According to the Regional Human Development Report 2016 of the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), India will dominate all Asia Pacific countries for the working-age population by 2050. India’s working-age population is projected to rise to 1.1 billion by 2050. Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Asia and the Pacific, said, “If countries in Asia-Pacific do not create optimal employment conditions, the regional economy will begin to slow down by 2050 as the current working-age population begins to retire.”
The current scenario in India is quite different. The overall education levels are low. Shortage of good institutions and competent faculty members are hindering the young population to reach their true potential. They do not get good job opportunities in the core field. In contrast, industries do not hire fresh people since they could not find employable candidates. If preventive measures and steps are not taken to improve the situation, the country will lose an opportunity of immense economic growth and furthermore after some time, this asset will become a liability to the country.
FOSSEE(Free/Libre and Open Source Software for Education) is working for improving education levels in India, close to a decade by promoting Open-Source software. FOSSEE is the project funded by National Mission on Education through ICT, MHRD, Government of India, based out of IIT Bombay.
The FOSSEE team mainly works on making available the state of the art open source software systems to people in general and to students and faculty in particular, since these resources are available to everyone, anywhere in the world. The FOSSEE team promotes and helps to use DWSIM, eSim, OpenFoam, OpenModelica, OpenIPSL, Arduino, scilab, etc. through different activities. The work of the FOSSEE project is available to the community free of cost through the website https://fossee.in.
For chemical engineering students, FOSSEE is promoting DWSIM. DWSIM is an open source, state of the art, general purpose steady-state process simulator, comparable to commercial simulators. It has an attractive graphical user interface, a rich library of unit operations and CAPE Open compliant thermodynamics. It is easy to create custom models and new compounds in DWSIM. FOSSEE is also in the process of adding chemical engineering capability to a state of the art general purpose dynamic simulator OpenModelica.
FOSSEE is promoting DWSIM project through a collaborative flowsheeting project. Through this project, chemical engineering students from all over the country have been creating process simulations. Their results are validated and published by FOSSEE for free use by both industry and academia at https://dwsim.fossee.in/flowsheeting-project/completed-flowsheet, wherein more than 100 flowsheets are available. Almost 80 more flowsheets are in progress. Honorarium and e-certificates are given to every contributor who has completed the flowsheet successfully.
On completing milestone of 100 flowsheets and as a Diamond Jubilee celebration of IIT Bombay, FOSSEE had organized National Conference on Chemical Process Simulation – 2018 in collaboration with Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Bombay. More than 80 people have attended the conference. Almost half of them were from the industry.
The aim of FOSSEE activities is to retain the interest of students who want to work in core areas; to enhance their employment potential in core industries. Since students contributing to FOSSEE activities already have a good understanding of simulation over their peers. The companies will save the resources in finding suitable candidates and training by recruiting these students.
In another perspective, there are many small and medium scale industries who cannot afford commercial simulators. If they start using simulation, there will be a marginal improvement in their profits. Since DWSIM is free to use for industry also, they can easily opt to use DWSIM. This will increase the number of jobs over the period for DWSIM learners. This way FOSSEE aims to bridge the gap between industry and academia.
The ultimate goal of FOSSEE is to reach every student in India and give him the opportunity to learn the FOSS available in his field of interest and make available the opportunity for capable students. Also, to help the industry in finding young talent in the country. The FOSSEE team is working tirelessly and taking steps towards its ultimate goal each day. After all, Vincent Van Gogh has said somewhere, “Great things are not done by impulse, but by series of small things brought together.”