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Chennai, NFAPost: Ecommerce marketplace Flipkart has announced an MoU with IIT Patna, the leading science, engineering and technology institute. The MoU is a step to strengthen Flipkart’s academic collaboration, which it has been inculcating for past 5 years now.

The MoU with IIT Patna will help create industry focused applied research in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML).

As a part of this MoU, IIT Patna will undertake a number of programs such as joint research activities, writing research papers, organising seminars, internship / mentorship opportunities to name a few. The academic collaboration is expected to bring real world industry exposure to students and scholars of IIT Patna, and to provide an opportunity to the faculty member(s) to work closely with Flipkart on research projects. Flipkart expects to foster an environment of collaboration in the areas of automation, AI, NLP and ML and help build critical national capabilities. 

Flipkart Chief Data Scientist Mayur Datar said, “Academic collaborations are a great way to forge long term relationships between industry and academia, to help accelerate the translation of research into new projects and help drive ecosystem benefits which could lead to economic growth.”

The aim behind this collaboration is to create industry-focused applied research which could help reach ecommerce to more consumers and sellers alike. With this MoU, Flipkart aims to establish deeper academia collaborations which could help students and the academia to leverage its data and platform knowledge to work on India specific ecommerce challenges, in addition to publishing research papers. 

IIT Patna Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Asif Ekbal said, “We are very pleased to have this MoU with Flipkart, which has churned out many India specific and India first innovations to solve for adoption of ecommerce in India.”

“The​ research is particularly aimed at developing robust machine translation techniques for translating the large amount of user reviews written in English to the Indian vernacular languages, and at the same time will ensure that the translation process should preserve the domain knowledge (e.g. sentiment, emotion, gender traits etc), which is extremely crucial for the translation service providers (TSPs) that make use of machine translation (MT) in production,” Asif Ekbal said.

“Through this initial collaboration, we expect to come up with at least two high-quality publications in the relevant foras, and create a baseline translation workflow in the product review domains. This academic collaboration is expected to bring real world industry exposure to the students and scholars of IIT Patna, and at the same time will provide an opportunity to the faculty member(s) to work closely with Flipkart on research projects,” he added.

Flipkart is vested in long-term advancement of universities in India through impactful academic research aligned to industry needs. Flipkart works closely with academia through some of the leading institutes including Indian Institute of Science (IISC), IIT (Kharagpur, Bombay and Kanpur), IIM (Ahmedabad and Kolkata) and a few foreign universities like Carnegie Mellon University and University of California, San Diego to develop technologies such as fashion recommendation, query understanding, attribute extraction, demand planning, product categorization, review helpfulness, supply chain management (e.g., warehouse storage allocation), fraud detection and next basket prediction. It has resulted in several research papers in world-class conferences in areas like information retrieval and knowledge discovery.  

The Flipkart Group includes group companies Flipkart, Myntra, and PhonePe. Started in 2007, Flipkart has enabled millions of consumers, sellers, merchants and small businesses to be a part of India’s ecommerce revolution, with a registered customer base of over 250 million, offering over 150 million products across 80 categories. The recent launch of Flipkart Wholesale, its new digital marketplace, is a testament to its commitment to accelerate the growth of kiranas and MSMEs in India.

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