• Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri

    A wanderer’s tale @Precog

    Summary My dual degree experience working with Precog and PK has been an immensely fulfilling experience. There’s a lot written about the friendly lab culture at PreCog and rightly so. In this blog I will describe how PK helped me chart my dream undergraduate and master’s journey. TLDR? PK’s remarkable adaptability to new ideas, openness to feedback, caring about students, and overall: research management skills that I will seek inspiration from for the rest of my life, make Precog the best lab in IIIT to explore research.    Unconventional Beginnings It all began way back when I first “met” PK at the Panini Linguistics Olympiad Selection Camp in 2019, before…

  • Experiences,  IIITD,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students,  Tradition

    The Precog Pulse: Weaving Passion into Purpose

    I have taken too long to write this blog, not because of writer’s block or procrastination, but probably because eventually penning this blog would signify a certain finality in my journey with Precog. And if you are a member of Precog, you never want this journey to end 🙂 My journey with Precog hasn’t been the most traditional in many senses. I started as a part-time research intern with Precog in early 2020 while pursuing my BTech in Delhi. A pandemic, multiple courses, a Masters thesis with Precog and countless memories later, I have recently started my PhD at TU Darmstadt and the University of Copenhagen. When I first started…

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  • Experiences,  IIITD,  StudentGiri

    Conversations with “PK”!!

    Over the years, I have read many blogs of students who crossed paths with PK. I have read students express their gratitude, the joy of being in one of the finest research labs, surrounded by the finest students, and how much they appreciate it. What is mind-boggling is the way the students always come back, make time to visit the current students, exchange memories, and catch up in different nations. It’s almost like an extended family at this point! It’s safe to say it’s not just a lab but an emotion. With every blog I had ever read, I wondered how I would describe my journey. And finally, the day…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    From Observer to Contributor: My Evolution with Precog

    I had the privilege of being associated with Precog for a good one and a half years, which I can honestly say was one of my fondest memories in college. As I craft this blog, I’m pursuing my graduate studies at the University of Toronto. When I joined IIIT Hyderabad in 2019, my primary goal was to explore and try out different things as much as possible. Throughout my undergraduate journey, I am happy to say that I was able to fulfill that goal to my satisfaction. Though I had heard about PK and Precog briefly during my freshman year, it was mainly in December 2020 when Precog caught my…

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  • Experiences,  IIITD,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Reflections & Lessons from a Year at Precog

    Hey! I’m Ashwin, formerly a research associate at Precog from July 2021 – August 2022, and currently pursuing my MSc. in Intelligent Interactive Systems at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Barcelona. This blog contains both my reflections and gratitude for everything I’ve learnt from PK & Precog.  From Beginnings to Crossroads: Undergraduate Days at IIIT Delhi My interactions with PK as early as August 2019 during my third year at IIIT Delhi when he was teaching a course on Designing Human Centered Systems (DHCS). Little did I know sitting in that classroom that it would be the start of a special journey that would go on to have a profound impact…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    A Week in the Life of a Precogger

    I was drawn to PreCog because its strive to create a positive social impact was at the core of all the work it was involved in. Professor PK’s infectious energy and passion for the lab won me over during these introduction meets and I was eager to join the driven team and be part of meaningful work. I’m Pooja Desur. I recently graduated with Honours from the undergraduate Computer Science Engineering Program at IIIT Hyderabad in April 2023. This coming fall, I’m excited to be joining the Graduate Data Science program at Columbia University in New York City! I was recruited as an Honours student into PreCog at the end…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Unforgettable Lessons: My Remarkable Journey with PreCog

    Hi, my name is Mehul Mathur and this is a short narrative about my two-year escapade as a research student in PreCog. I will be starting my employed life with Endowus Hyderabad (SDE) soon as I say goodbye to IIIT-Hyderabad as a Computer Science graduate. With further hopes and ambitions for grad schools in the future, I carry the memories of some of the craziest, transformative, fun, and even humbling experiences I had in my undergrad life with PreCog and it’s culture and highlight some of them in this blog. About Me and How I Found Precog Once you enter IIIT-H you soon realize that there is no escaping the…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog: A Memoir of Growth and Discovery

    Cheers to my fantastic experience, and best of luck finding your path!! The End This beginning might have been weird but don’t fret, as it was the ending. Yes, you did read that right, this blog will be in the reverse chronological timeline, so you must wait till the end if you want to know who I am (unless you already haven’t scrolled till the end to see my name). Where Am I Now? When writing this, I am a recent graduate from IIIT Hyderabad, sitting in my room at home, staring at my laptop, and yes, I don’t have a 60-inch LED Monitor Setup with a custom keyboard. Just…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    A Precogger’s Epilogue

    I’m Aakash Aanegola, a violinist, amateur basketball player, gym rat, and Lego enthusiast. I’ll be joining Goldman Sachs, SLC this summer and I hope to pursue a Master’s degree in Computer Science soon. With my IIIT Hyderabad chapter closing, I find myself writing this blog to push you towards PreCog (not in a shameless fashion) and to impart my insights from my three semesters with the lab. I’m sure you’re well versed with the ‘PreCog culture’ and its inner mechanisms from other blogs or word of mouth, so I’ll keep my recount personal and crisp.  Here are my two cents 🙂 As soon as you step foot on IIIT soil,…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog Thrills: My Epic Ride with an Amazing Academic Crew!

    Hey, I’m Amul Agrawal, a B.Tech CS graduate from IIIT Hyderabad’s batch of 2023. Currently, I am working as an SDE at Uber. My college life was an unforgettable experience, filled with many lifelong friends. Throughout my college life, I passionately engaged in two distinct but equally fulfilling pursuits: research and competitive programming (CP). While I was initially drawn to CP due to my fascination with logical problem-solving, I quickly excelled in it and was lucky enough to lead the Programming Club and represent my college at the ICPC World Finals. However, I had limited experience with research and was unsure about its appeal to me. Despite this, I decided…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    A Fascinating Journey with Precog

    By the end of my first year, I knew that I wanted to pursue a Masters from a prestigious university like CMU. This meant I needed to build a stellar profile with adequate research experience and strong recommendation letters to have a chance at achieving such a goal. Thus began my research into the various labs and professors of IIIT and this is when I came across Precog. I had heard great things about PK from my seniors at Precog like how he not only looked after your research progress but also concerned himself with your personal growth and development. Moreover, Precog provided a unique opportunity to work on academic…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog: A stepping stone to a brighter future

    Intro When I decided to pursue higher studies, I knew I had to make a prolific research profile to get into top-notch graduate schools worldwide. I needed strong letters of recommendation from the best possible professors in my field to achieve this goal. I started searching for professors who could guide my research journey. That’s when I heard about PK from some of my seniors who had worked with him. They spoke highly of his expertise and mentorship style. Joining Precog, PK’s research lab, was a dream for me, and I had planned to work in the lab for two years as an honours student to gain valuable research experience.…

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  • Experiences,  IIITD,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Disentangling the mysteries of research via PreCog

    Research can be daunting, but with the right tools and resources, it can be a rewarding experience. One such resource is the research group Precog, led by Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru or as he likes to be addressed — “PK”. As a research undergraduate, I had a unique experience working with PK for over two years. I say this as throughout my journey; I only met PK “once” in-person towards the end of my second year at PreCog. One of the reasons for this was when I joined, he was a faculty at IIIT Delhi but it was COVID time and by the time we were allowed back on campus, he…

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  • Experiences,  ProfGiri,  StudentGiri

    Power of Teaching & Taking courses on NPTEL!

    Fall 2016: I offer the Privacy & Security in Online Social Media course on NPTEL. Dipjyoti Bisharad (B.Tech. #Classof2018 student in NIT Silchar, Assam) takes this edition of the course. He is one of the toppers of the course. We decide he will come and spend the summer 2017 with Precog. I strikingly remember the interview that I did with D for the summer internship, he was not able to connect to the call, he had Internet issues, was trying to move his phone around to get better connectivity for the call. Summer 2017: D comes to Precog, spends the summer (see the pic below with the internship Tshirt), including…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog: You’ll look back and be proud

    My journey at Precog began during my third year of college, in December 2020. It’s been challenging, rewarding, humbling, and importantly, the most defining endeavour of my undergrad days. It’s a research group I can’t not mention when talking about my background; it’s the group that doesn’t just grow on your resume – it grows onto you! This blog is a likely inept attempt at the (mammoth) task of summarising the many experiences, learnings, and aspects of the group I value. Growth, whether you like it or not While there’s no shortage of opportunities to grow in college, Precog has been the most multifaceted. It was while working at Precog…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Passion, Purpose, Precog

    I joined Precog as an honours student at the end of my second year of college (summer 2020). I worked on Computational Social Science related research problems, under PK’s purview. My journey has been meaningful and rewarding in many ways! Through this blog, I will share my experiences and detail the aspects I valued the most. Here are some things I loved about being at Precog: Purposeful Work The research done at Precog is very applied and practical in nature. I worked on analysing the spread of Islamophobic hate-speech online and identifying malicious actors. I appreciated that we worked on a current-world problem which made the research timely and pertinent…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “Will” by Will Smith with Mark Manson

    Thanks to a book stalls in airports 🙂 Was browsing through books, was looking for something else, did not find it, but stumbled on the book Will, thanks to the colourful cover I guess! [Page 42] I trust God. And I am so thankful for his grace in my life. I know that every single breath I take is a gift. And it’s impossible to be unhappy when you’re grateful. [43] Some combination of hard work, education, and God would topple any and all obstacles and enemies. The only variable was the level of my commitment to the fight. [64] Truly intelligent people do not have to use language like…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “The Alchemist: A Fabble About Following Your Deam” by Paulo Coelho

    While reading the book Will by Will Smith, he mentions [my blog on excerpts from the book] one of the influential books for him was The Alchemist. I decided to read it. Keeping the recent tradition of buying one book per travel [not sure how long will I be able to continue doing this :)], bought this book. It was a fantastic decision, I am going to rate this book very high in my reading list recommendations. [Page 10] It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. [14] It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  Students

    Learn, Bond, Grow @ Precog!

    Back in 2020, I was as perplexed as any other second year student when I had to make a choice for a lab and an advisor to pursue my honours. My interests lay in working on applied NLP and real world problems that could have a direct impact on people’s lives and society. After elaborate considerations and weighing my options amongst the many brilliant labs at IIITH, I decided to work WITH Prof. PK at Precog. I’m sincerely thankful to my really cool seniors at Precog who introduced me to the lab, explained to me about the spectrum of work that happens, and guided me in making the right choice.…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog: a low risk, high return investment

    Precog has been a constant throughout my college life. Having spent three-plus years at Precog, it is much more than a work experience or research experience on my resume. It is what has defined me and my work interests. In this blog, I will take a shot at the impossible task of summarizing my experience, learnings, and the indelible effect PK and Precog have left on me.  Before joining my college, I was very well aware that there existed this majestic lab headed by this mystical professor. My first introduction to Precog was through my brother when I was still in 12th grade. He had applied to Precog but got…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog : A Journey to Remember

    Ahh, the precog journey is reaching a logical conclusion with this blog. The blog is going to be a thank you letter, a thank you letter for three beautiful years at Precog, working with PK and fellow precoggers, learning and growing from the wonderful experiences. I will highlight the different projects and experiences at Precog and focus on how they shaped and taught me. Before I begin a piece of advice to anyone thinking about joining/knowing more about Precog culture and work, read these blogs !! (At least that’s what I did while deciding, all of these are experiences straight from the horse’s mouth and will give you excellent insights).…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Precog: Where Magic Happens

    During the end of my 5th semester, I started searching for professors to do an independent study under. The reason for this search was simple – I needed an LoR as I planned on going for higher studies. After talking to seniors and batchmates, it became very clear that Precog was the best place for this purpose. As I sit now, 1.5 years later, recollecting my journey in Precog, I realize I have gained so much more than an LoR – in fact, I realize that I have gained more than I could have ever imagined in December 2020. My first interaction with PK was in the last round of…

  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Why working at Precog is totally different!

    My journey with Precog started right after my second year. PK wasn’t a full-time IIIT-H prof at that time, but I had already heard a lot about him. I was pretty excited to have got the opportunity to work with him, but looking back I had no clue how unique and life-changing my two years with Precog would be. I use the word “unique” because my experience at the lab was totally different, in many special ways that make me proud to be a #Precogger! Q: Give reasons why your journey with Precog was so different: Reason 1: Freedom That’s right, freedom. Probably my favourite thing to talk about when…

  • UP Elections 2022

    Midpoint Melodrama: UP Political Twitter Halfway through Polling Phases

    We examined the use of Twitter by 10426 politicians from Uttar Pradesh, across all levels of seniority, midway into the phases of polling in the Uttar Pradesh elections of 2022, starting January 1, 2022, and up until March 1, 2022. We summarize here our key findings by examining four key questions. How does Twitter relate to Urbanization and Literacy? To address the first question, we examined the number of urban residents by location, and levels of literacy, and find there is a statistically significant relationship between both the number (and percentage) or urban residents and the likelihood that politicians in that area use Twitter, as well as with the level…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future” by Indra K. Nooyi

    As I was reading Blackstone / Steve’s story (my blog), I got stumbled on Indra Nooyi’s story; such books instantly strike a cord with me. Book was so engaging, that I finished the book in Jan itself, i.e. 2 books in a month, not very common these days 😛 Was fascinating to read the book that has reference to Chennai a lot, my hometown too! My last book with so much of Chennai reference was Biography of A R Rahman (my blog), there is something lovely about reading books / personalities that has roots to Chennai! I loved the reference to Thata (grandfather in Tamil language) in the book. Book…

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  • UP Elections 2022

    What #hashtag wars tell us about the organization of Uttar Pradesh IT cells, and how parties mark their allies and enemies

    Pitched battles on Twitter are increasingly common among the key players in the Uttar Pradesh elections, since the praises, innuendo, and insults that take shape and virality on Twitter often find new lives on other social media such as WhatsApp, but also on mainstream television and web-based news. We studied nine parties contesting the state legislative elections in Uttar Pradesh – BJP, SP, INC, RLD, BSP, AIMIM, Nishad Party, AAP, and Apna Dal, and collected the hashtags used by over 11,000 politicians at various levels, from sitting MPs and MLAs to party workers. We collected all the hashtags used by the said politicians during Sep 2021 to Jan 2022. We…

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  • Experiences,  IIITD,  Students

    Made in Precog

    Hi there, Welcome to my blog! This one is going to be detailed, so let me give you an overview of what I plan to talk about. I will introduce myself, tell you the story of my life, how Precog fits into the picture, and it’s role in making me who I am today. As an incentive for you to read, I will try to summarize what I learnt along the way, and give you some tips 🙂 Who is Daksh Shah anyway? I am a really enthusiastic kid who is super passionate about computers and finance. I recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree from IIITD (in 2021). I am…

  • UP Elections 2022

    Uttar Pradesh Elections and Twitter: The Cast of Characters

    The Uttar Pradesh elections are being fought on social media just as much as they are in the physical spaces of the campaign. While messages forwarded on WhatsApp are a significant piece of what drives peoples’ political opinions, the primary means of official branding continues to be Twitter for most of the parties and major leaders within the parties. Over the coming weeks, a collaboration between the University of Michigan and IIIT-Hyderabad will analyse the use of social media by politicians on various aspects of the electoral campaign in Uttar Pradesh.

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence” by Stephen A. Schwarzman

    During my stay in Bengaluru in Dec 2021, I visited Landmark in Koramangala Forum Mall. As always, went through many books including the one on Tim Cook, stumbled on this hard cover “What It Takes”, was intrigued, read the cover page, got more intrigued, never knew about a company called Blackstone. Flipped through the book a bit, including the pics of Steve with multiple Presidents of the US, and other influential people in the world. Got hooked to the book, bought the book. Possibly completed the book in first 2 weeks of Jan (384 pages); my 1st book of the year. Some ideas / thoughts / experiences mentioned in the…

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  • Social Media

    HASOC 2021 – Battling Hateful Content in Indic Languages

    Dissemination of hateful content on nearly all social media is increasingly becoming an alarming concern. In the research community as well, this is a heavily studied domain. The HASOC shared task is one such track that intends to provide a platform to develop and optimize Hate Speech detection algorithms. It provides a forum and a data challenge for multilingual research on the identification of problematic content. It is one of the workshops at the proceedings of the Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation (FIRE) 2021.   A group of 8 students from PreCog IIIT Hyderabad participated in all the 6 sub tasks of this challenge. The Task Description This year, the tasks…

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  • Experiences,  Research,  Social Computing

    The long winding road of a research project …

    Every research project has its journey, and this is the story of one of them. My (5th year Dual Degree CSE student) tryst with this research project titled ‘Suspended Accounts’ started way back in July 2019. It’s been over two years since the project’s inception.  It took over two years to complete this project, a sign that it wasn’t the smoothest of rides. I am using this blog as a medium to pen down some takeaways that I took from my first experience leading a research project. Again I will emphasize that these are my takeaways and are not universally applicable.  Prune the Project: We went into the project with…

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  • Research,  Social Computing

    Challenging big social media, falling to partisanship: The Koo Conundrum

    We examined the use of social media by politicians on Koo to understand the spread of political preference and engagement for the social media channel that has sought to challenge Twitter online. We find that the broad trend is not partisan, but almost entirely dominated by a single political party, the BJP. Moreover, we find that there is a clear pattern of repeat use, where politicians are not switching away from other platforms, but rather using Koo in addition to, and more importantly, as a secondary option to their existing accounts on Twitter. Both of these have consequences for the longer-term adoption of Koo, and the content experience of new…

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  • Experiences,  IIITD,  Students

    How to become a Precogger? And Perks of being one…

    I joined Precog starting from my 3rd year, and it has been an amazing learning experience for me, since then. It might sound intimidating to most of us, to work with a professor, who has over 8000 citations or to even become part of such a large research group. But trust me, there is nothing to be afraid of. Being an introvert, I myself had a lot of reservations before joining the group. I was scared of petty things like, will I be able to make a good first impression, how will I talk to Ph.D. level students, what if PK doesn’t like my work, yada yada yada. However, my…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea” by Bob Burg & John David Mann

    Thanks to Office of Students Affairs & Communication team at IIIT Delhi for sending me this book, T-shirt, and IIITD Mask 🙂 I was ❤️😍😮 all at once, when I got a packet with “Gift Item” on top; arrived on July 12. Background for why they may have sent it — as part of the #Induction2020 we sent out Last Lecture book and Tshirts to #Classof2024, some posts about these . Just out of curiosity, flipped through the pages, reading a few lines here and there, got very curious after that; given that I have not read a book say in the last month or so (thanks to the move!!!!),…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  Students

    Learning to be part of a group : My Journey with Precog

    It dates back to my fourth semester in IIIT when I first came to know about PK. During that period I was exploring various research labs and was looking for advisors for my honours project. While talking to one of my fellow Precog seniors, he suggested that an advisor like PK would be the perfect option considering my interests and future plans. Luckily, all this happened in the evening just before the deadline day, which left me with a night to prepare my application as I also had an exam the following day. So, I spent the night writing my SOP and updating my resume, submitted the application, got an…

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  • Experiences,  IIITD,  Students

    Precog: From FOMO to a Learning Mindset

    If there is one thing that would describe any student’s life in India, it would be FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). FOMO makes you do something you might not even want to do. The engineering decision you took, the various competitions you participate in, the effort you gave to get your dream intern. You do a lot of things just because your peers are doing it. And we find a hundred ways to justify our decisions rather than admitting the herd mentality. Don’t get me wrong, and I’m no guru who’s here to enlighten you. I’m also guilty of being a trend-following guy for the better part of my college…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  Students

    Life at Precog: Coolness overloaded

    I first heard about PK and Precog lab from some of my friends in my 4th semester (February 2019). Back then, PK was on sabbatical at my college, IIIT Hyderabad. I had zero research experience & was looking to expand my knowledge in Computer Science to find my passion. I started digging into his work and found his papers very interesting. I and a few of my friends talked to Kanay who was working with him on “The Lok Sabha Elections Project”. He referred us and that’s how we got the opportunity to work with the lab on the #Election2019 project. After working for a few days, I liked the…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  Students

    My Journey with Precog

    My journey with Precog started from March 2018 during the 4th semester of college. During that time, I was exploring different fields (for my Honors project) and was trying to find something that’s not only technically challenging but also has an impact on real life problems. With the help of some digging around, I came across PK sir and Precog group from IIIT-D. What piqued my interest was the kind of problems that Precog was working on, especially the ones related to OSM (Online Social Media) and privacy. Being a regular user of such platforms, I had always wondered about the potential and impact of such systems and how analysing…

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  • COVID 19,  Research,  Social Computing

    Is a Democrat more likely to wear a mask than a Republican?? Unmasking the partisan combat, an analysis through Instagram

    We analyze 3.91 million Instagram posts collected throughout 2020 from the 4 top Democratic and 4 top Republican states. Posts from Democratic states were found to have significantly higher percentages of detected masks, and significantly lower percentages of group photos, showing higher adoption of mask-wearing and social distancing measures than Republican states. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed life in the world including, United States, with the country recording over 32.3 million cases and 574,000 deaths as of April, 2020. With the ongoing widespread vaccine rollout, the adoption of non-pharmaceutical interventions like mask-wearing mandates and stay-at-home laws have proved to be critical for stopping possible transmission routes. In the lead-up to…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “Models of My Life: The Remarkable Autobiography of the Nobel Prize winning Social Scientist & Father of AI” by Herbert A Simon

    My March 2021 book! Have heard so many things about Prof. Herbert Simon on CMU campus, was always curious about his life, this book satisfies my curiosity about his childhood, teenage, UG days, Ph.D. life, Nobel Prize Laureate, etc. I first read the Chapter 9 “Building a Business School: The Graduate School of Industrial Administration” called as GSIA on campus, renamed to Tepper School and then rest of the chapters. Was lovely to read about CMU in many chapters 😛 [Page xix] I have been a scientist, but in many sciences. I have explored mazes, but they do not connect into a single maze. My aspirations dod not extend to…

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  • Research,  Social Computing

    Koo: The New King? Characterizing India’s Emerging Social Network

    India’s recent multilingual social network, Koo, has generated quite a buzz in the past few months. The platform, which closely resembles the microblogging service Twitter, was launched in March 2020 to encourage online discourse in Indian languages. Koo saw an enormous surge in popularity due to the Indian Government’s standoff with Twitter over the latter’s refusal to block accounts the Centre claimed were spreading fake news related to the February 2021 farmers’ protests. Many politicians, celebrities, and government departments tweeted about their shift to Koo and encouraged others to join.  As Koo became the talk of the town, we decided to collect data and characterize the platform based on its…

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  • Capitol Arrests,  Capitol Riots,  Research,  Social Computing

    Capitol Riots/Aftermath : The Road from Washington to Arrest

    In the aftermath of the Capitol riots that took place on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C., federal prosecutors continue to charge participants involved. USA TODAY is gathering details of these cases as the FBI keeps identifying and prosecuting more perpetrators involved in the storming. They have compiled a list [Link] of people arrested on a range of charges filed by federal prosecutors, as well as those arrested by Capitol Police and D.C. Metro Police for storming the capitol building. Information for each arrest includes the date of arrest/charge, home state, the charges and a brief summary of what happened. We have collected data from the first arrest taking place…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “A Promised Land” by Barack Obama

    Don’t think there is any explanation needed why I started reading this book; a couple of days after the release of the book, when I posted on Twitter about starting to read, a student of mine commented [paraphrased], “was expecting you to read this book, and looking forward for the summary blog” 😛 Even though I finished the book middle of Jan, got around to write the blog now! This is definitely one of the best books I have read! Was so gripping and engaging. [Page 14] all those misfits who took the scraps that others overlooked or discarded and made beauty no one had seen before. [15] But if…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    #ResearchGiri: My expedition with Precog

    It’s fascinating how time flies and how fate works as I sit here and recall my entire journey with Precog, especially with PK. I clearly remember seeing him with his distinct “red cap” for the first time at KCIS during the summer of 2018. Around the same period, there was a buzz among the students that a well-renowned professor has come to IIIT-H for a sabbatical, and at the least, I knew that he would be advising me one day. After learning about him more, I read some of his works, which were impactful and had a social cause to them, and then (a dramatic pause here !) I looked…

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  • ACM India,  ACM India CouncilGiri,  Experiences

    From a Random Idea to 100+ PhD Clinic Sessions, The Journey!

    TLDR; an idea with discussion among PhD students on campus – ACM India elections nomination – Starting PhD Clinic in a humble way with 4 mentors – Getting elected for ACM India Council  – Starting Clinic under ACM umbrella – Curating mentors – Starting AMA sessions – Completing 100+ students and have regular student requests – Amazing feedback from students, faculty and others – Thanks to many for helping with this #StrengthofWellWishers Oct 2019: As part of my Dean of Student Affairs role, I organized Open-House to meet with students on campus, once a month; this was done regularly among UG, Masters, and PhD students separately. During one of these…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Moving Ahead with PreCog and #Profgiri

    Formally, my journey with Precog and PK began on January 4th, 2018 (Precog’s Birthday).  #Preface However, it started in August 2017 when PK gave a talk about the work at PreCog and said they were looking for new members. I instantly connected with the group and their work. I desperately wanted to be a part of the cool projects they were working on. I got back to my room, formatted my Resume, wrote a Statement of Purpose, and sent my application. Like in any good story, I didn’t get through the first time. It was a major disappointment for me, but I knew I had to make my profile better.…

  • Experiences,  IIITD,  StudentGiri,  Students

    My PhD journey … up, down, and then up

    A PhD journey is never easy, and it becomes even more difficult when you are doing it alongside a regular faculty job at IGDTUW. But, there are many factors that have helped me sail through in this journey. The first factor is my PhD advisor (‘PK’ as he likes himself to be called, without the ‘Sir’). This in itself should give you a sense of his humility and down-to-earth attitude. He has been extremely understanding to me all throughout this amazing journey. He is one among those who has dedicated his life to academics. In this journey, I have had so much to learn from him, not just the technical…

  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Tim Ferriss

    About a year back I stumbled on this book, bought it then, but got to reading it recently, completed it a couple of days back. Absolutely a brilliant book, a must read for different perspectives in life! I read this book little differently than usual, I read only a few pages at a time, because there are many profound thoughts in these pages, it took a while to digest them before moving on. The book is 672 pages long, but did not feel like it was such a long book! I now follow all Titans on Twitter, whose account is mentioned in the book 🙂 This excerpt is no justice…

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  • Books

    Excerpts from “Hyperfocus: How to Work Less and Achieve More” by Chris Bailey

    Don’t remember who recommended or how I got to know this book, finished it during this weekend. This book has some great advice, capturing it below. [Page 17] The more we can manage our attention with intention, the ore focused, productive, and creative we become. [Page 20] [41] But again, just because we’re busier doesn’t mean we’re getting more accomplished. [42] It doesn’t matter how busy we are if that busyness doesn’t lead us to accomplish anything of importance. Productivity is not about cramming more into our days but about doing the right thing in each moment. [70] Productivity is often a process of understanding our constraints…… Make sure you…

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  • Experiences,  Students

    A Journey Down the Precog Memory Lane

    My story starts on June 13, 2018. I was on my way to Hyderabad to join as a Research Intern in the CVIT lab. On the train, I was browsing through Facebook lazily, while my mind was wandering elsewhere, wondering what kind of project I would work on at IIIT. As I was scrolling through a few memes in my Facebook feed, I thought it would be absolutely hilarious if I end up working on memes in my research. The very next day, Prof. Jawahar told me that I would be working on a project related to “memes for blind” with Prof. Ponnurangam Kumaraguru.  Thus, I began my wonderful journey…

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  • Books

    Excerpts from “What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey

    I believe, I read this book a couple of years ago! Wasn’t in the habit of blogging then, but as always, I had highlighted some lines / paragraphs that were interesting / intriguing / though-provoking. This book is definitely one of those books that is quick to read, and has profound thoughts in it. I have referred to many points from this book in the last couple of years, here I am highlighting some excerpts from the book. [Page 5] And when you get the choice to sit it out and or dance, I hope you dance. [27] “Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires…

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  • Experiences,  Students

    At the crossroads: (with) Precog

    Life is a journey through innumerable cross-roads. And at each cross-road, we are going to meet new people, experience new things, and spend our precious time. In January 2019, I (Aanshul Sadaria – IIIT H Class of 2020) came at one such crossroad, not that I knew it was going to be a life-remembering junction of my journey. I happened to remember reading a mail from an unusual named professor – Ponnurangam Kumaraguru asking for students to work on the #Killfie project. It didn’t tingle my senses much due to the fact that it was a more formal mail (which is quite anti-PK) and more importantly because it focussed on…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  Students

    Solving ‘cool’ problems, with the coolest of all – Precog!

    My journey starts from back in May 2017. It was the summer when I was starting off with my first ‘social computing’ project. As I had just completed my 2nd year in college, I had almost no knowledge about the research domain. I was looking for professors or researchers in the field of computational social science and social computing to guide me with the technical aspects of the field. This is when I came across PK sir and his research group PreCog in New Delhi. They were doing some really amazing work analyzing social systems and the social web. What really interested me the most was this was all for…

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  • Books,  Excerpts

    Excerpts from “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight

    After completing the book on Elon Musk, started reading this amazing memoir by Phil Knight. The book is very gripping, especially getting to know the emotions in various situations, world tour planning, relationship with Bowerman, Pre, Johnson, Strasser, Hayes, Woodell, the details of law suits, managing the persistent situation of “Pay Nissho first”, etc. etc. I would highly recommend this book for any entrepreneur at any phase, and this book really fits the “entrepreneurial thinking” philosophy. [Page 21] The junk merchant doesn’t sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer. [23] I was a linear thinker, and according to Zen linear thinking is nothing but a delusion, one…

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  • Experiences,  IIITH,  Students

    The Tale of my coincidental thesis featuring Ponguru as the Guru

    The circumstances under which I met Prof PK cannot be exactly called fortuitous, but they do make for an interesting story, nonetheless (if I may say so myself). And am I glad that it happened! Let me start by telling you about this. After the sad demise of my previous thesis advisor (may his soul rest in peace), my previous research work had come to a grinding halt. After running like a headless chicken for a few months, the faculty thought it made more sense for me to dedicate my research hours to a new research topic. To the uninitiated, having to change research topics is not only daunting but…

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  • Books

    Excerpts from “Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of Spacex and Tesla is Shaping our Future” by Ashlee Vance

    After finishing the book “The Everything Store”, I started reading another book, I probably completed about 40 – 50 pages, the book was super heavy and a lot of new terms to digest, I will write a blog on this book, if I do end up finishing it!!! So was looking for a break, and picked up this 360 pages book on Elon Musk. Thanks to Dhruv Kuchal for giving this book to me in Summer / Fall 2019. Dhruv, one of our Research Associates #classof2019 is currently a Ph.D. CS student at GaTech. [page 9] “I [Elon] think there are probably too many smart people pursuing Internet stuff, finance,…

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  • Experiences,  Students

    Together with PK and Precog

    My name is Himanshu, a final year student at IIIT-Hyderabad. I am honoured to have the opportunity to write this blog. PK has been more than a mentor to me. He shares a very healthy relationship with all his students.  I got to know PK in the starting of my 3rd year when he visited IIIT-H during his sabbatical. As the semester began, I learnt about the new sabbatical faculty from some of my friends who took courses and projects with PK. The projects offered by PK were based on real-time challenges with a quite unique and interesting approach. He took over the students with a storm and I also…

  • Experiences,  Students

    Once upon a time working under (strikethrough) with PK

    Hi! Myself Shreya, Dual Degree student at IIIT-H. Around Feb / Mar 2018, I heard about PK through a senior of mine. He told me so many things about him and I also searched him and his work online. A week before he was coming for his 1+ year sabbatical, I started reading his research papers, made points why I want to work “under” him. As soon as we got mail that PK joined the college for a year, I mailed him for a meeting regarding research. Surprisingly, I received the response mail from him with a date and time which I wasn’t expecting so quickly. In between I prepared…

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  • Books

    Excerpts from “The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon” by Brad Stone

    Wrapped this amazing 432 pages book over the weekend! Here are some compelling lines from the book: [Page 49] Bezos told his parents there was a 70 percent chance they could lose it all. ‘I want you to know what the risks are, because I still want to come home for Thanksgiving if this doesn’t work’ he said. [92] Physically, I’m a chicken. Mentally, I’ bold. [115] They agreed on five core values and wrote them down on whiteboard in a conference room: customer obsession, frugality, bias for action, ownership, and high bar for talent. [160] [167] ‘If you’re not good, Jeff will chew you up and spit you out.…

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  • Books

    Excerpts from “Mind Master: Winning Lessons From A Champion’s Life” by Viswanathan Anand

    Just finished the book “Mind Master: Winning Lessons From A Champion’s Life” by Viswanathan Anand. Thanks Vishy for sharing the inside story of your raise, fall, tips, etc. I especially loved the insights on the games you lost, which unwraps qualities needed to take failures! Touching to read about Chennai, I grew up in Chennai too 🙂 Some compelling lines from the book: [Page 25] My mother and I would take them to and from the club, and a good game meant that I would be treated to a bucket of ice cream with tiny chunks of jelly and nuts in it at the parlour right next to our house.…

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  • Experiences,  Students

    The Highs and the Lows: The (extra)ordinary journey!

    As I sit down to pen this blog, there’s a flurry of emotions that run through my mind; happiness, sadness, nervousness, excitement, and anxiousness. Last couple of years have been a crucial part of my life starting 2014 when I began my adventurous and bumpy PhD ride. PhD isn’t easy and there will certainly be plenty of obstacles on the way to touching that shiny degree. Disclaimer in bold: I don’t plan to demotivate my reading audience, just putting words to my thoughts as they flow. Take all the bad and good things which you read with a pinch of salt. Trust me, its all worth it in the end(the…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Ode to PK (and Precog)

    My name is Dheeraj, and I’ve just completed my third year at IIIT-H. I had the opportunity to work with PK on his sabbatical here at IIIT-H. As I sit down to write this, it seems kind of an injustice to sum up all of my experiences with PK in a few words. I’m not great with putting emotions into words, but I will try my best. I’m also aware that most people write this blog after they’ve completed their journey with PK, but I hope that isn’t the case with me. I hope this blog signifies a beginning, not an end. I’ve absolutely enjoyed my time working with (not…

  • Experiences,  Students

    A Juice Worth The Squeeze

    I am Sayan Chaudhry, and in March 2018, I was distressed. I was a freshman studying Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and I did not know what I was going to do over the summer.  After having spent one year studying away from home, I wanted the perfect balance of being close to my family, working on something I was interested in, and learning a lot in the process. In a moment of revelation I had only seen happen in movies, a thought bubble appeared over my head, “Why don’t I email that one IIIT Delhi professor who had conducted CMU’s pre-departure reception. I think he also went to…

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  • Experiences,  Students

    PK: A ‘guru’ to remember!

    At the beginning of my fourth year, I was just a student looking to finish my course credits. Little did I know that I would be picking the most different and interesting course all by pure chance. PK sir had sent an email regarding his privacy and security course and I thought it was intriguing. I applied for the course and to my surprise, the structure was different from every other course I have ever taken. He was always super passionate about his work and that bled into the way he taught as well. PK not only makes content interesting and fun but also forms real connections with students. Multiple…

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  • Experiences,  Students

    Journey with PK – An odyssey known as #profgiri

    I am writing this blog after working with PK for close to a year in his sabbatical at IIIT Hyderabad. This blog tries to recapitulate all my experiences of this period – be it the fun, the learning, the work or the course Big Data and Policing. It essentially conveys the journey of PK becoming my guide and friend, rather than just being a professor. Initial contact and the first project The first time I heard about PK was in my 4th semester when I was looking for a summer internship. I remember seeing his profile and showing it to my roommate, to which he said, “Look at his citations!…

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  • Experiences,  StudentGiri,  Students

    Journey of two years, learnings of a lifetime – My Precog Experience

    I remember first hearing about Precog and PK back in 2015 when I was seeking admission to IIIT Delhi. For a freshman in an institute with most of its faculty being graduates from the most prestigious universities around the world, Precog seemed to be one of its crown jewels: headed by a CMU graduate, doing socially relevant work, having several laurels to its name, its members at top places around the world, and as expected being super competitive to get into. As overwhelming as this seemed to me then, I always wanted to work hard, do projects and build my profile so that I can later try and make an…

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  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Social Media Report Card

    Know Our Ministers: Social Media Report Cards of Our Ministers

    With the Ministers officially sworn in to serve the new government, we made an attempt to analyze their social media presence. In doing so we have come up with the Social Media Report Cards of the Ministers. We took the listing of the Ministers from the government document issued by the President of India. Among the Ministers who were sworn in on the 30th of May, there were 44 Ministers from Lok Sabha, amongst these 44 (Male = 39 Female = 5), 42 had social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram). This blog is dedicated to analyzing the 42 ministers’ (Male = 37 Female = 5) social media presence. The…

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  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Phase 2,  Social Media,  VotingRound2

    #LokSabhaElections2019 Phase 1 vs Phase 2

    Phase 1 Phase 2 Total number of tweets (original, RTs, quotes) 235,833 280,256 Retweets 181,681 228,588 Quotes 8,697 6,296 Original tweet 45,455 45,372 Hashtags 123 91 Unique users who posted the tweets 99,794 84,659 Top 5 languages used in the post (derived the language from the Twitter JSON) English (140,163) Hindi (66,980) Telugu (2,899) Tamil (1,780) Marathi (1,510) English (134,325) Hindi (69,489) Tamil (40,903) Oriya (3,809) Marathi (2,752) Top 5 devices used to do the posts Twitter for Android (155,805) Twitter for iPhone (31,251) Twitter Web Client (22,930) Twitter Web App (16,871) Twitter for iPad (2,623) Twitter for Android (207,830) Twitter Web Client (24,847) Twitter for iPhone (22,312) Twitter Web…

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  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Phase1,  Social Computing,  VotingRound1

    Phase 1 #LokSabhaElections2019 Social Media Round-up

    Today the first of the seven phases of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 went underway in India; we had 91 constituencies spread across 20 states that went for polling. 14.21 crore Indians are expected to have casted their vote today. We collected Twitter data using 123 hashtags, and collected over 2 lakh tweets from 0300hrs until 1900hrs (stay tuned, we will make these data public soon). The cumulative distribution graph of the Tweets posted over the duration of the data collection with the top 5 hashtags can be seen below. The same graph, but depicting the Tweets posted with the top 5 mentions can be seen below. Further, we share the…

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  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Research,  Social Computing

    NaMo Vs RaGa: On Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn

    As the nation gears up for the first phase of the parliamentary elections tomorrow, it will be interesting to see in detail the emerging candidates vying for the seat of the Prime Minister seat. Taking forward our empirical analysis of Social Media dialogues around elections, we analyze the two primary candidates, Narendra Modi (NaMo) and Rahul Gandhi (RaGa). In this blog, we have a look at their presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Before we get into the analysis of their profiles, we quickly visit the recently released manifestos of each of their parties and share a word cloud of the topics addressed in them. To obtain this…

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  • #LokSabhaElections2019,  Elections2019,  Research,  Social Computing

    Who-Follows-Whom?, #ChaupalOnTwitter, Political Satire Videos

    Who-Follows-Whom? Earlier in our ongoing blog series on the forthcoming Indian parliamentary elections we had characterized the following network of verified political handles. Today we share the results of analysing the follower/following patterns of these handles amongst each other. To understand the interactions between the political handles (otherwise parties), we populate a table which shows the ratio of total number of followings of one party to another by the total number of handles of that party. Below is the table with all the counts of followings of each party’s members against another party’s handles, e.g. total number of connections from all AAP accounts following BJP accounts is 912. Next, we…

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  • Elections2019,  Research,  Social Computing

    The #MainBhiChowkidar Campaign: 30% Verified, 36% non-verified Handles added Chowkidar to their Name

    Below is the first occurrence of the #MainBhiChowkidar by @narendramodi The tweet was dated March 15th 0900hrs IST. This hashtag was part of the campaign; we found this hashtag trending in India by 1100hrs. We were interested in studying the different facets of this campaign, in particular, name changes in the user name of the accounts, verified and others. Screen name / handle is restricted to 15 alphanumeric characters (letters A-Z, numbers 0-9) with the exception of underscores and name of the account is restricted to 50 alphanumeric characters, including special characters and emojis. First occurrence of MainBhiChowkidar Of the 1,268 verified handles (we reported 1,252 in our blog post…

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  • Building Systems,  Social Computing,  Students

    MIME: A Social Network for Meme Enthusiasts. A course project turned into 10,000+ Lines of Code.

    Memes have become a predominant means of expression in the Internet culture, they are not only used as a means of entertainment but as an important tool for advertising, spreading propaganda and even political ideologies. However, the creation of memes is limited to a niche community of content creators who are skilled in photo/video editing software. MIME is a platform which empowers people who lack these skills to become a part of the meme conversation. We built a one-stop solution for all meme needs – a maker space where people can create memes, a personalized meme feed, and a space to connect with other meme enthusiasts. Further, we hypothesize that…

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