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Technovators TR-iumph

We kick off a series on successful Indians overseas with Indo-Americans featured in MIT Technology Review?s TR35 list.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2006 05:07 IST
Interviews by Neha Mehta
Interviews by Neha Mehta

An electronic imprint

Ashok J Maliakal | 31
Lucent Technologies, Bell Labs

India-connect: Born to Keralite parents settled in the US.
Patents and papers: Has five patents awarded or pending. Published more than 16 papers.
TR-iumph factor: As a TR35, Maliakal continues the trend of at least one Bell Labs scientist being named annually in the list. He has made significant contributions to a technology that allows the mass production of low-cost electronics using technologies similar to those used to print newspapers. The technology has applications in the production of flexible electronic displays and even homeland security.
Market mantra: Maliakal won’t divulge much for now, but says “talks are on”.

‘People of Indian descent focus on academic rigour. This enables them to compete effectively’

Virus immobiliser

Anand Raghunathan | 34
NEC Laboratories

India-connect: Schooling in Hyderabad, Pune, Visakhapatnam. B Tech at IIT Madras.
Patents: Holds or has filed 20 US patents. Recipient of NEC’s Technology Commercialisation Award.
TR-iumph factor: Raghunathan aims to make make mobile appliances secure. He has designed a security processor which, as he puts it, “separates the sensitive from the untrusted”. What this means is that even if your phone is attacked by a virus, the most sensitive code and associated data will be safe.
Market mantra: The technology has been transferred to NEC’s business units and implemented in multiple generations of NEC products.

‘The knowledge I acquired at IIT Madras and competing with so many smart people there played a major role in shaping my career’

New gene-ration health care

Jay Shendure | 31
Harvard Medical School

India-connect: Born in Ohio to a Maharashtrian couple settled in the US. Shendure has also worked in India as a Fulbright scholar.
Patents and publications: Three provisional patents, 17 publications.
TR-iumph factor: Shendure has developed a method of DNA sequencing substantially cheaper than the conventional method. Says Shendure, “We aim to bring down the cost to $1000. ” He hopes genome sequencing becomes a routine component of health care.
Market mantra: The technology is being licensed to Agencourt Personal Genomics, with plans to roll out an instrument by 2007.

‘I would love to be a part of making research partnerships happen between US and Indian-based research groups’

New age networker

Prithwish Basu | 31
BBN Technologies

India-connect: B Tech at IIT Delhi.
TR-iumph factor: Basu works on mobile ad hoc networks (MANET) and wireless sensor networks. His first innovation was a group of robots that can form a MANET/sensor network. Another was a wireless parking meter application. Recently, he developed techniques that let ultra low energy wireless network nodes communicate with each other when their clocks may be drifting apart.
Market mantra: Basu’s techniques are being tested in US Department of Defense projects. Boston University students are working on his parking meter application.

‘I will definitely go back and work in India. Meanwhile, I intend to soak up the ‘culture of innovation’ in the US as much as I can’

Patents, PCs and performance

Ram K Krishnamurthy | 33

India-connect: Grew up in Chennai and Hyderabad. BE at Trichy.
Patents and papers: 53 issued patents. Published over 75 papers.
TR-iumph factor: Krishnamurthy works on novel, high-speed arithmetic designs — key ingredients within a microprocessor’s integer and floating-point execution units. Prototypes consume 4-5 times lower power than those in today’s PCs and deliver a performance five times higher .
Market mantra: Krishnamurthy’s work is being incorporated by Intel, Hewlett-Packard and IBM in advanced circuits.

‘My hat’s off to Indian education. The maths-science orientation provides a strong launch-pad in the US’

Netting the worms

Sumeet Singh | 31

India-connect: Hails from New Delhi. Schooling at Mayo College, Ajmer.
TR-iumph factor: Singh’s technology
identifies a malicious code when it enters a network and generates ‘vaccines’ to combat its spread.
Market mantra: NetSift, the company, Singh co-founded with his his PhD advisor, George Varghese in June 2004, was bought over by Cisco in 2005 . Work is on to integrate his technology with more and more networking gear.

‘Mayo’s cosmopolitan and motivational atmosphere laid the foundations for me to further my career in the US’

First Published: Sep 17, 2006 05:07 IST