Quark (technical festival)

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Quark, BITS Pilani Goa
Quark 2016 Logo
Genre Technical
Dates February
Location(s) Goa, India
Founded 2006
Patron(s) BITS, Pilani - K. K. Birla Goa Campus
Website
www.bits-quark.org

Quark is the annual technical festival of BITS, Pilani - K. K. Birla Goa Campus. One of the biggest festivals of its kind in India, Quark, usually organized in early February, witnesses strong participation, generally running into thousands. Quark has been a major technical festival in the country since its inception and looks forward to its 11th edition from 3 to 5 February 2017.

From its modest beginnings in 2006, Quark morphed into a national-level festival in its 2008 version. Since then, Quark has consistently seen participation from all leading colleges across India. Quark usually features various events pertaining to the different engineering branches as well as the pure sciences.

History[edit]

Quark 2006 was the first version and was an intra-campus competition

Quark 2007 turned Quark into a local inter college Goa festival.

Quark 2008 went national for the first time, featuring participation from all major colleges across India. Apart from the usual technical events, the major highlights included an aero modelling workshop followed by an engaging air show by Mr. Ansari Wasi,(three-time National Aero-Modelling champion and manager of ‘Wings India’), a magic show performed by Mr. Saras Chandra (a National Award Winning magician), and a performance by the juggling troupe "Feeding the Fish" from London.[1]

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam's inaugural speech

Quark 2009 saw greater participation than in the previous edition, playing host to around 5000 students from 350 colleges across India. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, inaugurated the festival, the inaugural speech also being streamed live to the Pilani Campus.[2] Performances by internationally renowned flutist Padma Vibhushan Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia and a fire show by the Carnival of the Divine Imagination(rhythmic fire and light performance group from Brisbane, Australia) pulled huge crowds. BITSMUN (BITS Model United Nations) made its maiden appearance during this edition. ACYUT 2, a humanoid robot made by BITS students, was a significant attraction during the 3 days of the festival.[3]

Quark 2010 surpassed its predecessor in terms of popularity as it attracted more than 35,000 students from different national colleges. The festival was inaugurated by the Honorable Chancellor of BITS, Pilani University Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla. Guest Lectures by Mr. Vic Hayes (known as the Father of Wi-Fi), Nobel Laureates - Prof. Harry Kroto and Prof. Douglas Osheroff, and delegates from Mozilla Foundation were prominent features of Quark 2010. This edition marked the expansion of the festival to international grounds.

Quark 2011 was the 6th iteration of the festival, themed on "Where Parallels Meet", hosted during 3 to 5 February, it saw a footfall of over 12,000 students from colleges all across the country.

Apart from a range of technical and managerial events, Quark 2011 also introduced various new initiatives which saw Guest lectures on sustainability, environment and energy consumption, Environmental exhibitions and Performances by "Green" music bands. These efforts also included events under the header of ‘GanGreen’ which primarily focused on green energy and Social responsibility initiatives like ‘EcoArchitect’ and ‘Bhagirath’.

Graviton, an off-campus initiative aimed at spreading academic innovation through a workshop series on Ethical hacking (GEHWS) and Robotics (GRWS), was organized in the buildup to the festival. This edition of Quark also saw a series of workshops on Fuel Cell Development, Social Media Marketing and Application development on the Windows 7 platform, amongst others.[4]

Quark 2012, the 7th edition of the festival was held during 3 to 5 February 2012. It was strongly themed "Compete, Challenge, Evolve". Quark 2012 was inaugurated by Baba Kalyani, Chairman of Bharat Forge. It boasted of a footfall of 15,000 people from the best educational institutes of the country. Besides the usual events, this edition saw workshops organized by tech giants such as Microsoft and Cypress Semiconductors that helped attract large participation in the festival. Associations with the likes of Dell, Mahindra Rise and Applied Materials have helped take the festival to new heights.

Quark 2013 boasted a plethora of guest lectures, workshops, events and informals to trigger everyone’s grey cells to work. With footfalls exceeding 16,000 and participation from over 500 colleges, Quark'13 witnessed the coming together of the very best from all parts of the country. Some of the highlights of the previous edition of Quark are as follows:

Pre-Quark events in collaboration with Google Developers Group like Google hackathon and INK Talks which brought people from diverse genres like Joi Barua (singer), Krushnaa Patil(mountaineer), Anupam Mukherji (fake IPL player) under one roof provided an excellent kickoff for Quark 2013.

Quark 2013 brought in Chris Phillips (Professor, Imperial College, London), popularly called the invisible man who dazzled a whole crowd of 2000 people in the auditorium by using his "clever coat" and research on quantum physics that rendered him invisible.

The playful tone of technology was set by the Skateboarding workshop by Quicksilver India, Laser Tag and an impressive event lineup that kept the momentum going around Quark 2013. Loads of informal and off-beat events like Tech-quila and #include<fifa.h>

Quark 2013 unravelled the charisma behind singer Gajendra Verma who enthralled the audience with a mesmerizing and highly innovative performance.

Quark 2014, the 8th edition, was held in the month of February 2014. With the theme 'Beyond Dimensions', Quark'14 witnessed the largest ever participation in the history of the festival, with a footfall of nearly 25000 people. There were more than 350 colleges that participated and the event was marked by an increase in the quantity and quality of events, workshops, demonstrations, conferences and entertainment.

Various Pre-Quark events were held, following the trend of last year. The most popular was the Road to Walter Lewin, a series of events that were conducted, with a mostly Physics based theme. These were held as precursors to a 10-day visit by Professor Emeritus from MIT, Walter Lewin, to BITS. This included a two-hour interactive teleconference event conducted during Quark 2014, passes for which could be won through various events during the festival.

Workshops on a variety of technical fields were held during the festival. These were conducted by a team of experts and students were given the opportunity to learnt about these fields. Apart from technical workshops, there were also informal workshops on poker and Aviation origami.

In the spirit of true curiosity, Quark 2014 came up with Celesticon. One thing learned after three millennia, thousands of telescopes, millions of pictures, endless hours of analysis, and studying uncountable stars – we only know a fraction of what is out there. An interesting informative session on the cosmos drew lots of curious enthusiasts.

Quark 2014 also witnessed an expansion in the number of competitive events. Events such as TechQuilla, Papertoss and Lazer Dart were introduced for the first time. These off-beat, non conventional events were well attended.

Quark 2014 had a variety of specialized exhibitions. An exhibition by Team AcYut, a project by the students of BITS Pilani, Pilani Campus displayed India's first completely automated indigenously developed humanoid robot. Jun Fujiwara, a Japanese national displayed his amazing invention ‘The Sound Bottle’. The Sound Bottle captures any sound and mixes it with everyday noises that you choose to give out groovy music when uncorked. Team Pratham from IIT Bombay, is the first student team to create and launch a satellite into orbit. Their project aims at launching at least 5 satellites within the next few years. These Satellites could be test-beds for new technology that is being developed in the institute and also a method for space qualification. Apart from those mentioned above, Quark 2014 had various other exhibitions by SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) BITS Goa. Other innovative concepts such as 3-D printers and Biped Robots were also presented.

Quark 2015 hosted a variety of events that catered to the taste of each and every technology enthusiast who was a part of the fest. True to its theme 'Alter the Obvious', Quark '15 succeeded in making breakthroughs in areas uncovered. The Design and Build events gave numerous opportunities to the participants to test their skills in the arenas of Burnout and Mortar Combat. Various corporate events like Youth Parliament and Wall Street Revolution were held as well to add to the variety. For those who love tapping their fingers on the keyboard, there were various coding events like Codejam, Reverse Coding and Hackathon. Apart from these, Arduino Open and Digilogica were major crowd pullers. Quark 2015 also hosted literary events like Spelling Bee and Quark International Quiz.

Aurora, the special nights, hosted various legendary professionals like Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan Selmy of Game of Thrones) and the world renowned hypnotist Andrew Newton. Quark 2015 also hosted guest lectures by various prominent personalities like Dr. A. S. Pillai, the Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan awardee, and the architect of the world's fastest cruise missile BrahMos, and Mr. Sekhar Basu, the director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Nicolas Hutchet who conceived the Bionico project, and Lorenz Potthast, the designer of the Decelerator Helmet, also shared their valuable experiences.

Quark 2015 also hosted the INK talks that included lectures by Lakshmi Pratury, the founder, host and curator of INK and Dr. Luis Dias, a physician, musician, and founder of Child’s Play, which brings classical music to the under privileged children of India. Sanvar Oberoi, a first-generation agricultural entrepreneur and Shashwat Ratan, the co-founder of Robo Shack Microtronics also graced the event with their presence.


Quark 2016 was held in the first weekend of February 2016. With the theme of ‘Cosmic Odyssey’, Quark ’16 truly was an epic poetry. With over 30,000 footfalls, Quark saw an unprecedented growth in participation and popularity. Keeping up with its ever-growing variety of events, the technical festival of BITS Pilani Goa maintained the immensely popular Burnout and Mortar Combat under Design and Build panel and RoboKombat under Roboficial panel. Events like app designing, and hackathons under the Programming Inc. panel tested every coder's mettle.

The Aurora Nites featured internationally famous mentalist and magician - Chris Cheong, world-renowned, award-winning electric violinist - Kate Chruscicka and Youtube Cover star Siddharth Slathia.

Quark also hosted speeches from world famous cartoonist Stephan Pastis and Indian journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. Bollywood actress Aditi Rao Hydari gave a candid talk, while Brendan Eich, the creator of Javascript and co-founder of Mozilla Corp., addressed the audience with his wise words.

Quark 2017 - Shifting Paradigms[edit]

Quark '17 will be held from 3–5 February. This year, Quark will once again provide a platform for the brightest minds from across the country to showcase their skills by taking part in events under various exciting panels.

Events[edit]

Quark events are divided into multiple categories broadly based on Core Engineering, Pure Sciences and Business. The events are open to participation from students from all over the country and are hotly contested.

Corporate[edit]

A prospective business battleground, Corporate challenges the marketing skills and crisis management instincts of future entrepreneurs. It features events that test the different categories of marketing, advertisement and investment. Bluechip Breakdown, Quest, Wall Street Revolution and Intellect – the Corporate events unearth the finest business minds Gen-Next offers.

Programmer’s Inc.[edit]

A virtual battleground for all computer geeks, this category included events such as Binary Pirates and Applification. Testing coding mettle is the primary aim of this category but the events involve a slight twist, in line with Quark's convention of being unconventional. The last edition of Quark saw over 1500 participants in this category.

Elixir[edit]

For the curious minds that are enthralled by Pure Sciences and itch to apply it everywhere; this segment of Quark is fascinating. Covering a range of events focusing solely on Pure Science, Elixir promises to be an exhilarating experience for young scientists who just can’t help thinking about things differently. It includes events such as Numb3rs a mathematical quizzing event and The Quark National quiz.

Electrify[edit]

This panel challenges electronics enthusiasts and coders to innovate and think out of the box. While DigiLogica and Matmania take digital design and electronics to a whole new level, EmBition requires enthusiasts to work with cutting-edge technology by configuring their own Multiplayer Game Console.

Roboficial[edit]

An array of robotic events which encompass topics like RoboKombat, Image Processing , RoboKick, RoboRace and Line Following, presenting innovation in robotics at its very best. Through their own creations, participants of Roboficial are pitched to design the future.

Design and Build[edit]

With revved up engines and smooth flying copters coupled with events from the Chemical stream, Design and Build at Quark is a major category of events. Previous editions of Quark saw over 2500 participants in this category.

Open Showcase[edit]

Open Showcase provides the brightest minds in the country with a platform to exhibit their innovative models/projects in various disciplines like Computer Science and Information Systems, Electrical, Electronics and Instrumentation, Chemical and Mechanical, Civil and Architecture, Pure Sciences and Management.

Burnout[edit]

It is a fine line that separates a winner from a loser. And it will never be finer than the split-second that will separate victory from defeat as top-of- the -line Remote control car models square off in an obstacle course. Burnout brings together RC car enthusiasts from India’s best colleges in this flagship event that combines aspects of Mechanical Engineering, Electronics and skills behind the wheel.

Matka[edit]

Quark is when India’s best gamers compete in the battle for the coveted title of The Godlike Gamer. M^+K^ has always been one of the highlights of the festival, having witnessed some of India’s best gaming clans battle it out on the Quark console.

Specials[edit]

BITSMUN[edit]

BITSMUN General Assembly in progress

BITSMUN (BITS Model United Nations) is a United Nations simulation, held with an aim to educate participants in civics, current events, effective public speaking, globalization and multilateral diplomacy. The event follows the standard MUN format, in which participants take up roles as international diplomats or delegates and engage in a simulated United Nations conference. BITSMUN is spread over three days, consisting of an inauguration ceremony on Day 1 and a Delegates Ball on Day 2 in addition to two daily sessions of 3 hours on all three days.[5]

Exhibitions, workshops and guest lectures[edit]

Several workshops were conducted during the course of Quark 2010. As part of ‘Corporate’ events, a Six sigma workshop by KPMG was held. An Adobe Flex workshop was conducted to familiarize students with the Adobe Flex software development kit along with a PSoC workshop by Cypress Semiconductors. In addition to this, there were exhibitions by DRDO, CSIR and ISRO.

For Quark 2013, there were workshops by Wikimedia gadget development for MediaWiki and the Python Wikipedia Bot Framework (or PyWikipediaBot) used for automating tasks on a wiki. Other workshops included learning vision robotics, Raspberry Pi and WSN by Inventrom and the like.

Quark 2014 had a plethora of workshops. Cyber Forensics, Swarm Robotics, Internet of Things, Magic glow( Visual technology workshop that uses Persistence of vision), Autonova (Automobile engineering workshop) and Biped( Robotics based on Bipedalism) were the major ones. These workshops were conducted by experts in the field and witnessed healthy participation from both students within BITS and outside.

Quark, in its recent editions, has also presented Guest Lectures by Nobel Laureates Sir Harry Kroto, Prof. Douglas Osheroff and Mr. Vic Hayes. It has also had leading professors such as MIT Emeritus professor of Physics, Walter Lewin in the 2014 edition.

Aurora[edit]

Aurora refers to the special performances during the nights of Quark. Recent performers include the London-based troupe 'Feeding the Fish'(performers at the 2004 Athens Olympics) and 'The Carnival of Divine Imagination' from Australia. The institute's own dance, mime, music and drama clubs also perform at these nights.

Creative Works[edit]

Adventure Zone[edit]

Adventure Zone at Quark'15

Includes adventure activities like Gyroscope, 4D Simulator, Laser tag, Mechanical Bull, Flight Simulator, All Terrain Vehicle (ATV), Segway, etc.

Workshops[edit]

Includes fun filled learning opportunities with the tinge of Technicality. Eg. Card Throwing, Lock Picking.

Informals[edit]

Many unique informal activities are organised which keep the participants involved in the fest aside from the Main Events. Line up for this year include Amazing Race, Crime Scene Investigation, Laser Embazzelment, Flame Thrower, Techquilla, Wire the Loop, Twister, Hit the Hammer, LightSaber Combat, 3D Chess (as in BBT) and many more All Night Poker poses a great attraction to players with a willingness to risk and an itch to win.


Corporate Social Responsibility[edit]

Red[edit]

As a technical festival that has an impact all over the country, Quark has also been a promoter of social responsibilities. Using the wide geographical reach of the organizers, Quark started a nationwide blood donation initiative called Red that met with phenomenal success all over the country and went a huge way in increasing awareness of blood donation in India. It was initiated in collaboration with the Indian Red Cross Society. It was started with a goal to increase awareness and dispel irrational fears about blood donation in the youth of India. It also aims to increase the voluntary blood donors database in India in an effort to make a difference in health care facilities across the country

Sponsorship[edit]

Quark, with a footfall exceeding 30,000, witnesses participation from over 200 colleges from across India and thereby serves to provide the ideal target crowd for branding of numerous multinational corporations.Adding to the crowd BITS Pilani, K.K. Birla Goa campus being one of the top university in India attracts interest from top technical companies. Since its inception, Quark has attracted sponsorship associations from technical giants like Sabre,eBay,IBM, Mahindra, Toyota, Cypress Semiconductors, CEAT,Honeywell, Applied Materials and Syngenta to name a few. The crowded sponsorship matrix, with a wide range of repeating sponsors every year, is indicative of the mutually beneficial and productive associations BITS Pilani fosters with its clients.

Media[edit]

Over the years, Quark has had associations with various media powerhouses such as The Hindu, Hindustan times, The Times of India, Big FM, Radio Mirchi, BBC Knowledge Magazine, Digit, Business Economics magazine and several others. Quark has also been covered by highly prestigious magazines such as Engineering review, Exhibit, Electronics for you, Power Learning and Youth Inc magazine for the past few years. Also, Quark has been extensively featured on several websites and social media pages like Scoopwhoop and The Scribbled Stories. Besides this Quark has been widely covered by Goan TV channels, Newspapers and magazines. In a nutshell, Quark is not only experienced by the people attending the festival but Quark has been successful in reaching millions through mass media.


Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ BITSAA. "QUARK 2008". http://bitsaa.org.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Times Of India (8 February 2009). "Kalam asks engineers to become constructive political leaders". http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 22 November 2010.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  3. ^ Times Of India (9 February 2009). "BITS students make a robot that can dance and run". http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ The Hindu. "BITS-Pilani fest on February 3". http://www.thehindu.com/.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ BITSMUN. "BITSMUN conference". http://bitsmun.in.  External link in |publisher= (help)

External links[edit]