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Meet Albela, IIT’s answer to Alexa

Students can find their class schedule, tutorial schedule, examination queries, and more through a simple AI-based chat window
The functioning of Albela, chatbot
The functioning of Albela, chatbot
(Sourced by Correspondent)

Abdul Gani   |   Guwahati   |   Published 03.09.19, 09:16 PM

Albela will provide round-the-clock support to students of IIT Guwahati.

A team of postgraduate students from the institute along with their faculty members has developed an artificial intelligence-enabled chatbot, Albela, to teach and support first-year students of electrical and electronics engineering.


Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are virtual assistants developed by Amazon, Apple Inc. and Google respectivley, which are capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, playing audiobooks and providing weather, traffic, sports and other real-time information, such as news.

Albela is capable of addressing queries and doubts that each of the approximately 850 students pursuing electrical and electronics engineering at the institute might have.

Talking about Albela, Praveen Kumar, professor, department of electrical and electronics engineering said, “We have been working on its development since last seven months with a team of dedicated seven research scholars of the department. Earlier, we did the trial runs of the chatbot and started using from this academic session onwards. The response from the students has been overwhelming. We hope that this will become the new normal in near future.”

Kumar also thanked the head of electrical and electronics engineering department, Rohit Sinha, for his continuous support.

Students can find their class schedule, tutorial schedule, examination queries, and more through a simple AI-based chat window.

They at times may hesitate to approach an instructor regarding their queries, but, with this chat-based system, students can clear their doubts, both technical and non-technical. First-year students can have numerous doubts related to content such as preferred textbooks, reference books, notes and sample questions. The chatbot is trained to answer all the queries related to the above.

Explaining the working model of the chatbot, another professor of the department Samarendra Dandapat said, “The team is developing the analytical problem solving skill. It will be helpful for the students to learn how to solve analytical problem related to the course. Within next one year, we will extend it to biomedical signal processing, electrical machine courses.”

With features like lecture schedule, faculty information, examination queries, course curriculum, the chatbot also has a unique feature of extracting useful information from unstructured data, that means it can scan any format of documents — PDF or Word — and provide results relevant to the query sought.

During the evaluation of the answer scripts, Albela will also be used to create an assessment report of the student that will give the information about the areas in which the student is weak and needs assistance.

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