release of the ‘All India Tiger Estimation Report 2018’ by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 July, the ‘International Tiger Day’. The census owed its success to the valuable contributions by a UPES faculty member, Saurabh Shanu, Assistant Prof (SS) at ‘School of Computer Science & Engineering’ (SCS), besides many other contributors. Celebrated across the world, the day creates awareness about tiger conservation and the protection of the natural habitat of tigers. The report revealed an astounding increase of 33% of the tiger population over the previous census executed in the year 2013. With a count of 2967 Tigers, as per the report, India is now home to over 75% of the world’s total tiger population. While Madhya Pradesh led the tally with 526 tigers, Karnataka was ‘second’ with 524 and Uttarakhand came ‘third’ with 442 tigers. According to Arun Dhand, Sr Director, Public Affairs, UPES, the UPES faculty member’s achievement has not just brought laurels to the state of Uttarakhand and the university but is also a source of inspirations for its students. “UPES will soon launch a super-specialised programme, titled ‘B Tech in Computer Science & Engineering with specialisation in Computational Sustainability’ at its School of Computer Science & Engineering. Under the course, the students would specialise in application of computational logics and theorems in sectors including Environment, Economics, Finance, Transportation, Automation, etc. This super specialised course would enable the students design and develop techniques and models that would ensure optimised and calibrated consumption of available resources keeping future demands in view. This course would be the first of its kind in the country, Dhand revealed proudly. Applauding the accomplishment, Dr Manish Prateek – Dean SCS, UPES, shared that Saurabh Shanu conducted pioneering work in developing sustainable computational models by synergising computation and ecology to create an algorithm that was used effectively by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) for identification and optimisation of Tiger Corridors during the course of this tiger census. “The algorithm, when applied through Geographic Information System (GIS), produced unprecedented results for the very first time towards identification of Tiger Corridors in Central Indian Eastern Ghats Landscapes, wherein Tiger movement studies, across 23 Protected Areas (PAs) cutting across 5 states viz. Odisha, Andhra, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan were conducted,” revealed Dr Prateek. Saurabh Shanu added that the philosophy of his computational models was based on the theory of a Tiger taking the path of least effort, while moving from one protected area to another. His paper, titled ‘Graph Theoretic Approach for Modelling Tiger Corridors in Central Indian Eastern Ghats Landscapes’ has also been published in a renowned international, ‘Elsevier’ journal ‘Ecological Informatics’ in January 2019. The paper was co- authored by five others – Dr Sudipto Bhattacharya – Associate Professor, Shiv Nadar University; Dr YV Jhala – Deputy Director, Project Tiger; Prof Qamar Qureshi, Scientist (G) at WII; Dr Amit Aggarwal – Professor, UPES; and Jobin – a student at Shiv Nadar University. Sharad Mehra – President HERS, Dr SJ Chopra – Chancellor, UPES, Dr Deependra Jha – Vice Chancellor, UPES, Dr Veena Dutta – Registrar, UPES, Dr Kamal Bansal – Professor & Dean ‘School of Engineering & Academic Development & Innovation’ along with other members of the faculty, staff and students of UPES congratulated Saurabh Shanu on his achievement.