Creating Ripples
ST Team
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
It was women’s day out in the Silicon Valley of India, as a multitude of the fairer sex were spotted holding on to their CVs while beating the heat in the long queues to the counter. They were there in response to the advertisements concerning the walk-in interview posted on behalf of IBM India for all women engineers in the city. Designed ‘only for women,’ the recruitment drive was for technical posts in the India Software Labs (ISL). ISL was on hunt for women techies for middle management and senior technical roles.

This was a first time in India that an IT organization was inviting only women applicants on a large scale. “Though we have held this kind of spree before, it was never on this large a scale,” said Chitra Jayaraman, Staffing Partner - ISL, who was ecstatic at the response the walk-in recorded. “There are very few women in technical roles today and this was IBM’s way to get the raise in count, if not bring to par,” she said. According a recent NASSCOM study the male-female ratio in the Indian IT industry was at 76:24 last year and is expected to rise to 65:35 by the end of this year.

And the women were not complaining. “We need this to happen more often so that we too get opportunities,” said Haritha, a two-year experienced techie working for an MNC and a hopeful candidate. “I am the only woman in the technical team in my office,” she added.

Agreed Harpreeth who currently works for a well-known IT firm in the city. “These kind of walk-ins would encourage women who would otherwise not work after completing their engineering course. It might not make a big difference yet but it is a first step.”
However, many others were slightly put off by the un-due advantage. Says Kasthuri, a two-year experienced engineer: “By giving us this advantage, the company might be indicating a discrimination, positive or negative.” She, like many others, was unaware of the ’women’s only’ tag till she reached the venue.

“There are few women in the current Indian IT industry and if such walks-in would ensure an increase in this figure, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” retorted Jayaraman. The walk-in saw over 600 candidates and the team at ISL is certain of a larger audience the next time they hold such a drive.

The company, credited for being the first to recognize and give special facilities for women employees, currently employs 26 percent of women in its workforce in India. Established in 2001, ISL develops products, technology and solutions for IBM Software Group and is among largest product development centers for IBM globally with offices in Bangalore and Pune.

U.S. loses jobs, blames India
A total of 3,333 jobs per year could get shifted to India from U.S. That makes one of every five jobs in software engineering and back end jobs (like data entry) in United States alone would move to India.

A report by the Brookings Institution—a Washington based research organization—says that as the hiring spree continues in India, almost 24 percent of technology jobs in US could move to the country by 2015. The study titled “The implications of Service offshoring for metropolitan economies” is a first of its kind attempt to examine how the offshore market will affect certain locations across the U.S.

Robert Atkinson and Howard Wial who authored the report pointed out that the off shoring jobs would modestly affect United States. However, some cities might feel the pain on a larger scale. The heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose, could witness a loss up to 4.3 percent of its jobs to offshoring by 2015.

Other cities vulnerable to the offshoring business are Boulder, Colorado; Lowell, Massachusetts; San Francisco and San Jose, California; and Stamford, Connecticut.
States like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles also could lose between 2.1 percent to 2.5 percent of their service jobs. Fourteen to seventeen percent of customer-service representatives’ jobs and insurance underwriters’ jobs from Northern part of New Jersey will move overseas as well.

The findings holds true as the trend of roping in more engineers and consultants picks up in the IT industry here. The Indian centers of Accenture and IBM alone are increasing their India development center (IDC) employee base thus transforming them into the largest among all centers world over.

IBM has an audacious target of increasing the total number of professionals in its India center to 1-1.2 lakh people by 2008. The center has scaled up from 4,000 people in 2002, to its current strength of 53,000 in a span of five years.

In line with IBM’s plans to expand its Global Technology and Business services in India, close to 16,000 professionals are recruited each year by the company. By the end of 2007, we could see the Big Blue’s Indian center housing more than 70,000 employees, constituting 25 percent of its worldwide strength.

The workforce of Accenture India too has seen a growth of 40 percent. Their chief executive, Bill Green said the Bangalore center alone has 15,000 professionals, thus making it the largest IDC across company lines.

Green has plans of increasing the number of professionals in India by end of this financial year.

‘Era of the Tera’ begins at Bangalore
The February 2006 issue of The SmartTechie had Vasantha Erraguntla, Engineering Manager, Intel India, adorn the cover as an ‘Outstanding Women Achiever in IT’. The smiling face of Intel promised a new phase for Indian women in technology. Exactly a year later, she is back in the news, this time heading the design team at Bangalore that co-developed Intel’s first silicon tera-scale research prototype. The news is all over town, inundating the place with words like ‘tera flops’ and ‘80-core.’ The world’s first programmable 80-core microprocessor functions equivalent to a supercomputer. It promises speed like never before, using lesser power (62 watts) than many home appliances and smaller than a fingernail in size. The findings were part of the ongoing research titled ‘Tera-scale Computing Research Program’ by Intel. And 50 percent of this work was done here, in the Silicon Valley of India: Bangalore.

The Intel India Development Center (IIDC), that co-developed this breakthrough research in technology is the second largest R&D center outside the U.S. Led by 15-year Intel veteran Erraguntla, a 20-member team worked along with the Intel U.S team at Oregon to produce Intel’s first silicon tera-scale research prototype. The India team’s contribution consisted of logic, circuit and physical design, while the Oregon center undertook integration and fabrication of the chip manufactured at the company’s fab in Ireland.

“There were plenty of challenges along the way,” mentioned Erraguntla who re-located to India from the U.S in 2004 to lead the research. “Communication problems and understanding the far reach of the technology being some of them. However, the exciting work kept the team going.” Erraguntla also happens to have worked on the high-speed router technology for the Intel Teraflop machine, ASCI Red—the first computer on Earth to bench above one TeraFLOPS (Trillion Floating point Operations Per Second).
“The multi-core chip with greater computing horse power can be used for diverse research applications such as scientific experiments, weather forecasting, astronomical calculations, oil exploration, financial services, entertainment and personal media services involving huge data processing and number-crunching,” said Vittal Kini, Intel India Research Center Director.

How is this a quantum leap from today’s technology? Microprocessors currently working on MIPS (million instructions per second) and GIPS (giga instructions per second) can now envision a future with Tera FLOPS. In terms of multi-core, the 80-core in a single chip can be compared to the current era that has microprocessors on dual and quad core. This means that the microprocessor can deliver one Teraflop of performance consuming only 62-watt power and in turn emitting lesser heat.

For the future, Kini says they plan to use the learning of this research for other projects the company was developing. What once appeared in the science fiction series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ as an invention dating circa 2364 where the android Data functioned at a computational speed rated at 60 trillion operations per second (60 TIPS), is now more within reach. What‘s next? Hundred percent weather predictions? Artificial Intelligence? Like Erraguntla says: “The future is going beyond the multi-core and we’ll just have to wait and watch."
Share on LinkedIn