Though rare, the combination of Mathematics and Computing can help students acquire both theoretical and practical expertise in computer science, numerical computing and mathematical finance. When backed by an MTech+BTech degree, this fusion course can help students solve problems in the research labs and industry through the use of mathematical and computational techniques. At the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, the department of Mathematics offers a 5-year BTech+MTech dual degree in Mathematics and Computing spread across 10 semesters.
“The aim is to prepare students for a career in Mathematical Computing, in areas such as cryptography, financial mathematics, parallel computing and machine learning. With one year of thesis work woven into the curriculum, it allows students to develop their research skills which come in handy when they look for research and development jobs,” says K Sreenadh, Institute chair professor and head, Department of Mathematics, IIT-Delhi.
“The programme has just the right combination of Mathematics which is the dominant part of the programme, and theoretical Computer Science courses, which is the core of several computational algorithms used in R&D,” Sreenadh says. Students have to undergo a 2-month industry internship during the summer vacation, and in some cases, they undertake a semester internship in reputed foreign universities such as MIT, INRIA etc.
With a background in Math and Computing, graduating students can opt for careers in investment banking, analytics, IT and network security. They can also secure jobs in the government and software sector, pharmaceutical, telecom and engineering firms. “Through research, students can explore avenues in data mining, big data, ML, computer graphics or even Applied Mathematics. There are instances too where some students even chose Biotechnology,” Sreenadh adds.
“The market in India is growing towards research and development in sectors such as aviation, banking and network security. To address the challenges in these fields require strong mathematical acumen with a computing perspective. This is where the programme would help fill the skill gap,” says Sreenadh.
Where it all started
At IIT-D, what began first as an Integrated MSc in Mathematics and Computing programme in 1988 underwent some changes over the years. In the recent curriculum review, the programme was bifurcated into two courses, of which one is BTech in Mathematics and Computing, and the other is dual BTech+MTech degree. While the current intake is 60 for BTech, it is 20 for the BTech+MTech.
“Even though the programme has limited intake, students are bagging offers at par with computer science graduates. Top recruiters of this programme include Microsoft (analytics), Royal Bank of Scotland (finance), IBM (IT), Goldman Sachs (analytics), to mention a few. Those who have qualified JEE Advanced can enrol for the programme, but an aptitude for Math is a must-have to excel in the field.