I attended Tamil Internet Conference 2016 at Gandhigram Rural Institute, Dindigul on Sep 9,10,11 of 2016
This time, I attended the conference with Family. Nithya and Viyan accompanied me. Nithya and Myself conducted a workshop on Python Programming for the students as Pre-Conference workshop. Happy to see that Nithya’s training method on Python is simple and easy for beginners. She is against presentations, slides. She directly jumps into handson. Once students get some taste of how easy the python programs are, they get much interest to follow the further session.
It is a paid workshop. Still the registrations were around 100. we deliberately rejected many students as we wanted to have a one computer-one person kind of handson workshop. It is a good news that many people in rural areas know about python and even readty to pay for a workshop. Thinking on conducting more workshops there in coming days.
On the first day of conference, I presented about the project “Open-Tamil” It is a python library for to process tamil text. Mr. Muthu from Boston is a key developer. my brother Arulalan contributed a font conversion features for open-tamil. I am trying to contribute few features. We can create word games in tamil using this open-tamil. Audience appreciated on this feature.
Then, I attended other sessions related to Language technology. There were many talks on OCR, TTS, spell checker, ontology dictionary, mobile apps. Learnt that Hidden Markov Model, we can do text to speech and speech to text. Have to explore more on this.
Like previous INFITT conferences, most of the papers were to demonstrate their products. Not much internals, algorithms are discussed. None of them are in open-source. So, no way to learn, contribute, use these products. This is very sad part for the tamil development. We can see all the important needs of tamil computing. But all of these are in hidden racks. If this situation continues, the same topics will be discussed on 100th conference too. I request the academicians and research people to release their works as open source software, so that many people can contribute and create wonderful tools for public usage.
The third day had a long demonstrations of Machine translation and Text to speech. The Machine translation worked a bit. But the TTS by Prof. T.Nagarajan, from SSN Engg college, is a great tool. Gives almost native sound of a tamil speaker. But again, it was just a demo. I, as a developer, user can not use, contribute to the TTS.
All the TTS and other research are funded by the TAX money from public, by the government. But these academicians, prevent the public access for these tools. Dont know whom to contact for releasing all govt funded development works as free/open source software. Reply here if you know how to proceed further on this.
Gandhigram Rural University agreed to have Chair for INFITT on their premises.
it is a good initiative. Hope we can have continuous events, trainings, workshops and research with the university.
More than the conference papers, the preconference workshops and the half day length tutorials are much useful as they give more internals of the subjects. We have to add these events on the future conferences too.
Met many friends there. Udhayan, Badri Shesadri, Durai Manikandan, SelavaMurali Elantamil, Mugilan Murugan, Dhanesh to name a few. Discussions with these people always inspire me to do more on Tamil Computing.
Started to read on the Conference Book. It is around 500 pages. Planning with INFITT to release this book and old conference books as epub, mobi, HTML formats.
Thanks for the INFITT team for the conference. Special Thanks to selvamurali for adding me on the organizing tasks. Got lot of experience on handling people, managing tasks on eleventh hour, planning and executing events.
Thanks to my team at my company https://tvfplay.com for managing critical tasks and issues when I am on the conference.
Special Thanks to Nithya and Viyan for accompanying me all the times.