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Gate 2017 AIR 572

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Graduated in 2014 (BE Computers)

Work Experience of 2.5 years @TCS

After goofing up Gate 2017 exam by making some gruesome mistakes, I landed up at 572. I had no hope for any good old IITs for obvious reasons. Of all, IISc was never on my mind, until the interview happened :P

I received a call letter for interviews in following three departments.

  • CDS-Computational Science (CDS-CP)
  • CDS-Computer and Data Systems

Day 1 5th June 2017, Morning session: CSA Interview

We first had a written test (subjective) consisting of 10 questions of one mark each with time limit 30mins. The questions touched subjects like Math, simple algorithms, digital and COA. The test was pretty simple and slightly tricky.

For the written test questions please follow below blog post by Stanly.

Soon after the results were announced. Total 11 candidates were selected of approx. 25-30 who appeared for the test that day and I was one among them :)

My selected choices for interested Research area are as follows:

Main Research Area

Computer Systems and software


1. Databases

2. Programming languages

Background Subjects

1. DSA

2. Engg Maths

I was 9th in the order and my interview started at around 4.20 PM.

The interview panel consisted of six professors.

After a brief introduction, I was asked to approach the white board. According to my research areas and subjects of interests that I filled in the form, my interview started with basic Math.

Interviewer: What is a powerset? If there are n elements in a given set then how many elements are there in its powerset? I answered..

Interviewer: Prove it.

I took a few seconds and then started to prove it by induction.

Interviewer: Is there any other method to prove?

I again took a few seconds and replied we can prove it by combinatorics and wrote out the series for 2^n and explained it.

Interviewers seemed to be impressed by this point.

Maths was wrapped up with few more questions on equivalence relation and reflexive property.

Next up was a question from algorithms. I was given a simple binary tree whose leaf nodes were filled by some values. The question was about designing an algorithm to fill all the internal nodes in bottom up manner such that each internal node is max of its child/children.

I spoke of the ideas I had in mind. The interviewers were very helpful and gave in few hints to steer me in the right direction. I partially answered it.

The wheels now turned towards database.

I was asked a number of questions here ranging from write a query in relational algebra..table decomposition..lossy decomposition..dependency preservation..serializability.. 2PL.. phew!

I faired decently in simple questions though I realised I could not meet the set expectations.

And the interview ended here..and it lasted for almost 40 mins.

Day 2 6th June 2017, Morning session: CDS-Computational Science (CDS-CP) Interview

Again we had a written test with 5 questions of 2 marks each. This time the questions were only from math( graph, probability, combinatorics) and algorithm.

I was shortlisted for the interviews.

We were asked to fill out three research labs of interest in specific order. I was unclear about the labs but I filled these labs in given order.

  1. Computational Mathematics
  2. Stable, Accurate, Fast, Robust Algorithms & Numerics (SAFRAN)

Totally 8 candidates were selected and I was 4th in order.

The interview panel consisted of 3 professors.

I gave a brief introduction about myself and I was asked the subject of my interest and I said linear algebra and matrices.

The interview started with simple questions like what is the order of the matrices A, B, X in the equation AX=B. Answered..

Followed by questions on rank, define rank, give the relation between the number of solutions with rank of A and [A,B] matrices. Answered..

Given equation C=AB, what is the relation between rank of C with that of A,B. Answered..

Now given order of A mxn and order of B is nxn, then what is the relation between rank(C) and rank(A). Tried but couldn’t get this one right.

The interview ended here. It lasted for nearly 20 mins.

Overall the experience of being interviewed at one the prestigious institute by renowned professors was indeed overwhelming. I did not care much about the results, as I had surpassed my own expectations and felt happy about it in the end.

Within a week, the tentative shortlist was out and I had my name in both the lists (CSA and CDS-CP) and eventually I sailed to the final list of CDS-CP :)

The mantra that I followed during both the interviews is to “Keep calm and think out loud”. This applies to any interview for that matter. I felt I was under prepared for the interviews so did it happen that I got stuck at some of the crucial questions. The only chance I had to make the interview look engaging was to think out loud and strike the right chord.

P.S. Life always gives you a second chance. Keep your eyes open and seize the very next opportunity.. Cheers!


posted Jul 23, 2017 in Interview Experience 9,206 views


Congrats :) Nicely written experience. All the best for IISc. life..

Neha , 

"The tentative shortlist was out and I had my name in both the lists (CSA and CDS-CP) and eventually I sailed to the final list of CDS-CP "

Generally how many people make it from the provisional to the final list (around 75-80 %) ?

Thank you @Arjun sir :)
Yeah, generally 80-85% make it to the final list.
This is really helpful. Thanks a lot!
hi neha,

can you recall how many students were shortlisted after csa interviews and how many were actually selected?
very much helpful to the future aspirants, thanks for this blog !