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Prof. S. Sampath addresses the audience during the Computer Centre inauguration, 1973

Institute Events , Inaugurations , Visiting VIPs

The inauguration took place on 17 November. IIT Madras had recently acquired the IBM 370/155 system with the generous help of West Germany. There is a report of the event in the book ‘Computer Education in India: Past, Present and Future’, where it is mentioned that Prof. Sampath “stressed the need to convince trade union leaders that the use of computers would in the long run result in greater employment.” In the same book, Prof. Sampath’s article notes, “The establishment of the computer centre is the realization of a cherished dream.”

IBM made a large mural for the inauguration upon Prof. Mahabala’s request. It was placed behind the stage of the Central Lecture Theatre (CLT). In this image, it is visible behind the distinguished guests who are seated at the stage. It was around 25 feet long and approximately 6-8 feet high, providing a clear image of the machine. After the inauguration, the mural was kept in one of the classrooms in the Building Sciences Block (BSB) where M.Tech. classes were held. 

Prof. Sampath was a Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering. He also served as Deputy Director for the Institute on multiple occasions, and served as Director after Prof. A. Ramachandran’s tenure in May 1973 up until October 1973 when Prof. K. A. V. Pandalai became Director.

At the stage, from left, Prof. S. Sampath (Deputy Director), Prof. A. Ramachandran (Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India), Dr. Erhard Eppler (Minister for Economic Co-operation, Federal Republic of Germany), Mr. K. T. Chandy (Chairman, Board of Governors), Mr. C. Subramaniam (Union Minister for Industrial Development and Science and Technology) and Prof. K. A. V. Pandalai (Director).

Gourishankar Collection
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17 November 1973
C. Gourishankar (1936-2002). A geologist by qualification, Gourishankar started his career as a photographer after working for many years with the Geological Survey of India. In everything that he did, Gourishankar strove to achieve flawlessness and impeccable quality. Thus his photography too was characterised by this drive for perfection. Every photograph that Gourishankar took was meticulously planned and shot and printed with diligence and patience. Gourishankar carried out most of the official photography at IIT Madras in the 1960s.
Special Convocation, Inauguration of Computer Centre
Central Lecture Theatre (CLT)