The following Alumni have generously
helped the project with resources.
- M.T.Raghunath (1987)
- Shoroff Srikant (1988)
- Ashok Immaneni (1988)
- S.V.Raman (1988)
- Anand Sivasubramanian
- Sowmini (1990)
- Dhritiman Banerjee
- Manish Khetry (1992)
- Arul Seelan (1992)
- Ananthalakshmi (1993)
- Batchu Suresh (1993)
- Kavitha (1993)
- Veena (1993)
- Ajit Natarajan (1994)
- Rajagopalan (1994)
- Raghavendra (1997)
- Thileepan (1997)
- Mathew George (1997)
- Arun Viswanathan
- Sriram Sellappa (1998)
- Bharat Chandra (1999)
- Subramanyan (1999)
- Ramadas (1999)
- Vinay manivel (2000)
- Ashok Maram (2000)
- Rohit Fernandez (2000)
- Sharat Chandran
Students who contributed to the development
of the Software
The Systems Development
Laboratory is indebted to all the students who have contributed to the development
of this software. They became a part of the laboratory and identified themselves
with the place. Their continued involvement and support over many semesters
has given the Systems Development Laboratory, Department of Computer Science
and Engineering, IIT Madras, the unique identity of being a truly student
managed laboratory. The following have specifically been involved with the
software from the early days of the lab.
and Murali: They both built a spline generator in hardware using TTL
chips in 1979, which displayed the curves on an oscilloscope.
C.S. Moghe (Now
Prof. CS. Moghe) who built a graphic subsystem using the AMD2900 and
laid the foundation for character description in terms of splines and Beziers
Ramesh Babu who created cartoon figures and letters using Moghe's
Hardware and an old 8085 SDK (1983).
Sarweswara Rao and Raghuram who established the feasibility of Text
Display of our scripts on PCs using Bezier Curves (1988).
M. Anantha Lakshmi:
chief architect of the present system who started to design a portable editor
for Indian scripts and also gave us the first working interface library
who gave us the initial routines for obtaining PostScript
output from Local Language files (1993).
who wrote the first application: Email in Indian Languages
on Sun Workstations (1993).
Sanjoy Sen and
Meenakshi Kaul who established that client server applications are
easy to develop using the library. They developed a gopher client capable
of displaying Indian language documents served by a gopher server (1993-94).
and Nawaaz: The trio that redefined the library and made it portable.
Paved the way for the next group to develop applications with great ease
Nithrakashyap, Srivaths, KothandaRaman and Vinodha who ported the
library to Unix systems, MSWindows, XWindows and developed many useful text
processing applications and printing utilities (1995).
and Manjunath who continued the development with new applications
which included indexing programs, hypertext links within Indian language documents
and a screen editor (1995-96).
and Shilpa: Their contribution resulted in the development of a WAIS
server and client that could support queries with text strings supplied
in Indian languages by essentially modifying the sources for Free WAIS 0.5
Raghavendra, Anand, Thileepan and Aparna continued the work through
refinements to the library developed earlier and porting the same to newer
platforms including the Mac. New applications involving applets, search engines
and quality hard copy printouts were pursued by this group. The credit for
making available usable versions of lb, mled and llprint goes largely to
these five. Thanks to their efforts, the Duke web site came up followed by
the IITM web site in Madras, (1996-97).
Sriram and Ramakrishnan have carried forward the development and have
provided very useful programs. The early experiments in providing support
for ITRANS based documents, started by the previous group have lead to software
utilities and a very high quality editor for Windows95 (yes, as a gesture,
remembering more than 50 of our students who work for Microsoft, inspite of
our own reservations to work with or promote Microsoft products!). Thanks
to their sustained efforts with Mathew George extending additional help, the
IITM system has evolved into a very useful one for Web presentations of documents
in all Indian languages. Bulk of the demos at our web site in Madras http://sdlcfsn.cs.iitm.ernet.in/
is the work of these. These three also integrated Typesetting features into
the software, permitting a .llf file to be Typeset and printed using TeX,
Note: In Sept. 2001, the website was renamed as acharya.iitm.ac.in
Subramanyam, Kartik and Ramadas contributed to significant progress
during 1998-1999. The win95 based multilingual editor was refined to produce
on-screen transliteration. Utilities to convert between llf and other formats
such as ISCII, ITRANS etc., were completed. The editor was also tried with
Urdu with limited success.
For the first time,
applications useful to the Visually handicapped were tried. The win95 editor
was enhanced to provide speech output so that visually handicapped persons
could run the editor. The resulting package, crude in its speech output for
want of intonation, proved to be an extremely valuable piece of software.
Simultaneously, output in Bharati Braille, the system standardized for India,
was also made possible. The lab became visible in the eyes of the country
and organizations for the visually handicapped came with requests for training
and use of the software. The Voluntary organization Vidya Vrikshah, graciously
offered to provide training in the software for persons working in institutions
for the visually handicapped.
The important area
of data bases was also covered and client interfaces developed for querying
data bases interactively in Indian scripts. The development was based on ODBC.
Java based web interfaces were also developed to deal with SQL data bases
and the freely available MYSQL database system under LINUX was used in the
application. The team also contributed to many useful font generation utilities
as well as linguistic processing modules.
Rudiments of a text
based web browser for Indian language text was also tried using the popular
Emacspeak package developed by TV Raman.
All in all this was
a very productive period of development.
Ashok Maram, SriVidya, Vivek Sharma, Anil Alexander and Vinay Manivel
continued the development during 1999-2000. The sound enhanced multilingual
editor was improved to accommodate punctuation and special symbols. The
text based web browser Lynx was adapted for use under Win95/98 and the enhancements
included text to speech output of the screen. Utilities were developed to
refine the generation of graphic images and PDF files from llf files for use
on the web. A java based input module was created to allow queries to be
submitted in Indian languages to a search engine.
A new era in Indian
language computing began with the possibility of using PERL to work with Indian
scripts. Special PERL modules were created to allow application development.
Important applications such as email, text processing utilities, command
processors, tutorials on the use of the ascii keyboard to type in indian
languages were some of the examples successfully demonstrated. PERL based
development is presently confined to Linux but many text processing
utilities not requiring interaction in Indian languages will work under Win95
More languages were
introduced into the system (Oriya and Punjabi) with the requisite fonts coming
out of the font generation utilities completed earlier. The IITM software
is complete in respect of all the scripts except Urdu.
from different parts of the country greatly appreciated the efforts put in
by the team. Distribution of the software required a CD-ROM to accommodate
all the basic applications and the utilities.
The millennium year
also proved to be a very productive period.
Vikram, Sandeep, Easwar, Pawan Balaji and Hembram worked on utilities
for presenting multilingual information on the web along with special applications.
During 2000-2001, the sound enhanced multilingual Editor became stable as
also the utilities for braille output from .llf files. The possibility of
setting up data bases using an sql server and accessed through a suitable
client was also demonstrated. Multilingual chat, applications to speak out
the contents of a .llf file, Java based animations for stroking of aksharas
etc., were completed. An on line demo for text to speech was setup on the
web so that users could input text (Devanagari and Tamil) and hear the synthesized
output on line. At the same time, the multilingual editor was also made available
under Linux. The development under Linux utilized the GTK tool kit to advantage.
Thanks to all these
efforts, the old web server in the lab hosted many new and stable demos and
the site was renamed acharya.iitm.ac.in
During May 2001, an electrical disturbance had caused a fire in
the lab damaging many systems. The lab places on record its appreciation for
all the students who worked relentlessly to retrieve data from several older
systems that had been rendered inoperable. Prof. Frank Starmer, long time
friend of the lab had a valuable piece of advice for us. It was time to "press
the reset button" and start the lab again. It was hard but in about
four months, we could rebuild the lab from scratch and set up systems to
continue the development.
concentrated on completing the editor for right to left scripts and also support
speech output. Sharat Chandran, Amit Rajith and Suseel Kumar
have developed more applications under Windows and Linux. More demos were
included. The editor for Arabic and Urdu took shape under Windows.
Ram, Srinath Shankar and Madhur Dixit continued the development to
include Data Base applications. They also enhanced the earlier versions of
speech enhanced Lynx and Jaws for Dos to work under Linux. Srinath helped
setup the Monier Williams Sanskrit Dictionary in searchable form from a web
After a gap of several
years, M.Tech students contributed to the development. Shiv Pal Singh,
Milind, Vishal Sahare, Neena Pande, Nageswar and Gopinath completed
several utilities including llf2pdf and a viewer for rtf files under Linux.
They also added a command shell supporting a local language user interface.
Neena and Nageswar also helped in preparing a voice data base for use under
MBROLA. Shiv Pal took the initiative to setup the multilingual Postal Code
data base, searchable from a web interface.
student interest had waned, perhaps on account of the increasing complexity
of system development. Only Pranay Kumar chose to work in the
lab and helped fix some bugs in the Multilingual editors. He also enhanced
the utility to transliterate ASCII text into an llf file. Rahul Pratap,
a Chemical Engineering undergraduate took interest in the project and wrote
the utilities to convert llf files to Unicode and back. The demo on Unicode
test file generation is largely his effort.
from Engineering Colleges in the city have started contributing to the development. Also, it was gratifying to see willing involvement in the project, by two undergradutes from the Electrical Engineering Department.
Kumar Appiah, developed those (known to be difficult) utilities to convert web pages with content in older fonts with text strings in the newer fonts.
His contribution includes the online web service utility. Harini Evani worked in the lab during the summer months to add support for running Jaws for Dos under Windows2000/XP. She modified the older VXD based implementation to a VDD based one.
2005-2006 Satish Chandran, undergraduate student from a private Engineering College has spent nearly two years contributing important utilities and polishing many of the older utiltiies and applications. Utilities to create Braille Documents (llf2brl with formatting) and ebook generation (llf2pfd) are his important additions. The year also saw revived activity in respect of the Open Source project at Sourceforge.
Krishna Kumar and Indirani, both from the technical group at ETV, wrote a newer version of the
Multilingual Editor using FLTK. Ganesh Burra, who was instrumental in suggesting the Open Source Project in the first place, coordinated their work and took pains to see that the NewsDesks at ETV used the new Editor (called Acharya).
2006-2007: The Multilingual Systems Project will probably continue for
another year by which time, it is anticipated that all the effort of the
past will go into the Open Source Project. There is renewed interest among the M.Tech students to contribute to the project. Radhika and
Rajasekhar have shown committment to adding newer applications.
They have introduced many useful applications and have also fixed problems faced
with earlier versions of the software, specifically java based applications.
Their work directly relates to services for the visually handicapped,
specifically providing a speech enhanced interface for reading text from
magazines and newspapers in the vernacular.