GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

B.C.-Born Professor Awarded ‘Nobel Prize’ Of Mathematics.

Background

  • A Canadian mathematician has been awarded the Abel Prize — often referred to as the Nobel prize of mathematics, for a theory 50 years in the making.
  • Robert Langlands, 81, who was born in New Westminster, B.C., was awarded the prize for developing what the Abel Prize citation describes as a “grand unified theory of mathematics.”
  • The Abel Prize was created by the government of Norway in 2003, and comes with a cash prize of more than $1 million.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Langlands developed the Langlands program in 1967 when he was a 30-year-old associate professor at Princeton University.
  • It conjectured relationships between different mathematical theories — from harmonic analysis (the representation of signals as the superposition of basic waves) to number theory (the properties and relationships between numbers) — which were previously considered unrelated fields of study.
  • The Abel Prize citation described the program as “visionary.”
  • No other project in modern mathematics has as wide a scope, has produced so many deep results, and has so many people working on it, the citation reads in part.
  • Over the past 50 years, the program has enlisted hundreds of the world’s best mathematicians and led to some of the biggest mathematical breakthroughs in decades.
  • Other mathematicians have previously been awarded the Fields medal — regarded as one of the highest honours in mathematics — for research completed using Langlands’ approach. In return, these partial breakthroughs led to solutions of problems that went unresolved for centuries, such as Fermat’s last theorem, which dates back to 1637.
  • Langlands, who is now based in Montreal, said he first realized his talent for mathematics while helping out in his dad’s White Rock lumberyard.
  • Langlands will receive the Abel Prize from King Harald V of Norway at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway on May 22.

Sources- CBC.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

India, China Agree To Draw Roadmap To Address Trade Deficit.

Background

  • In a surprise turn of events, India and China on 27th March, 2018 agreed to draw up a medium- and long-term roadmap with action points and timelines to address the $51 billion trade deficit between them.
  • The ministries agreed to meet more frequently to pursue this roadmap at an early date. It was agreed to consider (that) a round table would be convened between the two sides, shortly in China to prepare this roadmap to facilitate long-term sustainable and balanced trade between the two countries.
  • Minutes of the meeting were signed at the commerce minister Suresh Prabhu’s residence over breakfast on 27th.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • It came a day after the 11th joint economic group meeting headed by Prabhu and his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan ended on 26th March, 2018 with the two sides failing to issue a joint statement.
  • Acknowledging the significant growth in bilateral investment between the two countries, the minutes of the meeting said that both sides agreed to the need to renegotiate bilateral investment agreement to create a more stable, transparent and predictable legal environment to facilitate greater investment on both sides.
  • The Chinese side reaffirmed their commitment to quickly accelerating market access for Indian non-basmati rice, rapeseed meals, soya meals, pomegranate, okra, banana and other fruits and vegetables and bovine meat. The Indian side also agreed to accelerate/re-examine the issue regarding export of Chinese apples, pears and tagetes seeds into the Indian market, the minutes said.
  • On the non-tariff barriers faced by Indian pharma companies in China, the minutes said both sides reaffirmed their aim to find a resolution to the matter.
  • Without mentioning the trade war unleashed by US President Donald Trump, the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the WTO and other multilateral and regional frameworks, to maintain their common interests. Both the sides reiterated their commitment to rules based multilateral global trade.
  • The minutes did not mention the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership where both countries are members or the Belt and Road initiative that China is pushing India to join.
  • India has received $1.78 billion foreign direct investment from China from April 2000 to December 2017. India’s trade deficit with China stood at $36.73 billion during the April-October period of the current fiscal.
  • The trade deficit had marginally dipped to $51 billion in 2016-17 from $52.69 billion in the previous fiscal. The bilateral trade between the countries increased to $71.42 billion in 2016-17 from $70.17 billion in the previous fiscal.

Sources- Livemint.

GS Paper III- Technology.

Atal Innovation Mission Ink SOI With SAP Global To Foster Innovation.

Background

  • Global software firm SAP SE on 27th March, 2018 said it has signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) with NITI Aayog for the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship programme of the Indian government to promote entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • As part of the SOI, SAP would adopt 100 Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL) to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education among secondary school students in the country in 2018, a company statement said.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Collaborating with governments and academia will allow us to ignite innovation in India’s large student population through right guidance, knowledge and infrastructure, Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Products and Innovation, said in the statement.
  • The programme aims to teach students advanced technology topics relevant to digital transformation and the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • India’s growth for the next few decades will depend on the innovations coming out of these tinkering labs, said Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.
  • This is possible only through effective public-private partnership and we are delighted to have SAP partner with us on AIM to nurture the future talent of our country, Kant added.
  • SAP employee-volunteers will coach and mentor students, and the company would also provide CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) grants through non-profit partners for a holistic learning experiences of students.

Sources- Business Standard.