Chennai Diaries

I stayed in Chennai from May 22, 2016 till July 17, 2016 as part of Practice School-1 program by BITS Pilani. During this time I interned as an embedded systems trainee at CSIR- CEERI, Madras. This experience taught me a lot of things, from scrambling with basic(read: barely enough) Tamil in crowded (MTC) buses to hands on training with STM32 family of embedded MCUs.

North and South India are like two poles apart when it comes to various aspects of life, yet the same. I will miss the filter coffee when I go back to my humble abode in Pilani.

Overall, it was a delightful experience to get to know more about my country and its colorful inhabitants.

Summers at CSIR-CEERI, Chennai

If you have stumbled across this page hopelessly looking for some information to find about Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute, Chennai apart from their mediocre website, well, you have come to the right place.

I interned at CEERI Chennai as part of Practice School-I program at BITS Pilani. The internship lasted nearly 2 months and had its share of highs and lows. By the time you have finished reading this page, you should have a basic idea of what to expect. The following content was originally written targeted at fellow(junior?) BITSians who might get this center as part of their PS. However, everybody is welcome to go with the flow.

First and foremost, CEERI Chennai is NOT located at the place indicated by Google Maps. The correct location for CEERI, Chennai is in CSIR Madras Complex on the CSIR Road, opposite Ascendas Building. Precisely, here.

I have submitted an update to Google Maps for wrong information. Hopefully, it will be corrected soon.

Now, coming to heart of the matter. CEERI Chennai is an autonomous, government funded research institute focusing on industrial projects. Yes, you read that right. Scientists here have executed a number of projects for the industry, which include an industrial grade fruit sorter, professionally designed embedded systems, spectrometer, soil analysis using machine learning, fatigue detection kit(read: wearable technology) etc. Labs here are very well equipped with no dearth of latest development boards and platforms. For instance, I worked on the latest STM32F7 Discovery MCU with ARM Keil.

Campus- CSIR Madras Complex(CMC) campus is very beautiful. Built in 1960’s, the infrastructure is well maintained, clean and green. Don’t expect very modern buildings and swanky, sparkling labs with electronics whirring around you. This is a research institute and not a shooting set for Star Trek.

The campus has a lot of greenery and you will find your stay to be a pleasurable experience. Almost all labs are air conditioned, which helps in Chennai’s humid weather. Go for a tour around the campus and get to know the different research centers.

Food- Many options for food are available easily, ranging from 25 Rs to 250 Rs. for one time meal. In order of increasing price:–

  • Campus Canteen- It is located just behind CEERI building. Serving coffee for Rs. 7, puri masala, curd rice for Rs. 12 and even a lunch meal(one full thali) for Rs. 25, the cheapest option available here for food. The quantity is good but the taste is, well, you get what you pay for. If you come early enough in morning(around 9:00 AM) you can even have your breakfast here.
  • Buffet at guest house- Not always available and limited seats, but for Rs. 50 you can have an amazing buffet with very decent and tasty food. Ask around for directions to the guest house and buy the token from reception at 1:00 PM. Be warned, they issue tokens at their discretion only. This buffet is not available for everyone due to limited quantity of preparation. However, do have one time lunch here. Definitely recommended as part of the CEERI experience.
  • Ascendas Food court- Located opposite CSIR complex, cross the CSIR road and enter foodie heaven. Featuring outlets from Subway, Pizza Hut, Dominos and Sarvana Bhawan to name a few, Ascendas Food court will never disappoint you when it comes to options and quality. However, be prepared to shell out good money if you plan to dine here for an entire month or two.

Scientists- Researchers here are hard working, generally. Most of them are very helpful if you know what you want to work on. You will find very good projects if you are willing to roll up those sleeves and plunge headfirst. However, be warned that hard work and perseverance is a must. Most of the projects here are far above the knowledge of your average sophomore. You will learn a lot, only if you want to learn a lot.

Touring Chennai- Taramani is well connected to other parts of Chennai by bus, auto and even the Chennai local train. If you want to hang out, you can go to Thiruvanmiyur, Velachery(read: Phoenix mall) and Elliot’s beach in Besant Nagar.

Check out this map for good places to visit in Chennai.