Computer Centre of the University of Kerala was setup in 1977 for providing computer facilities for the research activities in the university. Being the only centre in South India with mainframe computing facilities, it attracted researchers from far and wide. In the present IT era the centre took up new challenges in the field of IT enabling of University administration. The centre meticulously follows the principles of business process redesign as a prerequisite of IT enabling. The centre has repositioned itself as a software development centre catering to the needs of the higher education sector of the nation. University Computer Centre is located near the administration block in the Palayam campus . Computer Centre is handling many IT projects for the University.
History and Growth
Computer Centre started functioning on a moderate scale with an IBM-1620, a Second generation computer donated by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram. VSSC had not only installed the system in the University office campus but also had provided with the staff to operate it. This new computer facility introduced the general student community to the use of computers and gradually the computer awareness started growing and the need of computer utilization showed a rising trend.
In order to meet the growing needs of users, the University had decided to go for new large modern system and to start its own full-fledged department. With this in view, a third generation 16-bit machine TDC-316 manufactured by M/s Electronics Corporation of India Ltd, Hyderabad was acquired by the University with the grant sanctioned by the UGC and has established a separate department of Computer Centre during March 1977. After the successful completion of rigorous acceptance testing, the machine was commissioned. The history of Computer Centre starts from there. The Centre was formally inaugurated by the then Vice-Chancellor of the University Dr. R.S. Krishnan, on 16th July 1977. The computer facility was released to general users and student community by Sri. M.K. Hemachandran, the then Hon. Minister for Finance, Government of Kerala, on October 14, 1977.
The computer used at that time had a lower capacity when compared to current generation computers, but it was a powerful system available at that time. The TDC-316 Computer System had a configuration of Card Reader (600 cpm), Line Printer (600 lpm), two Magnetic Tape transports (37.5 IPS, 800BPI) and Disk Drive (7.25M Bytes). Later, a new building for Computer Centre was constructed. Computer Centre started functioning in the present building on September 10, 1984 and the functioning was inaugurated by the Hon. Vice Chancellor of the University Sri. Habib Mohammed. To extend computer literacy, Computer Centre started short term courses on computer related subjects on April 1987. Computer Centre was also recognized as a research centre of University of Kerala in 1987 and students opted Computer Centre as their centre of research. To meet the research and computing requirements at Karivattom campus, an extension centre of Computer Centre started functioning during October, 1988. To enhance the communication facilities, during January 1994, facility for e-mail was established through ERNET and this was the only e-mail facility available in the University. All the departments of the University made use of this facility for several years until the Internet became common. In September 1995, Post Graduate Diploma course in Computer Applications was launched at the centre. A website of the University was launched on a trial basis during 1997.
Apart from the different academic activities, Computer Centre was also able to undertake the different computerization activities to help the administration and finance activities. Development of software for the management of demand drafts received as fees from users was the initial step in this direction. Another major computerization activity undertaken by Computer Centre during this period was the computerization of Cash Counters at Palayam and Kariavattom Campuses. Computer Centre developed and installed customized software for cash receipts for different purposes and the University makes use of this software even after 14 years. Computer Centre successfully did development and running of software for B.Ed. admissions for different, Teacher Education Centres of the University located at different places for several years from its beginning.
As the demand for computerization increased, the University started the computerization of its regular activities from the year 2001 onwards. The examination computerization activities began by computerizing the degree preparation process by automating the process using custom built degree management software. University issues special hologram embedded degree forms with several visible and hidden security features and Computer Centre manages the system since its beginning from the year 2001.
The second phase in examination computerization was the computerization of tabulation works. Tabulation sections of all examinations of the University make use of custom made software developed by Computer Centre. The Web applications developed by Computer Centre help different examinations sections to allow students register for examinations through ONLINE.
Computer Centre has designed and implemented an intranet in the University campus for use by different wings, for information sharing. The works for implementing WiFi networks for Palayam and Kariavattom campuses and modern Data Centre at Palayam are in progress and these will be commissioned soon. Steps for setting up of smart classrooms and Administrative Staff College for inter university activities are in progress.
Being a pioneering institution, the Computer Centre had many features and firsts to its credit.
The first Computer Installation in Thiruvananthapuram, outside VSSC.
The first University Computer Centre in Kerala State and neighboring states.
At one time eight universities namely Kerala University, Cochin University, Calicut University, Kerala Agricultural University, Agricultural University - Tirupati, Sri Venkateswara University, Madurai Kamaraj University and Annamalai University were using the facility.
Departments like Technical Education, Economics & Statistics, Small Industries, Entrance examinations, and organizations like PWD, Kerala Police, IRE, CSI, Planning Board, KSEB, KSFDC, KSCC, SCMC, LIC, IMG, LBSCST, NATPAC, KELTRON, ER&DC made use of the facilities of Computer Centre.
For the first time, computer consultancy service was made available for educational, commercial, administrative applications.
Introduction of Computer Science Course in the year 1985 at the Centre started computer education in Kerala State.
Catered the research and computing needs of the affiliated colleges of the University.
Service to external users including the Government of Kerala was provided.
Computer Centre could earn revenue to the University by way of consultancy services.
The Centre played an important role in creating computer awareness and for propagating computer culture in the state of Kerala.