Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Get Personality Reports of You and Others Using IBM Watson Personality Insights!

If you are one who keeps yourself abreast of the latest developments in computer technology, you may be aware of the modern human efforts in the development of artificial intelligence using modern computer systems.

Significant research work in this field began in the 1980's and now in this decade of 2010's the fruits of those research efforts are percolating down to the laymen.

Now the computer companies are in a stage to reap the fruits of their efforts commercially.

The multinational computer major IBM  ( visit the IBM official website here!) has now developed an artificially intelligent computer system called the IBM-Watson. This system is capable of answering questions posed to it in the natural language.

IBM-Watson Analytics is a commercial predictive analytics and data visualization that uses artificially intelligent hardware and software systems of the Watson computer system.

That much for the introductory part just in case you didn't know. For that matter I too didn't know all these!

What I really wanted to share with my blog readers is about one of the interesting free services that the Watson analytics provides to people who are interested to explore their own personality traits and also of others around them. 

In this analytical system, the Watson computer system uses artificial intelligence as well as what is known as the cloud computing system to analyze the personality traits of individuals.

The input to be provided for this computerized analysis is some texts originally written by the individual. If the text contains more than 100 words, it works better.

This could be done quite easily by the Personality Insights program provided by the IBM Watson Analytics. Click on the link to get into the page where you can do the personality analysis. At present this is a demo version.

For example, I have copied the above text written by me and pasted it in the input text box and clicked the tab analyze. (Before doing that you need to clear the text already in the box by clicking the 'Clear' button!)

This is the result I got:

There is a descriptive analysis report which read like this:

You are shrewd, skeptical and tranquil.
You are empathetic: you feel what others feel and are compassionate towards them. You are philosophical: you are open to and intrigued by new ideas and love to explore them. And you are imaginative: you have a wild imagination.
Experiences that give a sense of prestige hold some appeal to you.
You consider achieving success to guide a large part of what you do: you seek out opportunities to improve yourself and demonstrate that you are a capable person. You are relatively unconcerned with tradition: you care more about making your own path than following what others have done."

Then there is a pretty long chart which gives my personality traits. Some of the traits I predominantly have are told as the following:

Openness : 100%
Intellect    : 100%
Artistic interests : 28 %
Achievement striving : 94%
Imagination: 98%
Cautiousness: 92%
Sympathy: 100 %
Susceptible to stress: 1%
Melancholy :27%

The list is long. Now what is to be checked is whether this is reproducible and reliable. I checked with another blog article I wrote yesterday. I got the following result:

"You are social and genial.
You are self-controlled: you have control over your desires, which are not particularly intense. You are laid-back: you appreciate a relaxed pace in life. And you are unconcerned with art: you are less concerned with artistic or creative activities than most people who participated in our surveys.
Your choices are driven by a desire for connectedness.
You consider helping others to guide a large part of what you do: you think it is important to take care of the people around you. You are relatively unconcerned with achieving success: you make decisions with little regard for how they show off your talents."

Now what about the data behind my personality as the computer has got it? The report now returned these:

Openness : 75%
Intellect    : 88 %
Artistic interests : 1 %
Achievement striving : 11 %
Imagination: 76 %
Cautiousness: 73 %
Sympathy: 83 %
Susceptible to stress: 43 %
Melancholy :22 %

There are some differences and I am not an expert to explain those. Possibly it could be due to the differences in time of writing or even the topic which the writing handled. I am not sure.

But the essential features of my character and personality seem to be reported with some accuracy. Because, for many of my own intrinsic personality features are better known to me only.

The artificial intelligence working here is in the demo mode. It is going to advance further to much higher levels of predictability.

It is interesting. 

It also proves human intelligence that created it.

And above all, it proves the supreme intelligence ( I mean the Divine Intelligence) that provides man with all this creative intelligence!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Is Satan a Reality or a Myth? Was there a War in Heaven? Who is Michael Referred in the Bible?

In the Bible, there are two books which keep intriguing Christian scholars for quite some time due to the immense scope they provide for speculations. 

The first one is the Book of Daniel which is part of the Old Testament Bible and the second one is the Book of Revelations, which is part of the New Testament and also the last book of the Bible.

Do Christians Really Follow Jesus?
[Picture Courtsey: Sunil Mathew]

Both these books contain some shrouded revelations about some mysteries, some events and some personalities about which the readers can only speculate. Let me quote some of those statements that are relevant in this context:

The first one is from Chapter-10 of the Book of Daniel. In verse 12 of this chapter, it is written like this:

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael,one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.

Chapter-12 of the Book of Daniel  begins like this:

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.  Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.  Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.  But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.”

Now let me take your attention to Chapter-12 of the last book of Bible, the Book of Revelation: In verses-7 to 9 we read like this:

Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Carefully reading this much, we can safely deduce a few things as given below:

1. Bible does not elaborate much about the personality named Michael, except that he is introduced as one of the Chief Princes and he has angels under his command. This implies that Michael was not a human being, but an invisible celestial personality.

2. There is another Prince who is referred as the prince of the Persian kingdom who was preventing the narrator for nearly 21 days from reaching Daniel (if you read preceding narrations in the book of Daniel carefully, you could perhaps realize that it was an angelic revelator who was explaining certain mysteries to Daniel in his vision). The angelic narrator tells Daniel that it was the the Chief Prince, Michael who helped him to overcome the resistance of the prince of Persia. Obviously, the personality referred here as the Prince of Persia is not a human being, but an invisible celestial personality and he too was a kind of prince or a ruler. But the personality referred as Michael was one of the Chief Princes and powers greater than the former.  

3. For some reasons, the angelic prince of Persia and the celestial Chief Prince, Michael were not in agreement to each other.

4. There was some kind of a war in the celestial world or heavens. The war was between the dragon or Satan and his angels and Michael and his angels.

5. The Satanic group was not any match to the powers of the Michael's group and thus, the outcome of the heavenly war that happened long ago was not in favor of the former. Consequently, the former group was removed from the heaven ( or heavenly worlds) and confined to earth. Perhaps on earth they got some powers  of celestial superintendence over the kingdoms of human beings. The prince of Persia as referred may be such a celestial personality. 

6. The celestial group which got castigated and confined to earth after the war in the heavens have been somehow leading the whole world (of humans) astray (away from the right path).

The whole Bible is a collection of books with several accounts that depict the history of human evolution over the centuries with human progress towards civilization. The Biblical narrations take a small sample of human communities of the Hebrews, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, etc settled around the Babylonian region as the subjects for detailed discussions. Objectively it shows how the human concepts progress towards the understanding of the spiritual empire of God and the relationship between God and man. The Bible, for a serious student is a collection of several books containing immense study material that exposes truthful treasures of knowledge that matters humans and their relationship with God. Unlike many other religious books, the human authors of the bible books from the past had written what they wanted to communicate to others in a simple manner without the use of fantasies or imaginative exaggerations.

Nevertheless, the Bible is a book of records written by human beings who lived during a long span of time covering several centuries with the last included book authored some 1900 years ago. The authors of the bible books were people who believed in the existence of an unseen God who mysteriously maintained a relationship with humans as a father through his messengers and angels. Bible books are indeed recorded history of human civilizational struggles giving human trials, tribulations and achievements with God as the central theme.

Yet, human civilization had been passing through centuries of dark ages. Humans in general have been in existence as brutal savages fighting and killing each other for the silliest of reasons. Humanity in humans have been developing very slowly. Even in the modern times, we cannot say that we are fully civilized peoples who have acquired divine qualities of universal brotherhood. We lack the qualities of divine love to a great extent.

In my opinion, we are not able to acquire the divine brotherhood of love due to various reasons. Some of these are due to our own weaknesses in assessing truth from falsehoods. 

To add to this problem is an external invisible force that is working against the divine plans. Remember what the Biblical narrations above stated. There is the presence and nefarious activities of invisible castigated celestial princes and angels on earth that have been happening without the humans not realizing much directly.

Humans with weak mind qualities easily fall prey to these nefarious forces  enhancing the problems of earth. Besides there are human beings who themselves have mind qualities that are similar to the castigated angels. They knowingly or unknowingly work against the divine plans of God. Simply stated they work against the divine human quality of love and compassion or twist the real meanings of love and compassion in their own ways.

It is not my intention to go in to a scholastic commentary of the Bible narrations that I mentioned above. There are several such articles and essays by Bible theologians all of whom giving their commentaries from their own studies and thoughts. 

Nevertheless, as a layman reader, let me point out some of the thoughts that come in to my mind in this context:

1. The Bible contains writings of several persons who lived several centuries ago. Perhaps their writings contain thoughts of their own mixed with certain truths that they received within their minds as provided by some divine communication channels. These writers of the books of the Bible lived thousands of years ago when the human knowledge, culture and civilization were vastly different from the present. There is also a possibility of several missing links. With the advancement of human knowledge in the field of science, it is quite natural that atleast a few modern human minds desire for some clarifications to the contents of the ancient religious texts lest they discard them as pure nonsense originating from the minds of the ancient underdeveloped humans.
2. The depictions of the Bible with regard to the war in heaven, Satan and Michael and their relations to God are not very clear. The modern human mind could discard these as myths unless their inner curiosities are not satisfactorily addressed.

3. The Bible narrations with regard to human history and human evolution seem have some contradictions  with the evolved scientific knowledge of the present day.

4. Languages and meanings have changed much in the last several centuries which necessitates some kind of authentic knowledge that would supplement our knowledge about the Bible contents and perhaps remove our wrong notions authentically.

5. If God exists and has been a kind of guiding force for the authors of the Bible books, would it be erroneous to think that God would not act to remove human misconceptions at a later era?

The 20th century humans are fortunate (only if they so desire!) that they have now a celestially authored and humanly published book that is capable of removing human doubts and misconceptions about the role of humans not only on earth but also in the whole of the universe. 

The beauty and the reality is that God exists and He is eternal and loving to all His creations, even for the lowly humans. God is not hiding from humans. On the contrary, it is the human inherent limitations that prevent humans from comprehending the infinite God of the Universe. That inherent limitation coupled with the confusions caused by some lesser creations of God causes humans to go astray from God.

I have gained much insight on this from this new book. The Bible and for that matter most of the religious texts contain truths coupled with exaggerations and errors crept in due to the inadequacies of human minds. But just as we comprehend more of a book with the help of a good dictionary or an encyclopedia, these texts become more understandable with the help of the guidance provided by this 20th century guide book whose contents come from several super human minds. The only requirement for a human being to enhance his or her knowledge is an open and seeking mind devoid of preconceived notions!

Let me now reproduce below a couple of statements from this superior explanatory book which now gives a kind of complimentary clarification to what have been written in the Bible :

“There was war in heaven; Michael's commander and his angels fought against the dragon (Lucifer, Satan, and the apostate princes); and the dragon and his rebellious angels fought but prevailed not.” This "war in heaven" was not a physical battle as such a conflict might be conceived on earth. In the early days of the struggle Lucifer held forth (talked) continuously in the planetary amphitheater. Gabriel conducted an unceasing exposure of the rebel sophistries from his headquarters taken up near at hand. The various personalities present on the sphere who were in doubt as to their attitude would journey back and forth between these discussions until they arrived at a final decision. 

"But this war in heaven was very terrible and very real. While displaying none of the barbarities so characteristic of physical warfare on the immature worlds, this conflict was far more deadly; material life is in jeopardy in material combat, but the war in heaven was fought in terms of life eternal".

There are much more things to be learnt. For paucity of space and time I am not venturing to write all those. Let me tell you in brief what I learnt now with the help of the new book:

1. Lucifer had been  a celestial prince or ruler. He is not just an angel, but was a celestial administrator vested with divine powers to rule material worlds on and behalf of his superior divine administrators all of whom under the general delegation of powers according to the never changing laws of the Supreme Creator God of the Universe . There are innumerable lower order angels under his command. To be precise he was the celestial ruler of hundreds of evolutionary planets where human life flourished. Satan was his immediate administrative assistant. They also had the planetary princes for each of the material worlds under their command, including our earth of the solar system. Innumerable numbers of subordinate celestial personalities for various functions worked under them such as the so-called angels. 

2. Michaels are an order of Divine Sons of God who are delegated with the powers to create and organize material universes from the non material energy sources of the universe originating from God. Innumerable orders of intelligent celestial beings execute the task of creation under the overall supervision of the Creator Sons of God. The material creation domain of each Michael is too huge that it in itself is called a local universe which could contain millions of stars, dark bodies, barren planets and planets that can sustain and evolve material life. There could be over 10 million such material life sustaining planets in one local universe. 1000 local universe spaces constitute one super universe and the whole of the known space is divided in to 7 super universe regions. As mentioned in the Bible, there is a Michael who is the Creator of the universe space in which our earth belongs and he is the Chief Prince or the Chief ruler of this universe space. As such, Lucifer, Satan and other such subordinate celestial rulers gained their authority from this Michael. Just as our universe space have a creator prince originating from God the first source of everything, there are other such creator princes for other material universe spaces.

3. Michael is not an angel, but a divine creator and ruler directly originating from God. He is the creative head of material universe spaces and the living beings that are contained within those spaces. All the 7000 universe spaces have a Creator Son of God as their respective Chief. Thus, what the Bible says as, Michael-one of the Chief Princes- is right. The creative chief prince of a universe space, later becomes the Sovereign Ruler of that universe space, after he fulfills certain divine stipulations. Our earth belongs to such a universe space where such a Michael reigns. He is our Sovereign Lord.

My dear readers! I have written this only to point out to you about the vast knowledge that exists that would enhance our minds and enable us to find out the real purpose of human lives. But for that we need to open out our rigid minds a bit and be receptive to new thoughts and information that our heavenly father so kindly provides us. At the same time we should realize the dangers of external sophistries that play around to hoodwink us from realities and truths. Remember, the expelled celestial prince and his associates are still doing their subtle acts to distract humans from God. He will keep doing that for some more time till he is fully prevented from doing so.

But we have God given powers to distinguish truths from untruths provided we honestly desire so. When we do not use that judiciously we get immersed in mind confusions caused by the mixture of truths and untruths. That causes us to depart from divine paths.

That is what the dethroned prince who is now roaming on earth wants.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Case Studies on Some Industrial Accidents: Lessons to be Learnt by Practising Engineers: Part-1

Case Study-1
A Gas Leak Accident that Killed Seven!

This incident happened in a large integrated steel plant in India. In integrated steel plants (ISP) world over, iron ore is first converted to molten iron called hot metal in a chemical process reaction vessel commonly known as the Blast Furnace (BF). ISPs normally have many BFs for producing hot metal all normally working in parallel so that they achieve their targetted production levels. Hot metal production in an ISP is typically to the tune of a few thousands of tonnes per day or a couple of million tonnes per year.

Iron ore is a natural mineral containing oxides of iron and other impurities such as oxides of silicon, manganese, magnesium, calcium, etc. It is nothing but commonly available red soil having the iron content a bit higher for economical extraction of iron. For separating the iron, the iron oxide needs to be melted and reacted with the reducing gas, carbon monoxide freshly produced by the action of oxygen in air with a carbon rich raw material such as carbonized coal commonly known as coke. All these reactions continuously take place in a vertical semi-fluidized bed reaction vessel called the Blast Furnace (For more about the Blast Furnace process of iron making see this wiki article).

Waste process gases emanate from the top of the Blast Furnace, called the BF Gas, which is nothing but the excess air carrying much of the gaseous reaction products such as Carbon monoxide, Carbon di oxide, Hydrogen, etc together with the dust generated during the vigorous exothermal reaction in the furnace. This gas is very hot and contains useful chemical energy due to the presence of Carbon monoxide and Hydrogen. Conventionally, in the ISPs this gas is further cooled and removed of the dust in gas cleaning plants (GCP) for use as a low calorie fuel gas elsewhere in the steel plant. This BF gas is highly toxic because of the presence of Carbon monoxide.

The dust laden BF gas that comes out of a BF is cooled and cleaned in a GCP by spraying water over the gas in closed scrubber vessels. The water used for cleaning the gas entraps the dust present in the gas and becomes a slurry which is then treated in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) system. In the WWTP the waste water (effluent lean slurry) is settled for removal of suspended solids, cooled and the clarified water is recycled back for the scrubbing process in the GCP using pumps installed in a pump house.

Blast Furnaces are continuously operating chemical reactors intented for extractive metallurgy. Once it is built and commissioned, it is fully stopped and taken out of production service only for capital repairs. Such capital repairs are done after several years of continuous production. However, minor hot repairs are also carried out periodically by keeping the furnace hot, but without the full fledged production. All repairs are planned with the least shutdown periods, to keep the production losses to the minimum.

A working BF containes several hundreds of molten metal and semi finished raw materials inside its vertical shaft and its bottom belly. This is kept hot and reactive with the action of huge volumes of hot air blast that is is blown inside through the huge bed of raw material stock contained in the furnace shaft through nozzles called tuyeres. The air blast is the most vital process of the blast furnace that is accomplished through large air blowing machines. 

Besides, large quantities of cooling water is continuously required to cool the BF shell. Any failure to supply the air blast or the cooling water can cause serious damage to the BF. If air blast is stopped for some time there is the danger of the molten iron and molten slag getting solidified in the furnance that could cause irrepairable damages. Similarly, stoppage of cooling water can cause the BF shell made of steel plates to melt down. 

ISP operators and management consider BFs as the most critical production facility and ensure all they can to keep the BFs in operation through out is operating life till it is taken out of service for any planned repair period.

A BF plant is a complex conglomerate of many systems, equipment and components, operated and maintained by managers, metallurgists,engineers and technicians who are teamed up in various functional departments and sections. In their anxiety to keep their own systems under top priority, these teams often forget to understand the role of the other supporting  systems and the teams that operate and maintain them. 

Any maintenance to the BF system needs some time of some shut downs to some of the working equipment and systems which may lead to some production loss. Hence, production oriented managements usually keep building the pressure on the various teams to have their maintenance activities completed by taking the least possible time. 

Such pressures often cause some engineers to postpone some maintenance functions which they deem as non-vital to some later maintenance time, only to keep them postponed further in a similar way. Such management pressures also cause some engineers to neglect or by-pass some systems which they consider as irrelevant. Lack of proper understanding of the plant systems by new engineers and teams enhances such risks. This is because the old ISPs have  production facilities with operating life exceeding several decades.

The ISP where the accident occured have been operating six BFs in parallel with many common facilities such as the pump house, the WWTP, the Air Blower Station, etc. There were independent GCP facilities for each of the six BFs, but the waste water treatment facility and the pump house that circulated the water were common to all. There existed one group of pumps that recycled clarified water from the WWTP to the individual GCPs through a common header pipeline. These pumps were located in a common pump house which was located sufficiently away from the BFs and their GCPs. The pumps were located in the dry-well of the pump house which was a few meters below the general ground level.

There were three pumps in this group and normally two were kept in operation and one was kept as a standby. Each of the pump discharge pipes connected to a common collector pipe kept at the pump floor, through their own isolation valves and non-return valves. A common pipeline connected to the common collector pipe distributed the clarified water to all the six GCP scrubbers. Individual branch pipelines supplied water to the scrubbers where the water used to be sprayed to the hot BF gases for cooling and cleaning through various kinds of nozzle systems. The piping system had several motor operated and manual valves for controlling and isolating the water supplies to the GCP systems as per requirement.

The GCP scrubbers were the process equipment where the BF gas and the water interacted. As the water had to spray over the gas, the water pressure was kept much higher than the gas pressure.

Several departments worked to keep the BF production and maintenance operations to go on uninterrupted. There were the BF department with their own sections responsible for the mechanical maintenance, electrical maintenance, instrumentation maintenance and other supporting departments such a the Energy Management Department responsible for the GCPs and the Water Management Department responsible for the pump house, the WWTP and the main water supply pipelines. The staff and engineers of all departments worked in shifts on a 24x7 basis.

Some operating personnel of the Water Management Department had been aware of a minor leak in the common collector pipe located in the main pump house to which the three GCP supply pumps were connected, for some time. The leak had happened in the lower side of this fairly large pipe with a diameter of about 900 mm. This pipe piece was supported on the floor of the pump house and there was hardly any space between the pipe bottom side and the floor. This restrained the operators and the shift managers to assess the real condition of the pipe. While the pipe was quite okay on the top side, there was some corrosion at the bottom side and there was some pin-holes from which water had been leaking.

In the last several decades, this pipe piece was never replaced during any maintenance and the concerned department knew about its old age and probable deterioration due to ageing and corrosion. The pipe bottom was specially vulnerable to external corrosion as this side was difficult to be painted due to the small working clearance. Besides, this side was exposed to water accumulations in the pump house floor that happened occassionally due to various reasons. This also was one of the reasons for the probable external bottom side corrosion of the pipe.

For replacing this pipe piece, the Water Management Department needed to take a shut down to the GCP water supply main header pipe which invariably affected the production from six BFs. The production managers over the years had developed a type of technical  superiority in all decision making due to which it was difficult for the Water Management Department to convince the top authorities about the necessity for a production shut down for replacing a small length of old water pipe. The engineers of the Water Management Department had developed a submissive attitude over the years which prevented them to talk authoritatively about their technical requirements and convince the top authorities of the steel plant. They had almost developed a withdrawn attitude towards their professional vigilance  to  critically study the various kinds of risks involved in their functions!

The inter departmental meetings, for quite some time, had been stressed towards achieving production targets and better production performances with attention towards removing bottlenecks. Perspective assessments and critical analysis of risk scenarios had undergone a decline.

This caused the top officials of the Water Management Department taking temporary actions for rectifying the leak, instead of reporting the issue to higher management authorities with a proper risk assessment study to convince the authorities for an immediate shut down of the BF-GCP systems for taking up the work of replacing the leaking old water pipe. The temporary leak plugging acts done by the department by welding etc further aggravated the condition of the leaking pipe.

And within another couple of days, in one shift, all of a sudden the pipe ruptured. Water splashed out from the rupture and the GCP water supply pressure dropped. The shift personnel of the water management department informed their seniors and the matter got communicated to all the other concerned engineers and managers of  the Energy Management Department and the BF Department. The heavy leakage of water from the ruptured pipe was now flooding the pump house and the pumps had to be stopped to prevent flooding. Those concerned officers, engineers and operating people of the steel plant rushed to the pump house to physically assess the rupture in the collector pipe.

But without them ever realizing, a major tragedy was about to happen shortly. As the water pressure in the GCP water supply pipe decreased due to the rupture and the subsequent pump stoppage, the water in the pipe line began to drain out through the rupture as the rupture point was the lowest point. Soon the water in the supply main got emptied and the toxic BF gas began to fill the water pipe from the scrubbers and began to leak out through the pipe rupture in the pump house.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas and a swift acting toxin. The pump house is a closed enclosure and the toxic gas was getting mixed with the air in the pump house. This posed a two fold danger. First the pump house became a toxic gas chamber. Any one who inhaled now got affected by carbon monoxide with imminent lose of consiousness and possible death. Secondly, the pump house was getting an explosive mixture of fuel gas. Certain low concentrations of monoxide gas with air is highly exlosive and it could explode like a bomb causing major damage with a minor spark any where!

The people who rushed to the pump house now was getting affected by the toxic gas and they were simply falling down unconscious. It took others who followed those went earlier down to the pump house some time to realize what was happening. And when they realized it, a number of persons were already affected. Fortunately, the rest of the engineers realized what was happening and they could take immediate preventive measure that could save the pump house from exploding!

Several people got affected and about seven lost their lives due to gas poisoning. It took the steel plant a few days to restore normal production! What production they obtained earlier by post poning a planned shut down all wiped out now due to this accident.Perhaps the loss was much more including precious lives of people!

A series of enquiries followed. Some by the statutory authorities, some by techincal empowered groups of the company. All enquiry committees and commissions brought out their own findings and suggestions. While the technical cause was pin-pointed, the committees apparently failed to recognize the root cause of the problem- the cumulative effect of  technical management errors that had been happening for a long period!

I will now discuss some of these errors that keep happening in Indian process industries which most of the Indian engineers assigned with the task of factory management routinely seem to ignore or do not consider as some thing important to be addressed properly:

1. Indian engineers are not very much comfortable with the concept of unit wise operation of multiple process units and systems. If there are more than one process equipment or system for achieving higher production, the Indian engineers quite often force the plant suppliers and designers to interconnect those systems for higher flexibility of operation and maintenance. For example, it was much safer in the above mentioned case to operate and maintain each of the BF systems as  self contained individual systems instead of an interconnected system of six BFs. The interconnections enhance system complexity for engineers to understand and comprehend causing new comers be confused about all the functions of the plant systems. This causes neglect of some parts of equipment and systems, especially those that are to be operated only during exigencies! Whenever, a plant accident or breakdown take place, the subsequent actions would be to have more interconnections and more stand by units which enhance the system complexity rather than reducing it in actual practice. 

2. Indians quite often are not very comfortable with record keeping. They seldom make efforts to keep all technical drawings concerned with the plant process and systems. Even if such drawings and documents are available, hardly any effort is made to ensure that all concerned engineers study those drawings and documents carefully and comprehend those fully.

3. Design engineers and plant operation and maintenance engineers work in isolated pockets. They are seldom encouraged to understand the philosophies and technicalities involved in each others' area of work. This often causes erroneous assumptions and subsequent errors. For example, in the case discussed above, the original design engineers had provided certain provisions of water sealing and siphoning arresters in the pipelines that prevented any gas to escape through the water lines when water got emptied in the pipelines under rare situations as had happened. But many such systems got removed or erroneously fixed in later years as the concerned maintenance engineers did not understand their functions or principles of operations.

4. The steel plant management had adopted a system of inter departmental transfers of engineers without ensuring availability of experience and competence of engineers and technicians with regard to their own area of work. This had caused experience vacuums in many areas with the teams handicapped with understanding of technical issues and technical communications. In some cases, the junior engineer felt difficulty to communicate a problem to his senior as the senior had less experience in the field and vice versa. In the case discussed, such a situation had caused the concerned people to foresee the problem in advance. Had there been the required experience and competence at all levels, this problem would have never got escalated to a major mishap like what had happened.

5. Of late, the Indian managements of technical facilities are more and more becoming non technical in attitude and nature with the top managements losing their capacities to understand the complexities involved in technical works. As finance, marketting and other non technical fields are becoming more and more important at the board levels of decision making, the voices of technocrats in companies are getting diluted and they no more get any chance to make the non technical board members to understand the technical problems. This causes the top technocrats to either discard their technical thinking and behave like non technical persons. They in turn discourage technical issues to be discussed at top levels. Real technical and engineering problems now get reduced to lower level issues. This seriously enhances the technical risk levels of Indian process plants. This attitude then percolates downwards and adversely affect the technical thought processes of all engineers working in Indian factories and process plants. Indian engineers working in processing facilities of companies now seldom get any reward for proactive or creative professional thinking. On the other hand, erroneous technical conclusions and erroneous punishments to engineers are on the rise now in India making professional engineering and technical work something not preferred by brilliant engineers.

I hope eminent engineers from India would open up their minds to express their thoughts and comments on the above.