A Background Sketch

Having done my schooling in India, I moved to the U.S. in 1987 to do my undergraduate work in physics and engineering. I spent two years studying physics at Pomona College, in California, and then transferred to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), also in southern California. Caltech has been ranked by Times Higher Education as the top university in the world, measured by parameters such as the quality of research and training. Studying there was a challenging and rewarding experience and a dream come true for me.

Caltech has a department called Computation and Neural Systems. The focus of this department is to understand neuronal networks in the broadest way - from trying to understand the dynamics of networks of real biological neurons to creating simulations that have engineering applications in pattern recognition and classification. Taking courses from pioneers in neural computing such as Carver Mead, John Hopfield, and Christof Koch, was a gratifying experience for me. I took most of my courses from this department and got my Caltech degree in Engineering and Applied Science.

Following graduation from college, I joined California Scientific Software, a small firm in the foothills of Northern California. California Scientific Software has been a world leader in neural computing software, with its prominent BrainMaker neural computing software product. The owner, Mark Lawrence, a brilliant programmer and an amateur physicist, taught me how to program - and I still make use of his design principles.

After returning to India, I tutored students at the American Embassy School in New Delhi and offered training in programming to prospective software professionals, and then I enrolled in a distance learning Masters program in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I completed my course of study at UIUC in 1999.

I started working as an independent software consultant in 2001. My long term interest is in developing tools and technologies for people with limited or no access to the empowerment that is made possible by computer technology. This includes speakers of Hindi and other less popular vernacular languages - and much more so for the illiterate.

I was until recently working remotely (as an independent consultant) for Tech urSelf, a California based start-up company. Tech urSelf had released an iPhone app called urWell, which allowed users to track their wellness over time across multiple dimensions.

Then I was a co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer of Banyan Logic, a CRM and cloud services consulting firm based in Noida, India, and Virginia, USA.

After that I founded MatruWeb, a company with the purpose of greatly increasing the number of India based English language websites which are translated into Hindi and other regional Indian languages. The only practical way to do this is to use machine translation, and it turns out that machine translation is a very hard problem in computer science. I have decided to postpone this project until I have more resources available.

I am currently exploring the possibility of coming up with an effective English language teaching software for people who don't know English. This turns the above problem of machine translation upside down - once people know English, they would not need to have English tranlsated into their native languages. Happily, it also turns out that this is not a research problem (effective English to Hindi machine translation is currently a research problem - even Google Translate does a poor job of it). Creating language teaching software is a development exercise. There are a number of reasonably competent English teaching software packages available, on across a range of platforms. Where I hope to contribute and win out is to develop something that is higher in quality and lower in cost.