We are pleased to introduce the India Region special section to Communications' readers. The Indian subcontinent has a population close to 1.8 billion, and is unique due to its diversity of people, cultures, spoken languages, and wide disparities in socioeconomic conditions. The region plays an important role in the global computing landscape with its highly trained manpower, software companies, and top universities that produce students that not only serve local needs, but move around the world and have global impact. We developed this special section to mirror all these facets.
Last year, we publicized the plans for the special section and made an open call for contributions through ACM member channels and the ACM India website. We received 45 proposals through this period and augmented the list by reaching out to others to cover specific topics and areas. We also received proposals from colleagues in Sri Lanka and Pakistan. A selection of 22 outlines were identified for consideration. A workshop held at Microsoft Research in Bangalore on February 23, 2019 converged on the selection of 17 proposals to pursue as full articles. These articles underwent three rounds of reviews and modification. The final section presents nine articles covering Hot Topics and nine articles following Big Trends.
Computing solutions for the India region must deal with the scale of its population. We feature India's attempt at creating digital infrastructure and solutions at that scale, notably the biometric identification through Aadhar. The other big story is the success and reach of India's software industry; practically every piece of software sold in the world has components developed in India. The linguistic diversity of South Asia is a challenge when creating computer-based solutions, starting with suitable keyboards to the challenges of multilingual and mixed-lingual search. Another vibrant aspect of India is the resurgence of its start-ups. The articles in the special section attempt cover all these stories and more. The challenges of the socioeconomic milieu of this region are highlighted through articles on empowering women through mobiles, using speech to counter illiteracy, and in the problems faced by social media. The section also samples some of the research advances and challenges from this region.
We hope this collection of articles gives you a glimpse of the unique problems, opportunities, and exciting work in computing from the Indian subcontinent.
P J Narayanan, Pankaj Jalote, and Anand Deshpande
India Region Special Section Co-Organizers
Andrew A. Chien
DEPUTY TO THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
CO-CHAIRS, REGIONAL SPECIAL SECTIONS
INDIA REGION SPECIAL SECTION CO-ORGANIZERS
P J Narayanan
International Institute of Information Technology
Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology
Figure. Watch the co-organizers discuss this section in the exclusive Communications video. https://cacm.acm.org/videos/india-regionspecial-section
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